Models And Frameworks
Complex sales involve multiple client engagements, often with several stakeholders, and there are only ever three outcomes from a sales meeting with a prospect or client. We either advance, go backwards, or don’t move from our previous position.
There is only one thing that allows us to gain and keep momentum on any sale: when the client makes a decision to proceed further with us, based on the quality of our interactions and conversations. That’s the essence of our methodology, which increases speed to value for our clients.
The Sales Accelerator Methodology comprises a proven set of frameworks, skills, techniques and tools designed to enable organisations to transition from product or service-based selling to value-based consultative selling. Unlike many consultative selling methods, the focus is not just on what to do, but HOW to do it.
It is principles-based, client-centric and structured around the different decisions your clients need to take as you progress a sale, and importantly the dialogue required to enable those decisions in every meeting.
Complex, high-value sales only happen when:
There are challenges to solve or business outcomes to achieve
We jointly identify the value between where they are and where they want to be
The change is worth the cost
The future state is a better state
Our solution precisely meets their needs – both intellectually and emotionally
Prospects or clients see us as capable, credible and trustworthy
We can articulate why we’re different in a way that matters to the client
Our Revenue Qualification Model
Opportunity Qualification seems to be the Achilles Heel of most sales organisations. It’s hard to know where to focus and, more importantly, how to build certainty about where you are, what’s missing and your confidence level. When executed well, it enables accurate forecasting and wider downstream resourcing once deals are won. This is a challenge because it’s more than a methodology. It concerns the required mindset, skills, behaviours, approaches and tools to enable the methodology to be successfully carried out.
We broadly understand qualification as the ongoing evaluation of potential clients or opportunities to determine whether they exhibit the characteristics that make them a good fit for our product or service, and if we are a good fit for them. In more candid terms, whether or not it is worth continuing to explore, given the time and investment that is needed on both sides.
So, why is poor qualification so widespread? Why are so many teams losing more often than they win?
Here are some of the things we routinely see when engaging with clients to diagnose sales challenges:
Qualification is talked about but not deeply understood
No consistent approach to qualifying with the client
Poor training and tools to enable to the conversations that are pivotal for qualification
Weak links between qualification and deal approval
Sales people too eager to pitch (premature presentation syndrome)
Pipeline overloaded with unqualified deals
Win rates depressed by focusing on the wrong opportunities
There is abundant evidence that a methodical approach outweighs a random or haphazard one when applying appropriate rigour to qualification. This is especially true in business development where opportunities are won in new and existing accounts.
Furthermore, in high-value complex sales with multiple stakeholders and long sales and buying cycles, some of the established qualification methods such as BANT, MAN, CHAMP and others can be deemed simplistic or encourage sellers to focus on the wrong dimensions too soon e.g. Budget or Money.
We have developed our proprietary and unique Revenue Qualification Framework to address this issue. It harnesses more than 100 collective years of experience, countless client engagements, expert views from thought leading practitioners, and tens of thousands of pursuits. It’s different because it embeds client value through our Value Framework at the heart of qualification. It’s also fuelled by our Sales Accelerator Methodology to guide and enable teams to have the essential conversations to make them effective.
Our Value Framework
Our framework describes the four pillars of value that can be identified during discovery conversations with multiple clients on any given opportunity. Identifying what clients truly value at a level of detail superior to the competition will allow us to better qualify an opportunity and present a solution that closely meets their needs, all while delivering the outcome they seek and differentiating our offer in a way that they appreciate.
The four pillars represented in the framework are:
Factors that the organisation values when seeking to solve current
challenges or create different and better outcomes in the future.
Factors that an individual might value from a personal perspective
when sponsoring or facilitating a change programme.
Specific elements of value that our solution might provide.
This could be a significant factor in differ.
Factors that might be of value if they choose us, opportunities
to differentiate us and significant factors in the final decision.
© The Sales Coach Network Ltd.
The model has been organised into four categories of value and more than 50 distinct descriptors of value that B2B solutions provide clients or prospects. They have not been categorised in order of importance, but simply grouped to help sales professionals navigate conversations in more detail when undertaking diagnostic or needs analysis conversations.
Many clients will not have exhaustively considered the potential value we can help identify and realise. Our job as sales professionals is to have conversations that mine for value and identify what truly motivates the client to act. Our intent (to identify value rather than sell) in these conversations will unlock a free flow of information and enable us to develop a hierarchy of value for each stakeholder.
In most cases, this a number of diagnostic conversations with stakeholders, exploring each of the four pillars in turn.
When advancing and qualifying large, complex opportunities with multiple stakeholders, it is critical to help them determine whether the value is measurable and quantifiable (in monetary terms) when building a business case, while exploring the full extent of value that we can deliver to differentiate us or obtain the final decision.
Remember, value is in the eye of the client and every individual is different.
Much like the hierarchy of human needs that psychologist Abraham Maslow first described in 1943, the hierarchy of client value recognises that buyer actions and behaviours are motivated to fulfil needs ranging from the very basic – in this case what we might consider ’table stakes’ – progressing in importance to where we add value, and ultimately to where we win.
Typically, the table stakes are easy to identify, and the measurable elements might be found here in terms of our capability, credibility and solution components. When all competing vendors look and feel the same, added value and differentiation sway buyers to choose us.
As we progress from table stakes to added value, buyer emotions play a stronger part in the decision process. This means that any superficial discussions around value will make us vulnerable, as will our inability to identify and engage with all stakeholders involved in the decision process.