Archive for Sales
Leigh Ashton is the author of iSell and head of The Sales Consultancy. She specializes in helping people incorporate psychology alongside technical selling skills – leading to positive changes to their attitude, their approach and their sales results. Leigh works with business owners, directors, managers and sales teams to identify and eliminate their psychological barriers, their internal limiting beliefs…and the reasons or excuses they use to rationalize their lack of consistently great sales.
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Related Podcast: The Psychology of Selling
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do
Leigh Ashton is the author of iSell and head of The Sales Consultancy. She specializes in helping people incorporate psychology alongside technical selling skills – leading to positive changes to their attitude, their approach and their sales results.
Leigh works with business owners, directors, managers and sales teams to identify and eliminate their psychological barriers, their internal limiting beliefs…and the reasons or excuses they use to rationalize their lack of consistently great sales. Once these deeper changes have taken place…they are motivated to incorporate positive new behavior’s on a long term basis. Leigh’s mantra is to leave people feeling inspired and motivated to take action!
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do
We are seeing a shift in organizational structure that is unprecedented in modern times. This shift seems to dominate most social media forums, discussion groups and conferences. It has permeated even the largest of organizations. Being agile and innovated is not enough. We have to be transformational and disruptive to meet today’s demands. Our organizations have to change structurally to accommodate this new wave of thinking. In the book, Building the Learning Organization, author Michael Marquardt gives as good and clear explanation as anyone by utilizing the following table for the shift that is required.
To digress a moment, this is why, Lean has become the dominant process methodology supplanting Six Sigma during the 21st century. You can easily envision Six Sigma in the old style organization and the obvious problems it has surviving in the new style. Lean, on the other hand, thrives in the new style of organizational structure (See my blog post, A New Approach to Lean with Robert Fritz).
My discussion though is not about process methodologies; it is about sales structure. Few of us will disagree that this new age of organizational structure is upon us. Few of us will disagree that our customers are moving in that direction. We are partnering and building alliances, and what use to be adverse selling and purchasing tactics has transformed into the new culture of open innovation and co-creation platforms. Only, we forgot to tell our sales people, and few have walked the path of restructuring sales compensation. We continue to build incentive based compensation for the old organizational structures. We think in terms of funnels and decision makers trying to reach into functional structures and hierarchy.
The work of a single individual is seldom the determining factor in our customer relationships and often we are engaged in multiple supply channel offerings that compete directly with each other. This structure does little in the way of long-term development of our customer base. If we are competing internally with ourselves, we seldom will have the customers’ best interest at heart.
Would it be more productive if our sales incentives and structure were built around developing around the new organizational structure? Should we be looking at behavioral changes of the people, groups and organizations with whom we are working? Should we build a structure that allows for different people, groups and organizations to come and go at will without damaging are previous efforts?
Should we shift evaluating sales people on outcomes that they have less and less control of? Should our compensation move away from transactional value or goods dominant logic style of thinking where better, faster, cheaper defines the outcome? Rather, should compensation move towards a Service Dominant Logic (SD-Logic) style of thinking where value is defined as functional, social and emotional? The question arises can we define, monitor and evaluate our programs and people on these factors?
I believe the principles of SD-Logic and for example, monitoring the value of use can ultimately be the prescription for restructuring the sales process. I am going to engage in a series of blogs that will discuss this theory in greater detail.
Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.
How many User (Buyer) Personas do you create? When introducing User (Buyer) Personas to an organization, I like to move away from trying to determine the “Ideal Client” type initially. What I like to do is post clients (with their personas) in the matrix below. For example, I use a matrix very similar to the one I outlined in the post, Lean Sales and Marketing Serenity Prayer to categorize customers for a given sales cycle. An overview of the post:
- Engaged Customers with an effective Product/Service Match are a green light for closing or at a minimum staying with what you are doing.
- Engaged Customers with an ineffective Product/Service Match either give back to product/development or bring a product specialist to customize product/service.
- Disengaged Customers with an effective Product/Service Match tell me that current sales and marketing efforts are sub-par or that this group needs to receive the message in a different way. Give it back to marketing and tell them to go to work.
- Disengaged Customers with an in effective Product/Service Match are not a lost cause depending on the size of the population. You may not want to spend a great deal of resources here, but it is worth investigating.
I will place Customer or their User Persona within this matrix. The definitions are practically the same but focusing on the wording we would develop while creating the User (Buyer) Personas. For Example:
- Engaged Customers with an effective Product/Service Match are the ideal clients in our target market.
- Engaged Customers with an ineffective Product/Service Match are customers that are highly relational and may use other factors than a superior product to make their decision. They may be driven by customer support, distributor relations, other products or just simply a family member.
- Disengaged Customers with an effective Product/Service Match may be driven by price, availability, or their own limitations.
- Disengaged Customers with an ineffective Product/Service Match are the ones that I use to highlight the need for an Anti-User (Buyer) Persona.
If we place real customers within the matrix, we will find that the personas are easier to create. You can move the customers, depicted with sticky notes, to different positions in the block so that you can see where they populate. Place advocates/detractors to the extreme edges in the blocks and put them in order towards the center; referrers, repeat buyers and one-time buyers closest to the center.
You can use many different customer scenarios such as locations, product mix, sales assignments, and tenure to determine other visual indicators to assist in understanding your personas. This can be done with different color post-it-notes or just stickers after they have been grouped by the main criteria.
You will not create great personas at the start; personas take practice. However, personas should be an active tool to manage your sales and marketing process. They are means to create conversation, hypothesis and experiments. I cannot think of a better way to bring the customer into your internal operations than through the use of personas. Jeff Bezos of Amazon Fame keeps an empty seat at the table to signify the customer. Why not try holding your next sales and marketing meeting with a persona board at the head of the table?