Recommender Systems for Information Providers: Designing Customer Centric Paths to Information (Contributions to Management Science). Read more. Customer-centric Selling in Professional Services. Why sales capability programs in consulting firms typically fail, and how this can be prevented. Editorial Reviews. Review. FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF SOLUTION SELLING CustomerCentric Selling, Second Edition - Kindle edition by Michael T. Bosworth, John R. Holland, Frank Visgatis. Download it once and read it on.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Hindi|
|Genre:||Health & Fitness|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration Required]|
Need help implementing CustomerCentric Selling®? Contact: Jim Naro President The Naro Group Business Partner, CustomerCentric. FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF SOLUTION SELLING The program that is CustomerCentric Selling (eBook, PDF) - Bosworth, Michael T.; Holland. Goal Setting – How many wins do you need to make your revenue quota? Take your annual revenue requirement and divide by the average value of a sale.
Two percent of selling solutions consist of customer-centric sellers calling on early-market downloaders. This situation yields the highest ratio of success. The vendor still has a high probability of a sale. This is the best use of a customer-centric sellers talents. The mainstream downloaders need help in understanding what the offering will enable them to do, and how they will benefit as a result. The customer-centric seller has the ceoconfidante frumi.
By empowering traditional salespeople to have conversations about usage with Key Players, marketing can accelerate acceptance and market share at higher margins.
In summary, there are circumstances in which new offerings can enjoy success even without Sales-ready messaging being made available to their sales organization. As markets and sales organizations mature, however, penetration of the mainstream market almost always proves to be more challenging. To sustain success, companies have to realize how different mainstream-market downloaders really are, and act on that insight. Mainstream-market downloaders dont download; they need help in understanding how an offering can enable them to achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need.
So, companies can maximize their chances of prospering if they enable their growing number of salespeople to have conversations with downloaders in a way that positions offerings more consistently, leveraging best practices. Chapter 4: Core Concepts of Customer-centric Selling CustomerCentric Selling empowers sellers to execute Sales-Ready messaging to help their downloaders visualize using their offerings to achieve a foal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need.
People who enjoy helping their customers use their offering to achieve goals and solve problems make excellent sales people. If the experienced salesperson believes that selling means persuading, convincing, closing, and so on, then he or she is very likely to create more of the bad experiences that downloaders disdain this time in your companys name.
If the existing employee likes to help people, has the confidence to approach strangers, and knows how to use the product offering, then the authors recommend teaching that person to sell. Reframing the concept of selling will cause the sales call, and the entire relationship, to be far more productive and rewarding for all parties.
What follows are thirteen core concepts that collectively begin to reframe the concept of selling. You get delegated to the people you sound like Most senior executives will allocate about 30 minutes to a sales call with a salesperson who has proved competent enough to get an appointment with them. But few executive calls last a full 30 minutes. If the seller begins expounding on technology, features, platforms, and so on, senior executives are quick to delegate them to the people in their organization who care about those items.
In many cases it would have been better not to have called on the executive at all. Your companys position may have been compromised in the eyes of the downloader. Access to decision makers is a high risk, high-reward proposition. Take the time to diagnose before you offer a prescription Develop the diagnostic questions about the downloaders current situation and the potential usage of the offering to help the downloader achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need.
Most human beings do not appreciate unsolicited advice. If the potential downloader is being asked intelligent questions that he or she is capable of answering, the advice that emerges from that process is, in a very real sense, solicited advice.
The downloader has participated in, and partly directed, the conversation that developed both the diagnosis and the prescription. People download from people who are sincere and competent, and who empower them The downloader must own achievement of the goal. If your downloader concludes that you first understand the current situation, goals, or problems, then, and only then, you have earned yourself the opportunity to help your downloader understand how he or she can achieve the goal, or solve the problem, with the specific capabilities of your offering.
