April 28, 2009

Selling some of it is intuition

I had an early morning coffee with one of the most successful technology sales people in Europe this morning. This guy has closed both high value and low value deals all around the world. Every time I meet him he leaves me with nuggets of wisdom that are worth considering. Here are six I jotted down this morning:


·        Complex sales will require multiple channels of communications with the prospect. Inevitably when the deal sizes get interesting channel dynamics & personalities will emerge. You need to think like the partner if you are going to get one of the big boys to joint bid with you. The value you bring needs to be clear to them and to the customer. If having your organization involved in the joint bid doesn't strengthen a partners position considerably, they just won't have you on their bid team.


·        The sales guys that are doing deals right now have the ability to present the business case for a major sale with a CEO in the morning and then get on the phone and progress a smaller €100,000 deal in the afternoon, gone are the days your sales number will be achieved by just focusing on the big deals. Selling requires some street fighting (in the nicest possible way of course)


·        Lots of small deals are lost by forcing a yes no decision (T Junction) too early. You need to avoid taking the prospect to a T Junction too quickly, nurture the relationship and seek out the compelling event. Your solution needs to be must have, not a nice to have. Lots of sales people forget this.


·        When selling to the public sector abroad, obey the price envelopes that are set down, failure to do so will result in you not being shortlisted


·        Sales forecasting and planning should not just be about a scientific model, you need to, look back to previous quarters, look out at the market and then apply some intuition otherwise the target that are set are unlikely to get buy in from your sales team


·        Selling is very much team based, it requires sales professionals, pre-sales support, technical support, finance and customer support, it's not about one or two top people anymore.


Hope these nuggets from the field of professional selling are of use.


John O' Gorman – sales effectiveness, sales activity


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