Sales Operations … Your Key To Success

In my previous roles as VP of Sales in multiple organizations,  I had the opportunity to redesign several sales organizations.  The market has changed tremendously for us older folks that have done things differently.  No longer can you focus on getting meetings and closing techniques to shift the bottom line.

The game starts much earlier at the designing stage of your marketing campaigns.  The first set of questions you ask in that step will make or break your quartner 18 months later. Questions like … What our key demographics? Who are our best customers? What problems do we really solve? What business are we really in? What sales support technologies are we going to use?

Having the right answers to these questions will help you develop your marketing campaigns that produce leads you can focus on and develop a relationship of trust so you can transact with them when it makes sense to do so. Re-read that; one needs to understand the fundamental development cycle that leads to a sale.  Your Sales Support practices need to stay within these swim lanes.

Here are the steps ….

  1. Make a Connection of Relevance.
  2. Build Rapport – so they feel comfortable enough with you to …
  3. Develop Trust – which is needed to talk about their …
  4. Business Problems – identification which specifies their …
  5. Business Needs and Requirements – which allows you to …
  6. Design a Solution – that they can  …
  7. Review and Negotiate – to discuss approach and costs; allowing you to …
  8. Come to an Agreement and begin a new working relationship …
  9. Allowing you to identify new problems and repeat steps 4-8

Given this evolutionary process in your working relationship with your prospects it is important to design your sales support practices that map to and support this process.

The underlying value is care.  Are you being honest in your relationship and your activity with your prospects?  Do you offer them anything of value?  Are your offerings something they need and assess as valuable? Are you making a positive impact in their lives?

Remember Prospects become Customers when they transact with you and then if you treat them right and look out for their best interest; they become Clients that invite you to transact with them over and over again.  This is a gradual process, an ongoing process something that your sales operations needs to embrace at every customer interaction.  This is a mood, a culture that needs to permeate throughout your organization. You can break trust easily if you do something that offends your customers and prospects.

In the era of technology infused information marketing … make sure you lead with useful content that is shared with your prospects across multiple channels; so that you are findable when they need the help.  We live in an asynchronous world because we are always connected and having the right information at the right time is valuable – you cannot time it, so keep it out there and be findable when your prospects and customers need what you have to offer. This is Sales and Sales Support done right.

The time has come for a shift in our thinking and resource allocation … Focus more on your back office and sales support and less on your front office high dollar sales people. You still need some of them, but their involvement and their responsibility is to add to and grow the organizational trust your sales support teams have developed with their activity.  Fancy suits will help you close deals that stick. Mature Sales Support teams will create the opportunities needed for sales people to meet with.  This new blended approach is proving to produce better results in our technology driven and information laden sales & marketing environment of today.  The market has changed – have you?

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