Archives for September 2012

Survey Question #4: What Distinguishes Your Organization from Others In Your Industry?

Have you ever had this question posed to you by one of your customers or ‘game changing’ prospects?

If so, what was your response? Were you able to deliver the level of certainty and influence that was needed? More often than not this question is a buying signal. The challenge is being ready to deliver a response that builds trust and credibility.

Quick story…

This past Friday, I met with one of my game changing prospects. It was our third meeting as we are working through the training objectives for their national sales conference.

The meeting began at 3:00 p.m. Everyone was there, their CEO, VP of Sales, and VP of Marketing. Two minutes before the meeting their CFO walks into the room, politely introduced himself, and took a set directly across from me. Immediately my radar went off. My first thought was “this is the guy that is writing the check. He can not say yes, but he can say no”. My second thought was “he is sitting across from me for a reason”.

The meeting opened with a prediction of the upcoming college football games and settled into a short summary leading to where we are in the process. At the first break in conversation Mr. CFO asked “So Andy, what distinguishes your company from other training companies that are available?” Here we go. Time to deliver. Nothing lengthy, just short and straight forward.

My response…

Our group spends the time to understand your expectations, so you can set the right expectation for your sales team, then deliver a specific outcome. (In other words clearly understand what you want to accomplish, and then deliver.)

Whew…

At the end of my response he looked at me and said that makes sense, looked at the CEO and said his price is fair, then got up, excused himself and left the room.

In this case the CFO wasn’t trying to screen my group out, he simply wanted to hear how and why we are different, and how we can help boost his top and bottom line.

Questions…

  1. Do you know what distinguishes your organization?
  2. Can it be delivered in 10-15 seconds?
  3. Does it speak to anyone, regardless of their position or level within your customers organization?

Contact me if you would like to discuss how to create and define the areas that distinguish your organization.

To your success,
Andy

Survey Question #3 What Is Your Value Proposition?

Thank you for continuing the journey with me. Last week we discussed Survey Question #2: What is Your Annual Attrition Rate? and 6 steps that you could take to curb it. This week I’d like to introduce Question #3 What is Your Value Proposition?

In meeting with sales leaders and sales professionals I ask them to share with me their value proposition. To my surprise the majority either do not know, do not use a value proposition, or simply do not have one.

The good news is you can make a better choice!

Those that have a defined value proposition and use it as a tool, state with confidence that it delivers a universal message within their organization, provides confidence to the sales team, and differentiates their offering in their focus market.

Creating your value proposition blueprint:

  • Know your story
  • Focus on your target market
  • Focus on results instead of company and products
  • Keep it Twitter friendly with 140 characters

Relax. Your Value Proposition does not have to appeal to everyone – only with those that can use your productive service offering.

As you give thought to this question on how it can serve to transform your sales organization please contact me if can help you.

Next week on the blog I’ll speak to Question #4 What Distinguishes Your Organization from others in Your Industry?

Thanks taking a few minutes from your busy schedule, they are closing the doors on my flight to Atlanta.

See you next week.
Andy

Survey Question #2: What is Your Annual Attrition Rate?

Customer attrition is a challenge that affects every sales professional and organization, regardless of product offering or market served.

Over the years I have found that while attrition may not be prevented 100%, you can prepare in advance and curb the percentage of loss.

So the question then becomes not only what is your attrition rate, but how are you preparing and protecting your organization?

Simple math…

In many B2B industries the attrition rate is between 15 and 20%. In simple terms, if you began the year with $500,000 in your territory, no matter how well you perform you will end the year at between $400,000 and $425,000. This is through no fault of your own. Sound familiar?

6 Proven Steps in Countering Customer Attrition

  1. Acknowledge that customer attrition is real and that you must be prepared.
  2. Identify the customers that may be in danger of leaving.
  3. Ask: “Why are they considering leaving? Are they open to retention? If so, on what terms?
  4. Calculate the total of their potential loss.
  5. Implement a customized retention plan around their objectives.
  6. Measure and review often.

These are six steps that will counter and or curb your customer attrition. In using the above range of 15 to 20%, if you can retain 5% the math speaks for itself.

Stay tuned for survey question #3 What is Your Company’s Message?

To your success,
Andy

Seven Survey Questions That Will Transform Your Sales Organization

 

If you are looking for some new ideas or thoughts that will help you in protecting and transforming your sales organization or sales territory, I think you will find the next seven weeks to be of benefit.

Over the next seven weeks I will discuss, in separate blog and newsletters articles, seven questions that are tried and true. These questions have stemmed from selling for and working with sales organizations in various stages of their business cycle. In meeting with sales leaders to address their business environment, these questions are used in a simple survey form as these leaders look to maintain their performance level while transforming their sales team.

These questions are simple, yet ‘powerful’ and can assist you in transforming your team and missing the ‘sucker punch’ by your competitor. They can also help you disrupt the status quo within your organization or territory. So, over the next seven weeks, I will pass these along to you, for your use and consideration as you work to transform and impact your sales organization. Let’s get started…

Survey Question #1: What % of Your Sales Volume Is Represented by Each of Your Key Customers?

Many sales leaders in the B2B category are faced with a 15% attrition rate. My experience has taught me that 15% is accurate, although this may vary dependent upon the industry.

By key customers, we are referring to ones that are profitable, buy on a frequent basis, and are important to your sales organization.

Earlier in my career I interviewed as a candidate for a VP of Sales position. My first step was to gain a clear understanding of their business climate. When looking at their customer distribution, they had 45% of their business with one customer. On top of that their pipeline was non existent. Needless to say I declined. Six months later they lost their number 1 customer and the rest is history. True story!

As you think about this question and transforming your sales organization, please contact me if I can help you.

Next week on the blog, I’ll tackle Survey Question #2 What is Your Annual Attrition Rate?

Thanks for taking time from your busy day…now let’s get back to work!

To your success,
Andy