Once I had my personal sales values nailed down, I was freed up to evaluate opportunities in an objective way. Rather than looking at opportunities in terms of compensation, benefits, and market segments, I evaluated them based on my personal values.
The first step in identifying the right opportunities is alignment of the “Why” value. Every company needs to at least make a modest profit in order to operate. But the why are they in business? What drives that organization? I don’t mean the platitudes that companies use to sound like they exist to solely make the world a better place. But rather in practical terms, are they in existence to just make money? What is the sales culture? What do they celebrate? What are the benchmarks? Step one, does my sales value of why line up with the opportunities value of why?
Once I aligned the why, I could look at what. Fortunately for me, my desire to solve problems and create solutions offered very few limitations to the opportunities. If I believed that the product or service did those things, I could sell it effectively. It didn’t matter that the opportunity really did offer those things, but that I believed in the value of the product in solving problems and creating solutions. That was the key for me, I had to believe in the value proposition. There are hundreds of products and services I just won’t sell, logically I recognize they offer a valued good or service to customers, but I don’t intrinsically connect with the value, that is key for me, I need to be able to fully engage with the opportunity. Step two, do I personally find value in the good or service I am selling?
Finally, once the why lines up and I personally find value in the what of the opportunity I can evaluate the sales how of the organization.
Does the organization believe that EVERYONE should be their customer?
Do they have a clear picture of their ideal customer? Is that clearly stated?
Can they articulate why they would say no to an opportunity?
What does their sales process look like?
What is the rhythm of their sales cycle?
Asking these questions and evaluating the answers is the final step for a sales person selecting the right opportunity for them. Unfortunately, this is often the most challenging, after all we are salespeople talking to other salespeople. Unless the organization has been very diligent in creating a sales culture that aligns with the rest of the company, I have found that many companies that offer excellent goods and services, yet the sales culture do not reflect the nature of the company. For example, business services companies, the sole purpose is to provide solutions and implement them, yet more often than not rather than the sales department being recognized for successful solutions they are generally focused closed sales no matter if the solution was successful. They offer recognition for number of calls, number of presentations, and for conversion rates … all of which is irrelevant to true success in reference to the goal of providing solutions and implementing them. In reality, the salespeople in such an organization should be recognized for properly finding the right prospect, correctly identifying the core challenge, and successfully helping the customer through the solution process.
Break your Sales Cycle, Disrupt your Sales!