Dont give without getting The seller should strive to create a reciprocal relationship a quid pro quo. If quid pro quo becomes a habit early in the relationship, sellers can become more effective negotiators and deliver more profitable business. Once salespeople understand quid pro quo, they keep on thinking and acting that way. You cant sell to someone who cant download Many salespeople end up in the free education business. Ideally, your prospect is both the user of your product or service and the head of a department that already has the money budgeted.
Bad news early is always good news This core concept is for salespeople who have long sales cycles. In many cases the downloader knows from the start which vendor they want to download from, but they still had to get others to quote to demonstrate to senior management that they did sufficient due diligence.
If you are not the predetermined vendor, bad news early is good news. It is important to be realistic about your chances of success. A salesperson has to qualify opportunities, which in many cases means disqualifying opportunities 7. No goal means no prospect When meeting downloaders for the firs time, the salespersons primary focus should be to build rapport and trust. Without rapport and trust, it is unlikely that downloaders will share their goals and virtually certain that they will not admit their problems to a salesperson.
An opportunity should go from inactive to active when the downloader shares a goal.
Sometimes the solution lies in focusing on goals, rather than problems as it is far easier for salespeople to get a downloader to share a goal than a problem. Once a downloader shares a goal, the seller has an opportunity to use the solution development process to ask a series of questions to understand the current situation.
The downloader can then be empowered with usage scenarios that will help the downloader understand how he or she can achieve the goal by use if the sellers offering.
Without a goal, there can be no solution development and therefore no prospect. People are best convinced by reasons they themselves discover The process of asking questions helps downloaders discover their own reasons that prevent them from achieving a specific business result.
Expert downloaders are able to convince themselves that they should download something, because they figure out on their own how to use the proposed offering. But most downloaders arent experts, and therefore need help downloading.
By using a process that allows the downloader to feel that he or she is in control. By helping rather than pressuring, and by using content that is aimed at the downloaders specific situation, sellers can shape their customers experiences. They can lead the downloader to discover the solution, and therefore own it.
When selling, your expertise can become your enemy When experienced salespeople see a solution to the downloaders need, they get enthusiastic and impatient, and start projecting their solution onto the downloader. This is a paradox. Your clients want expert salespeople. At the same time, if your salesperson is tempted to use his or her expertise as a club n the downloader, a lack of expertise can make for a better sales call. Without expertise, your sellers only course of action is to ask questions.
The only person who can call it a solution is the downloader The authors believe that a salesperson cant and shouldnt define a solution. Only the downloader can call something a solution. When the downloader using the right process and content leads the downloader to conclude that he or she needs the specific capabilities the seller has posed, only then do we have a solution. Because the downloader said so. Make yourself equal, then make yourself different or youll just be different When salespeople are in competitive situations, they frequently fall into a trap that is unintentionally set by their downloader.
The downloader may ask how your product is different from the one they like best. This happens before trust has been established, before goals have been articulated, before diagnosis has occurred, and before the downloader has become convinced of the sellers expertise.
The correct answer to how are you different is What are you hoping to accomplish? Emotional decisions are justified by value and logic downloading is almost always an emotional act. Depending on the specifics of the situation, those emotions may or may not have to be justified. A non-decision maker will make an emotional decision to download from a salesperson first, but then should be armed with the logical reasons so that the downloading decision can be defended.
Dont close before the downloader is ready to download Once they close the first time, the sellers relationship with the downloader will never be the same. It will be either better or worse, but it wont be the same. And almost without exception, it will be better if they were ready to download and worse if they werent. When management pressures salespeople to close early at the end of the quarter, theres a structural problem, and its likely that larger future gains are being trade away for smaller near-term gains.
Before asking a downloader to download, sellers should ask themselves: o Have I documented the downloaders goal s? Sometimes, being able to respond to these questions or most of them, with a yes helps the salesperson get comfortable with the idea of moving up on his or her timetable for selling.
Chapter 5: Defining the Sales Process All salespeople, and in particular traditional salespeople, can become more customer-centric, and can produce at higher, more predictable levels.
