Managing the Complete Sales Cycle Top Tips
Sales Impact Academy Founding Coach, Ben Wright, has provided a peek behind the curtain at one of our courses, ‘Managing the Complete Sales Cycle’. Becoming a Sales Impact Academy member allows you to take full advantage of the course’s all-encompassing practical toolkit which is applicable to any front-line salesperson working their way through the sales cycle. Read on for a taster of the types of content our course dishes out…
Our sneak-peek event, ‘Managing the Complete Sales Cycle’, covers five key tips for salespeople, all of which are designed to help you build and maintain momentum in your deals to give you the best possible chance of closing. Everything covered was taken from the Sales Impact Academy seven week course, with coaches Ben Wright and Tom Glason.
Have a read of Ben’s Toolkit which will help you effectively build and maintain momentum within your sales, equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to be a top-performing sales professional, and beat your own revenue targets.
1. Think and act like a CEO
Start thinking of your market segment of potential prospects as your own ‘business’, and that you are the CEO of that ‘business’.
While there will be many people around who can help you hit your target－perhaps a marketing team, a sales development team, your manager, or maybe other functions too－there is only one person responsible for the success of YOUR business and that’s YOU. No one else is accountable for hitting those targets.
Sometimes it can be convenient or even accurate to blame others for making it difficult for you to hit your quota. However, really challenge yourself to take complete responsibility for your own success.
How to do this:
- Become an expert in your ‘business’
People buy from people they like and respect, and that comes from expertise. One of the most important things you can do to upskill yourself as a salesperson is to talk to and meet as many customers as you can. Learn as much as you possibly can about your customers’ worlds. Discover what their day-to-day life is like and the sorts of things they’re thinking about. Just learn as much as you possibly can about their jobs!
Think about this for a moment…how many of your existing customers have you spent time with within the last month or quarter?
As you get to know your customers, you’ll then start to appreciate their pains in a much more real way and understand the value you create by taking that pain away, as well as exactly how they use your solution to solve that pain. As you build up and maintain this knowledge, you’ll then be able to demonstrate much more credibility and expertise with every new prospect you meet.
- Take control of your ‘business’
Take control of your Go-to-Market strategy and do the work to fill in any gaps and make sure the strategy is robust. Ensure you understand your key target accounts and how many of those you need in the pipeline.
If you’re attacking a new market, what cornerstone accounts do you need to win? What mix of new accounts (Elephants, Deers and Rabbits) will help you achieve market dominance? Ask yourselves these questions and build a map of where you are today and make a comprehensive plan to help you prioritize these accounts and tackle them head-on.
As an AE or BDM who’s responsible for closing deals, one area of your pipeline that is particularly easy to neglect is building enough top of funnel.
You need to be thinking about how you can run multi-channel campaigns to reach the prospects that will fill the top of your lead funnel. This will likely include creating great content as well as utilizing LinkedIn, email, video, phone, Social Selling, and running webinars. Consider what is the right mix to get the best prospects?
There may well be other people and teams to help you with this, but the ultimate responsibility for filling the top of your funnel lies with you, so you need to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.
2. Achieving ‘Vision Lock’ in your first meeting
Getting your messaging right in meetings is key – we must appeal to our prospects on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level to create trust. One of the best ways to do this is through ‘Vision Lock’. This is when your vision and your prospect’s vision are aligned. Use your deck and demo to show that you completely understand what their problems are and demonstrate your vision for how you can alleviate their pain and create a substantial value impact.
This is not achieved by listing off in detail what you do and all the amazing things you have achieved. Be careful not to get bogged down in merely sharing your features and functionalities. Instead, focus on what your prospects specifically need to achieve their vision and tell them stories of how you have alleviated similar pains for other people.
Keep vision lock in mind when planning the structure and timing of your meeting, as well as for deciding the content of your deck. Tom Glason describes this key method in detail…
BAMFAM is one of the simplest and most powerful ways of creating momentum in your pipeline. It stands for Book A Meeting From A Meeting. This means whenever you’re in a meeting or call, make sure you schedule your next touchpoint before you leave.
So before you finish that call or leave the physical or virtual room, book in the next follow up call or meeting and get it set in the diary straight away. It is ten times harder to book your next touchpoint if you don’t use BAMFAM!
Start with trying to establish which day is best for your next touchpoint. You can then move to whether morning or afternoon is better. Get your calendar out and book your catch up there and then. Be sure to touch on what you are both signing up to do before your next meeting.
You may have to go back and forth a couple of times to get a time and date confirmed, so be polite and persistent. You will substantially increase the odds of you and your prospect speaking again if you get this confirmed in the diary before you leave your meeting or call.
4. Structure your meeting for success
Follow the 15 / 20 / 15 rule as a simple framework to optimize the effectiveness of your meetings. This breaks the meeting down into deep discovery, pitch & demo, and buying process & next steps.
Ask yourself this?
Have you ever left a meeting not knowing what the prospect wants? Did you leave not understanding what metrics are important to your prospects? Were you unsure what a compelling value proposition looks like to them?
If the answer is ‘Yes’, then following the 15 / 20 / 15 rule can solve this for you, forcing you to keep your deck and demo to the 20 minute limit, allowing you time to ask questions around deep discovery and buying & next steps.
5. The importance of discovery
Discovery builds and maintains momentum in deals whilst also establishing trust with prospects. It can completely transform the way that you sell because you’ll understand the pain that prospects have at an individual, departmental, and company level. Plus, you’ll know the value impact you can create for everyone in the buying chain. Gone are the days of high-level show-up-and-throw-up meetings! Discovery ensures your proposals are highly personalized to your prospect’s specific pain.
Approach your prospects like a sales doctor, asking them in-depth questions about their problem. Only then testing and diagnosing their problems and providing solutions specific to their pain.
When to do discovery?
- An initial discovery call should always happen two to three days before a meeting – It should only take ten to fifteen minutes.
- Book this call at the same time that you book a meeting and explain it is part of your standard process.
- You then include deeper discovery in the meeting.
Aim to do discovery calls at least 90% of the time. If you have the flexibility, think hard about whether to continue with a prospect who isn’t willing to do that discovery call. Ask yourself if they are serious about solving their problems.