If B2B selling of new technology was easy, then I would have to retire… again. Everyone would be at it.
But while the elements of B2B selling have been extensively charted for decades, it’s the consistent application of these when talking face to face (or Zoom to Zoom) that makes sales happen faster and with mutual profit.
At the top of the B2B Maslow-like hierarchy, the very best deals – those that deliver significant value equally to both the buyer and the seller – are driven by values that inspire both sides.
If you’re running a commodity-style deal, no-one really gets fired up about things, but if your product or service can for example change the world for the better, or drive increased social responsibility, then everyone gets excited, leadership from both sides make promises that they want to deliver, and the troops are galvanised.
But in B2B sales, being able to change the world isn’t enough...
Very short blog today.
The odd decade or two ago, as a first line sales manager, I would expect my sales people to know everything that was going to happen to a deal that was closing in the current month. As we got to the last two weeks before close-date, I would expect them to have a detailed close plan, and would chide them, sometimes not so gently, if they didn't know the process, the plan, the people, and the issues.
Fanfare! So I want to place this on record.
I apologise to all those hard working reps to whom I gave a hard time.
I was sarcastic.
I was incredulous.
Sometimes I was dismissive.
Again, I apologise.
Here we are, two weeks away from Brexit, and we don't even know if we're two weeks away from Brexit!
If the Government, in its pomp, its majesty, as the final arbiter of the rule of law, as the seat of ultimate power where rules may be changed upon a whim... If the actual freakin' United Kingdom Govt. doesn't know its own plan two weeks out, then we have to assume that with all the best wills in the world, a sales rep won't always know what his or her close plan is actually going to look like.
There are times when things f*** up, and as a sales manager, the only way to cope with this is to find something extra in the pipeline and react. Commiserate with the rep. Try and learn something from the process. But include in the lesson that sometimes, sometimes, things f*** up.
The resignation of pretty much all of the leading politicians that led the UK’s referendum to exit the EU is astounding. Prime Minister Cameron’s departure was followed by Boris Johnson’s punctured deflation, which led to the metaphorical knives being twisted into Gove’s flabby frame. Then the sideshow that was beer-swilling Farage’s personal exit preceded “last-chance Leadsom’s” failure to fight for her principles - after her CV was publicly reviewed and found wanting.
An amazing two weeks in politics.
It could never happen in the business world.
Actually there was some important executive change news this week from the business world.
Not much point talking about Brexit – far smarter minds have weighed in on the debacle and the English empty-headed political responses after the event.
Suffice to say, while I’ve met a few great sales people and also personally closed some big wins, I’ve never met anyone yet who has signed a $2 trillion deal.
Yet that’s what the world’s financial markets had lost by Saturday morning, all due to Brexit.
Meanwhile, in the corporate world, many large tech firms close their FY16 books this week – in fact, June is the busiest fiscal end month after December for US-listed companies.
So this morning, many of my ex-colleagues will be on their last forecast call of the year - and most will be hearing unwelcome news.
Let’s face it, deals always fall out of the funnel at this time of year. And some of them were always aspirational rather than real, anyway.
Methodical ramblings after twenty-five years in Sales, Marketing and SalesOps.