A traditional seller following a good process is likely to outperform a naturally talented seller who is winging it. One of the first tasks is o document, define, and understand all their sales processes.
In other words, codify their selling behaviors for the different selling situations they encounter. Some definitions: ceoconfidante frumi. Each outcome can be measured, so that adjustments can be made to the activities, the outcomes or the process itself. Sales process: A defined set of repeatable, interrelated activities from market awareness through servicing customers that allows communication of progress to date to others within the company.
Each activity has an owner and a standard measurable outcome that provides inputs to other measurable activity. Sales pipeline milestones: Measurable events that take place on specific opportunities that enable sales management to asses the quality of activity needed at the salesperson level.
Again these milestones are objective and auditable. Few companies have sales processes that traditional sellers can execute. The authors believe that this deficiency is the single most important factor contribution to the disappointing results achieved with sales force automation SFA and customer relationship management CRM system.
The chances of building and sustaining an executable and therefore successful sales process are slim in the absence of the following prerequisites: o Pipeline milestones o Repeatable process most companies have more than one sales process as one size does not fit all.
It can be a recipe for disaster to impose a single sales process on all sales. By definition, this input is subjective and variable. Even without being instructed to do so by their management team, many traditional salespeople are guilty of closing prematurely, often attempting to close the wrong person.
Attempting to close nondecision makers and close them prematurely may lead up to losing the transaction because of bad behavior. A sales process should contain a specified time to close that was agreed to by the downloader. Senior management can attempt to accelerate orders at their own risk. The authors believe that a sales process should create a framework for relating to customers and prospects.
It is possible to shape the marketplaces opinion of you by designing a customer-centric process that reflects the way you want your customers and prospects to be treated. The CEO can create a blueprint for customers experience that will influence the words that salespeople use when developing downloader needs and setting expectations.
With equal or even slightly inferior offerings, companies can make the way their salespeople sell a differentiator. These organizations can win on sales process. A customer-centric sales process needs to cover all the steps, from market awareness through measuring results achieved by customers.
It should define and comprise: o When downloading cycles begin o The steps involved in making a recommendation o The steps necessary to have the downloaders understand their requirements ceoconfidante frumi. One way of structuring a sales process is to define an appropriate set of pipeline milestones.
You can identify milestones by analyzing transactions from the past year or so to determine if you can isolate common factors and patterns in opportunities that youve won and lost. By so doing, it is often possible to identify and incorporate specific best practice events and use them as milestones.
This can allow organizations to begin to institutionalize their best practices within a sales process and improve win rates on opportunities in the pipeline. These milestones allow salespeople and management to better understand where they are in a given sell cycle. They provide insight into whether opportunities are qualified, and therefore worthy of resources.
Key steps in every sales process must be documented in order to be auditable. There must be a letter, fax, or email from the salesperson to the downloader that summarizes key conversations. Not all milestones need to be auditable. Your goal should be to define those critical ones that allow you or your sales managers to grade opportunities. Senior management must take ownership of the customer experience and the corresponding sales process, in part by defining deliverables based on the size and complexity of a given transaction.
Salespeople tend to resist following a process. They dont like documenting their sales efforts and they like to boast of their successes outside the process. Salespeople intuitively know how much needs to be in their pipelines to keep their managers off their backs.
When their pipelines are thin, salespeople become less selective about what they are working on. The role of salespeople is to build pipeline by executing the sales process; the role of manager is to grade that pipeline, with an eye toward disqualifying. Managers should own the quality of the opportunities they allow their salespeople to spend time and resources on. By invoking and sticking to a strong sales process, managers should be able to increase the percentage of winnable situations in the pipeline.
Given a diversity of transactions, many companies find that one size or process does not and cannot fit all of their selling situations. The authors suggest defining customer-centric steps and deliverables for your most complex sale, and then determining subsets of steps and deliverables for smaller transactions. A sales cycle can be distilled into a series of conversations between the seller and the downloader s for each defined step in a sales process.
