Reverse engineering your sales process

“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may now update your Facebook status.”Jokes aside, how we live, interact, have relationships, communicate and buy has changed, is changing…evolving. You see a group of Millenials or Generation Z’s in a room, yes together, all communicating, on their phones, often with each other…

Are we that digitally orientated already?! Go one day without your smartphone and answer that again. If you follow this series of articles, you would have seen by now an overview of the whole process and you read my insights on creating your ideal online presence. What impact does the digital world have on how we sell? The answer is radical, disruptive change. It does challenge all our traditional behaviour and strategies as businesses. Are you capitalising on the opportunities? Do you even know what the opportunities are? Have you found a way to deal with this disruptive change to adapt and thrive? Let us be honest, direct Human-to-Human interaction is on the decrease, would you agree? At least in most industries, some might be more open to giving a meeting and physical time than others, depending on what you sell, the costing involved, and of course the size of your typical client with their procurement process.

People mostly find what they are looking for online, not so? What is the first thing the PA of a CEO does when his laptop crashed? If they don’t have a trusted technician, she will “Google it”, right? How many of your new clients and prospects knock on your door if they need you? Meaning your digital door, in the digital universe of an online presence. If they are interested and who you are and what you offer resonate with them, the next step is evaluating your sales team and process, from the first contact, through every interaction (whether a phone call, email or presentation) right to closing the deal. Is it good enough? Do we have every communication planned and geared to impress in this hyper-competitive world? Are we every step of the way preparing for the close?

Depending on your industry, the pricing strategy of your products and services and other factors, your sales process will be custom-designed. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The fact remains, there are more competitors to choose from, buyers have easier access to see what’s available and mostly the world is turning in a digital direction and less Human-to-Human interaction.

Have you taken the time to fully understand your stakeholder landscape and your competitors? What are they doing well and or not so well? Do you know all the spectrums of clients, from bread and butter to ideal clients? Reverse engineering your process starts with knowing and understanding your clients, what is happening in their industries, their challenges, and needs. To stand out you need to know your competitors as well as your full spectrum of clients with industry challenges!

What is your strategy to submit the best tender/proposal for a procurement team if they haven’t granted the opportunity of any verbal contact? It is just possible that they might grant face-to-face time for the top 3 submissions. In our opinion there are no easy answers to this, it’s exciting and daunting, but we need to get out of the box to make an impression. It’s a challenge. Luckily our team loves challenges. Here are some of our ideas that might help you submit a top 3 tender/proposal: You really need as much info as possible, who are the procurement team? Who will have the final say?

What personality types do we have in the room? Most important of all what keeps them awake at night?

So how will we get in and understand them: – I believe there is a human in any organisation that shares basic information on what they need. It starts with “good old fashioned” conversation and if procurement is not sharing, a good place to start is Sales. Let’s be honest, Humans in Sales just love to connect and if you are lucky, disclose their needs and the context you will be presenting in. Start chatting to their humans in Sales, you
might not win with the first conversation, don’t stop, if the human in sales number 3 or 4 is in a sharing mood then you won. Well done for not giving up. Then why stop there, talk to one or two PA’s and see what more you can find out. Let me be clear, this is nothing untoward or unethical, it is getting to know the people you have to craft a solution for. Find the time and build the relationship.

– Once you know what they need, why they need it and who holds what authority, it is time to start research. Do desktop research on the people you need to present to, check out their LinkedIn profiles, their positions in the company and their accomplishments in the industry. Get to know them so that you can speak in a way that resonates with them and take an interest in them to show that they are important as a client.

By the time you submit, you know what they are looking for and why you should also understand personality types and hand in a submission that talks to that human and their very specific need. Then you have the best chance humanly possible of being one of the best options on the table. Doing your homework is never a waste of time!

Never lose touch with the adage: People still buy from people. Face-to-face, phonecall or not, it is still a human receiving a message from another human. Your written communication strategies and skills are now as important as your face-to-face strategies. Sharpen up, most humans have between 150 and 300 emails in their inbox a day – what are you doing to stand out in every written communication you strategically deliver?

Be Bold, Be Different, Stand Out. There is no space for the ordinary in a competitive world spoiled for choice. Don’t see technology and change as a threat, embrace the opportunity that it creates. Have well-thought-out strategies ready for every type of opportunity that knocks!

Let us know what you are doing differently now, what is working for you! Share your tips and connect. Let us know if you found value in this article, would love to connect and hear if this helps you in the process of reverse engineering your sales process. Look out for the other articles in the series of The Evolution of Sales in this Digital World.