145 The Power of Data Analytics 1

The Power of Data Analytics 1

 

Prior briefings discussed advanced Data Analytics, an Artificial Intelligence component that acts like the human brain’s mechanism for storing and recalling information in memory banks and performing the computations that enable decision-making. 

 

Data Analytics examines large amounts of data from multiple disparate sources to uncover hidden patterns, find correlations, reveal trends, and detect insights that were previously unknown or not readily apparent due to the inability to access large volumes of information. 

 

Data Analytics provides three types of analysis: 

– Hindsight – Looking at what happened in the past

– Foresight – Looking at what is happening if current trends continue

– Insight – Predicting what will happen in the future

 

Hindsight

Analyzing data sets to report on what has already happened in the past.

– Calculation of metrics and key performance indicators that are important to maintaining a pulse on how the sales operation is performing.

– Statistical analysis that ranks customer buying preferences, loyalty factors, and retention rates.

– Alerts—what potential red flags are uncovered that need to be remedied.

 

– Sales management views a performance dashboard to visually monitor overall sales. They view performance above (or below) quota in total, or drill down to view performance by region, by product, and by individual sales professionals.

– A sales team is alerted that twelve customers have dropped their subscriptions in the last week.

– New customer buying segments are established to enable sales teams to build marketing campaigns for new account targets.

– Salespeople access reports on the most effective lead development programs by region.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue our discussion on  Data Analytics in the next briefing.

 

144 Say What You Mean – But and However

Say What You Mean – But and However

 

Prior briefings discussed “Junk Words and Phrases”, how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep into our language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.

 

Let’s look at the junk word “BUT”. When a “BUT” is interjected into statement, it completely reverses the context. 

 

Let’s say you are responding to a customer idea, and you say: 

“You believe that is the best approach, BUT there are issues with getting it to work.” 

 

The “BUT” you inserted into that sentence just negated what you said before it… That’s right, one little word… Everything you said prior to “BUT” is rendered unimportant and often signals that “I don’t agree with you”.

 

Oh, HOWEVER is not a good substitute for BUT. HOWEVER has the same negative effect. 

 

“You believe that is the best approach, HOWEVER, there are issues with getting it to work.” 

 

Instead of BUT or HOWEVER, replace these words with “AND”.

 

Here’s your revised response: 

“You believe that is the best approach, AND let’s discuss issues we might have with getting it to work.” 

 

It’s a slight change… AND signifies a continuation; AND invites further discussion without negating what anyone has said or showing a disagreement.

 

Eliminate BUT or HOWEVER from your message to stop sending mixed signals in your communications.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about my online course that will help you become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.

 

143 Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 9

Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 9

 

Final Thoughts on the Action Roadmap

 

The prior several briefings described what an Action Roadmap is… here’s what it is NOT.  

 

– An Action Roadmap is quite different from an internal “closing plan” that you prepare for internal reporting purposes. The closing plan is a sales-centric document used by your selling team to provide details to sales management that will assist them in determining how well your deal is progressing, document what additional assistance is needed, and forecasting the probability of winning the deal. Sales managers and executives analyze these closing plans and review them with their salespeople. The sales manager uses the closing plan to document status, identify red flags, and provide guidance to the selling team. 

 

Here are three Recommended Actions for you: 

1) Prepare an Action Roadmap for each of your key deals. Focus on the required steps that will need to be executed with the customer. Limit the steps to those that are important. Make your milestones realistic and achievable. 

 

2) Identify at least one primary sponsor in your customer’s organization. Review your draft Action Roadmap with this sponsor and encourage them to make changes. Gain agreement from your sponsor on the approach, the main tasks, and the major milestones.

 

3) Use the Action Roadmap as a qualifier and as a project management tool. Execute the steps in the roadmap and update it as needed throughout the sales cycle.

 

Here’s the Bottom Line.

The proper use of an Action Roadmap will accelerate your sales cycles, provide a realistic approach for the timeline and effort for both you and your customer, and signal an advance warning before the project goes off track. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

142 Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 8

Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 8

 

The Roadmap in Action 

 

Some salespeople dislike highly structured processes and often prefer to simply “wing it.” They believe they can get by with just using their selling instincts, which they have refined over time. However, it’s a mistake to think that a salesperson can maximize their potential (and their income) without using tools that provide some structure and discipline. What makes this approach so effective, is that it’s simple, easy to implement, helps qualify the customer, and eliminates unnecessary tasks. 

 

Consider the following example on how to use the Action Roadmap.

 

Rea joined his company’s selling team after several productive years as a project manager. Even though he did not have significant selling experience, he embraced using the Action Roadmap as a tool to help keep his sales cycles on track. It was natural for him to approach selling efforts like projects. He used the tool to define a structured approach to monitoring the required tasks, to facilitate regular communications with his customer sponsor, and to identify potential bottlenecks that could slow progress of his deals. 

 

Rea also found that during the regular checkpoints documented in the Action Roadmap, he ended up orchestrating many of the activities with his customers. Getting agreement on small “asks” from Rea progressively turned into agreement on larger “asks.” By gaining incremental commitment each step of the way, Rea was able to make requests that would help him navigate through the customer organization as an insider, not a vendor. 

 

Rea’s customers told him that his approach was professional and helped him gain their trust over time. To his customers, Rea was functioning more like a consultant than a salesperson. This experience was invaluable and led this project-manager-turned-sales-professional to winning multiple deals. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will cover more about the Action Roadmap in the next briefing.

 

141 Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 7

Run Your Sales Cycle Like a Project 7

 

Handling objections to the Action Roadmap

 

If your customer pushes back or resists this planning approach: 

– Indicate to your sponsor that your selling team is ready, willing, and able to invest resources on this initiative. 

– Emphasize that in order to proceed, you need a general agreement on the approach and timeline.

– Explain that other customers appreciate this structured approach and it has worked very well for them. 

– Reinforce that you can jointly agree to stop the evaluation at any time if your solution will not achieve the expected benefits or if the customer priorities change. 

– Stress that to authorize allocating your selling team’s time and to avoid wasting your customer’s time, it is important to get a mutual understanding of what is laid out in the Roadmap. 

 

Working through the Action Roadmap with your customer is a great way to qualify your opportunity: 

 

– You and your customer can adjust the plan or halt all activities when investing more effort will not lead to a desired outcome for either party. 

 

– If the customer still refuses to accept your use of the Action Roadmap or disagrees on the main elements, you need to seriously question whether it makes sense for you to continue your sales cycle. Perhaps you can jointly agree to scale down the events. If not, this raises a red flag and could jeopardize your ability to build a win-win relationship.

 

You might conclude that you won’t be able to forge a mutually beneficial relationship with your customer. Or you might determine that you will be unable to win. At that point, the best decision might be to just end the activities and walk away from the opportunity. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will cover more about the Action Roadmap in the next briefings.