But the emphasis is on the downloader that is, someone who is qualified and empowered to download. This means that conversations have to be targeted. Sales-Ready messaging involved defining the titles or functions of people within a prospect whom salespeople will have to call on in order to get their proposed offering sold and installed. Once these titles have been identified, a menu of business issues for each title should be developed. Once you have a title and a business objective, you are in a position to have a targeted conversation.
Another advantage of developing this kind of list is that it can include inputs from more than just the salespeople. People at many levels in the selling organization can contribute. In addition, targeting conversations permits a more consistent positioning of offerings, because the responsibility for positioning no longer falls on the shoulders of the salespeople.
And finally, targeting conversations tends to push conversations up higher in the hierarchy and the higher in the organization a salesperson calls, ceoconfidante frumi. Most organizations dont quit often enough, or early enough, when the odds are against them. Without a defined sales process, they dont know the odds are against them. Responding to RFPs that you did not initiate can be a huge drain on your resources. Consider segmenting your sales process, and investing your limited resources where theyll give you the most return.
While this seems fundamental, sales organizations tend to evolve over time, and they sometimes get out of touch with a changing reality. A fresh look a clean sheet of paper approach can be helpful in stepping away from the trees and looking at the forest.
Just as offerings, markets, and sales situations are dynamic, sales processes too, must be reviewed and adjusted on an ongoing basis, if they are to reflect how your salespeople sell. A review is advisable, and milestones should be either verified or modified by analyzing the results. This may be one as often as quarterly, for a relatively new market or offering, or on an annual basis for mature organizations. Consider reviewing your top five wins to highlight best practices in selling.
And as unpleasant a task as it may be, review your toughest losses as well, in an attempt to see if your process needs to be changed. A sales process represents the managements teams best understanding of how downloading cycles take place, and how to fit into those cycles. If the potential usages of your offerings are highly variable i. Without sales process, every situation is an exception based on the sellers opinion. This can be costly at several levels: o Salespeople are determining when and how to compete.
A milestone based roadmap that can be audited is absolutely essential. Sales is less an art, and more a craft. While the design and implementation of an effective sales process are formidable tasks, the upside, having better control over top-line revenue generation, can be absolutely invaluable. Chapter 6: Integrating the Sales and Marketing Processes.
In many cases, the difference between a company that is enjoying success and one that is struggling is the degree of integration and cooperation among the functional departments. Tactical marketings mission is to figure out how to achieve todays revenue targets with todays offerings. The interface between Sales and tactical marketing is often neglected.
The root cause of the problem between Sales and marketing is a lack of formal awareness and process to gather knowledge about how customers use their offerings to achieve goals, solve problems, and satisfy needs. A key component of creating B2B core content is tapping the experience of clients customer service people and professional services people. These are the people who are responsible every day for helping ceoconfidante frumi.
They have the customer usage knowledge needed to help them create Sales-Ready Messaging. In virtually all organizations, Sales and marketing are expected somehow to collaborate. These two functions within an organization ultimately drive top-line revenue, and yet few companies have a working definition of how they are supposed to interact.
This overall lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities contributes to what is frequently a strained relationship. Sales and Marketing define, almost exclusively, the companys relationship with its customers, and ultimately are responsible for driving and achieving top-line revenue.
Think how much a business could benefit from putting processes in place that would get these two functional silos- traditionally uncooperative to work together and work for the good of the customer. A necessary first step is that Marketing must view itself as the front end of the sales process, rather than the back end of product development.
Marketings objective is to help potential customers understand how they can achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need with the companys offerings. Marketing could contribute effectively to the conversations that salespeople have with their prospects and customers.
Marketing has to learn to face the customer, rather than look toward the lab. The first change needs to be a shift of affiliation within the organization.
This is primarily a psychological shift, but it can also take many procedural and even physical forms. A second step is to formally charge marketing with the responsibility for developing and maintaining the companys core content in other words, its sales messaging. Sales- Ready Messaging must be created to support targeted conversations with decision makers and decision influencers.
