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What Do High Growth Businesses Do Differently?

Over the past 5 years the importance of the “High Growth Business” and how this relatively small group of businesses disproportionally impa...

Saturday 30 January 2010

Sales Success: Think like a Businessman not a Salesman

Whilst working with a client recently, I realised how important it is to get their sales team to think as business people and not just as salespeople. There are a couple of qualifying statements however, this need to think like business people is most relevant when sell to "c" level prospects and this is irrespective of the size of the buying organisation. It became obvious to me when we started discussing how the decision was going to be made. Their answers were all around the general business need and the benefits that the company's product would deliver to the prospect.

Selling to C level people requires the salesperson to put the potential purchase into a business context; these people rarely make decisions based on product capability and benefits alone. The more salespeople can understand and interpret the business context the more successful they are likely to be.

So what do I mean by this? Let me give you more details, the internal discussion was about why, despite assurances that we had the best technical solution the salesman couldn't progress the sale, we'd got access to the senior executives who were all reasonably accessible but still the sale stalled. So I asked the salesman to go back to the prospect and discuss the business issues surrounding this purchase, what if any were the competing business cases? Was a capital or revenue purchase more important and why? It turned out that the decision was either to buy or outsource. The salesman came back crestfallen and said there was nothing more he could do.

"No" I said "now we have to look at this in a different way, our job is to find out who are our supporters and help the put together a winning business case." To do this we need to think like businessmen, understanding the product won't help us we need to look work out a strategy to get them to manufacture in house. This is where the sales team really struggled because it was the first time they'd tried to look at the purchase of their product from a business perspective. Fortunately we were able to deliver a compelling case based around business risk and the rate of return on an internal purchase.

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Do you want a Business or a Job?

This may seem an odd sort of question to ask someone who’s looking to start up a new business but it is a very important question. This isn’t so much about working on the business or in the business as about understanding that a business has a life of its own and a job is about providing yourself with income. Businesses tend to start in two ways, either as a result of being made redundant or because you think you can do it better than your current employers. Now this is no bad thing and this burst of entrepreneurship is vital to get the business of the ground. However to really create a business rather than a job for yourself one needs to develop the business as a separate entity from you the new and proud owner.

The problem arises because this vision that you had when you started the business tens to quickly disappear in the day to day grind of running a business and because you focus on yourself to do it right you start to build a business around the way you think and do things. No harm in that you say, well actually there is because all processes are customised around you, and because you are often over-qualified for many of the tasks you perform you are doomed to expect your employees to do it as well and with the same level of commitment. You have made yourself indispensable because of course they won’t. In doing so you are killing your business and giving yourself a job instead.

So if you want a business you have to create it such that it is not reliant on you, it must have strong repeatable processes that can be understood and followed by your employees and cover every aspect of your business, that way you can concentrate on making the business work rather concentrating on what the business makes. On the other hand if you want a job......