It requires product usage information positioned specifically for decision-maker job titles within targeted industries. The sales and support teams in the field are closest to the customers and prospects. They have to suggest how messaging tools can be improved and kept up to date. They have to bring back from the field new insights into how offerings are actually used, and not used, by customers. Marketing, meanwhile, must own the content. It owns the responsibility for achieving consistency of message and dissemination across multiple channels, multiple product lines, and so on.
Adding the responsibility of Sales-Ready Messaging dramatically increases the scope of marketings job and the authors suggest the title of chief content officer as an appropriate one.
The Web tends to put marketing directly in touch with downloaders. In addition to information dissemination or even order fulfillment, Web sites can be designed to help Marketing learn: How do you use our products?
What were you able to accomplish? How would you like to use our products in the future? Marketing can be much more effective in providing tools and collateral materials when they have had sustained, iterative contact with the customer base through the Web. They are far better prepared to develop Sales-Ready Messaging to support all the many conversations that add up to effective customer-centric sales process.
Sales-Ready Messaging means empowering salespeople to have meaningful conversations with decision-makers and decision influencers about how they can achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need through the use of the offering.
When you combine this core content with sales process, you gain the capability of codifying, or architecting, sales conversations and sales cycles. If sales processes can be integrated with marketing processes, which include Sales-Ready Messaging, CEOs can gain control over generating top-line revenue, and organizations can improve their relationships with their customers.
A feature is an attribute of a product or service things like weight, size or color. The primary problem with sellers being taught to lead with features is that this approach counts on the downloaders knowing whether or not the feature is useful and therefore relevant. Great salespeople rarely have to close, and great sales calls are conversations, rather than presentations. Customer-centric salespeople are able to translate the feature knowledge they are given by product marketing into usage scenarios.
These are simply hypothetical examples that are highly relevant to the downloader and that the seller can use to conduct intelligent conversation. Here is an example of adopting a customer-centric approach to cross selling: A couple from Nebraska visited a branch office to open a checking account for their daughter, who would be attending school near the bank. Before working through the specifics of the checking account as so many salespeople would the retail banker asked a number of usage-scenario questions.
For example: When you are back in Nebraska, would it be useful for you to be able to check your daughters balance by using the internet? Through the use of this kind of usage-scenario question, cross selling in the pilot region went up percent. Chapter 8: Creating Sales-Ready Messaging Three conditions must exist in order to have an effective sales conversation about an offering: 1.
The downloaders title and vertical industry must be known. The downloader must share a business goal or admit a business problem. The sellers offerings must have capabilities that a targeted downloader can use to achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need and, of course, the seller must understand and articulate these capabilities. The higher in the organization you call, the smaller the number of business objectives you are likely to encounter.
In general, senior people worry about a finite number of important issues. Conversations with senior management tend to be shorter, more conceptual, and less technical which in many cases means theyre more interesting and productive. The authors advocate a top-down approach to sales. The structured approach that follows lets salespeople spend far less time with people who cant or are not going o download.
Begin by listing your vertical industries. For each industry, make a list of the titles or functions of the decision makers and influencers a salesman is likely to call on in order to get your offering sold, funded, and implemented.
For each of these job titles, what goals or business objectives should they have in that function? Which of these goals are addressable through the use of your offering?
Every goal on your list should be a business variable that your companys offering can help a particular title achieve. Ideally, the goal should be monetarily based, as the financial benefit of achieving the goal will be used to determine if the cost of the offering can be justified. A business should be wiling to spend money to achieve a goal. It is recommended that Marketing take responsibility for developing and ceoconfidante frumi.
They represent the core content of a companys Sales-Ready Messaging, and they give selling organizations the ability to influence the conversations that their salespeople have with downloaders. The messaging in SDPs takes the form of questions because questions keep salespeople from telling. See page for a sample template. As long as they are asking intelligent questions that their downloader is capable of answering, they are not selling at least in the downloaders mind.
They are consulting. The role of the salesperson is to become a downloading facilitator by leading the downloader with questions that are biased toward their particular offering. The next step is to position your offerings. Identify all the features that could be used to achieve a goal and then distill them down to your top four. To convert features into usage scenarios there are four components: 1. Event: the circumstance causing a need for the specific feature.
Question: Asking versus telling doesnt feel like selling to the downloader. Player: Who or what system will take action to respond to the event. Action: How can the feature be used, stated in terms downloaders can understand and relate to their job title.
The description of the action should be specific enough so downloaders can visualize how the result will be achieved. The next step would be to sequence these usage scenarios.
This is usually driven by the order in which the downloader would be likely to encounter them. For each usage scenario we now create corresponding best practice diagnostic questions for the salesperson to ask in order to determine if the downloader has a need for the usage scenario described in the event, question, player, action EQPA question.
SDPs would be created for each remaining goal on the menu for a job title. The final result is Sales-Ready messaging to enable sellers to have targeted conversations with the titles needed to sell, fund, and implement a system. While this takes significant effort the result is well worth it. If they are properly prepared, SDPs provide a more consistent positioning of offerings by all salespeople, and should help your sales effort overall. A few other observations about creating SDPs: o They get easier to prepare after the initial ones because usage scenarios tend to be reusable for multiple targeted conversations.
While marketing should take responsibility for the creation and maintenance of SDPs, it also requires significant involvement from the sales organization. SDPs are dynamic not static, and must be maintained and updated over time.
With salespeople directed to higher levels, qualification becomes easier. Chapter 9: Marketings Role in Demand Creation Marketing can play a critical role in creating demand for a companys offerings.
If marketing is going to serve as the front end of sales cycles, then its messages across all media should be consistent with the salesperson behavior the authors espouse: namely, leading with business issues with people who can make decisions and allocated unbudgeted funds.
Marketing should be the keeper of Sales-Ready Messaging, but should not be expected to accomplish this in a vacuum. Sales should provide constructive input, continuing to fine tune material so that it reflects best practices in the field.
Marketing and sales have to agree on the definition of a lead. A legitimate lead contains three components: vertical industry, title and goal. There are only a certain number of people out there who are already looking to change.
Chances are they already have a preferred vendor in mind. Demand generation entails causing people who werent looking to change to begin a downloading cycle.
This segment represents many times the potential number of people who are already looking, and offers the advantage of allowing salespeople to be proactive and become the vendor of choice instead of being reactive and competing for second place. People who are not already looking to change have no budget allocated, so the focus in those organizations should be on people who have the authority to free up unbudgeted funds.
Maxim Baeten is a digital marketer at Realo , one of Europe's fastest growing real estate startups. Realo is an online market place for real estate specialised in enriching listings with neighbourhood information. This article was written for Business 2 Community by Maxim Baeten. Learn more about writing for B2C.
Join over 50, of your peers and receive our weekly newsletter which features the top trends, news and expert analysis to help keep you ahead of the curve. While formulating. Amand - Marketing departments are no longer measured by the leads they generate, but by providing proof of ROI for every campaign they run. This makes the. Important note before I continue:. Toggle navigation Business 2 Community.
Influencer Marketing: Is the Internet Stressing You Out? Popular in BrandViews Image: The Power of Productivity: Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0. Pre-Meeting Preparation: Do Your Homework. Maxim Baeten Maxim Baeten is a digital marketer at Realo , one of Europe's fastest growing real estate startups.
More by this author: Discuss This Article. Add a Comment. Click here to cancel reply. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Thank you for adding to the conversation! Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately. Stay Connected Join over 50, of your peers and receive our weekly newsletter which features the top trends, news and expert analysis to help keep you ahead of the curve.
Get the best of B2C in your inbox: Subscribe to our newsletter Sign up. Your subscription was successful. Coming up on B2C Webcasts.