I assume you believe there is a better way to provide product training or you would not be here.Marketers view the world from 30K feet, salespeople form 3 feet.I will talk about the solution rather than the problem.
There are only 3 keys in my approach but unfortunately they are three difficult keys.
What is common about all of these sales cycle graphics? They all have arrows. The reality is much more complex.
Opportunity management … not the entire sales cycle. Not Planning, evaluating market wealth, assessing competition, etc. And it is not about sales skills … asking open ended questions, overcoming objections, closing skills, etc.
Ticket to play … Transactional
Not always stated. Usually $$$ but not always, Prestige, leading edge, etc.Tie to your value Propositions
Why does the customer value your competition?
Power, Fame Relationship, Safety
The important arrows, Next best actionsTransition to Marketing … Product Training’s job is to support all of these areas
The Leap of Faith belongs to the customer. Product training must help the salesperson eliminate the leap of faith for the customer.
First 2 General, last 2 very specific
This is the single area that most companies need the most help.
Transition to the training
Because the sales cycle does not follow neat arrows from step to step the right information must be available at the right time to get the right results.Right Thinking
PRODUCT TRAINING AND
5th Annual ISA Management Division
Marketing & Sales Summit
Why Product Training Isn’t
Marketers say Salespeople say
Our sales people can’t sell solutions! I don’t go to product training anymore.
They are a waste of time.
Our sales people just push products.
What I want is to understand how to sell
Our sales people are lazy. They never
it, not be a developer/applications
seem to actually study the new
products/services properly. How can they engineer.
expect to sell them?
They don’t give me what I actually want.
Three Keys to Product Sales
Support the Sales Cycle
Think like a salesperson
Eliminate the “Leap of Faith”
Prove the value
Provide Situational Access
Make it easy
Plan to meet the customer’s stated or implied needs
with transactional value
•Needs are the stated or implied “transactional” requirements of the
• Product specifications or performance expectations, pricing, vendor
interactions, support, terms and conditions, warranties, delivery …
•The necessary “Ticket to Play”
•Requires a clear presentation of “transactional” Value Propositions
which meet or exceed stated needs or outweigh shortcomings
•Message delivery to the Target Contact(s) who is most responsible for
assuring needs are met.
Prepare to address the customer’s Performance
Goals with Relationship and Business Impact Value
•Performance Goals are results the customer will experience as a result
of the vendor relationship
• Stated or unstated, may or may not be recognized or anticipated, or be
defined as purchase criteria. Goals can be measureable business impacts
like $$ saved or earned, efficiencies, competiveness … or relationship value
like trust, loyalty, prestige …
•The job of the sales rep is to uncover customer goals and define
potential “impact” connections between him/herself, his/her company
and the customer: Value Proposition
•Requires a clear presentation of “Business Impact” Value Propositions
with message delivery to the Target Contact(s) most responsible for
assuring goals are met.
Find a Competitive position of strength
•Understand the competitors True Value Proposition as perceived by the
customer … not your opinion of the competitor’s strengths and
•What is valued about the current vendor by the company ( the reason for
doing business with them)? What are the Competitive Value Propositions
(CVP) of each competitor? BLOCKS
•Define you “Offsets”
•What are your value propositions (Transactional, Relationship or Business
Impact) which will effectively “offset” each of the CVP’s? COUNTERS
•Rate the Competitor Transactional, Relationship or Business Impact
•Identify the Competitor’s Power Advocates (CPA)
•Make the “Go /No Go” Assessment
Connect to Individual Buyer Requirements &
•Identify Buying Contacts – from Needs evaluation, Goals identification
and Competitive Power Advocate’s analysis
•Define Buyer Roles – Approver, Decision Maker/Final Recommender,
High or Low Influencer, or Observer?
•Evaluate “SOA” Is each contact Supporter, Open or Against?
•Complete a “Development Plan” for each Contact
•Evaluate Your Position – Go/No Go Decision
Obstacles & Solutions
Find Solutions to Critical Obstacles
•Identify the Obstacles
•Customer history and previous satisfaction/dissatisfaction
•Geographic limitations impacting account
contact, service, response, deliveries
•Long-term vendor personnel personal relationships
•Product competiveness and pricing
•Terms and Conditions
•And many others …
•Identify Needed Resources
•Evaluate Your Position – Go/No Go
Eliminate the “Leap of Faith”
Prove the Value
What makes my product valuable?
Gather Your Product Sales Training
Three Questions The Answers
1. What makes my Market Wealth
Product Valuable? Features, Benefits &
2. Who will most likely Value Analysis
find it valuable? Competitive Analysis
3. How do we tell the Contact Analysis
story so that
customers will Proof Index
understand, believe Support Directory
and value my How it Works
product? 10 Questions
Write a Paragraph that describes in general terms the market for which this product
is intended. What product is serving it now? Why is this product a good/better fit?
What is the problem this product solves, etc.?
Write a Paragraph that defines the size of the market. What is the total market size?
How many units would we have to sell to be successful? What is our market
penetration goal? Is there a dynamic in the market that makes this a good time for
our product? Etc.
Now be much more specific. Define the exact profile of the customers most likely to
purchase the product. If the market is Power Generation the specifics might be coal
fired plants with GE generators installed in the 60’s.
Describe the specific applications/problems that the product addresses. Include why
the product is a good fit.
Features, Benefits & Value
What Provide a clear description of the Proof Reference any and all sources of Proof to
feature you plan to discuss and the support the Value created by this Feature.
problem it is meant to solve.
How & Why So What What Next
This is an important writing assignment. You must Here you must explain Here is where you discuss
explain logically – step-by step exactly how and why clearly the value the specifically how to position the
the feature stated above provides value to the customer should expect to feature stated above.
customer. derive from the feature you
stated above. Think of this •Which buying influence is likely to
The salesperson and the customer do not have the as the economic conclusion find it important and why.
detailed understanding of the product that you do. drawn from the “How & •Which competitor will be most
Your goal is to eliminate any “LEAP OF FAITH”. Why”. vulnerable and why.
•What personality traits of buyers or
Your goal is to provide a complete explanation of why The most important “So companies will make them most
this feature is important, unique and compelling What’s” are the ones that attracted.
provide Economic Value and •What are specific “Competitive
that value should be Blocks” that can be derived from
Quantified when possible, this feature.
i.e. 20% faster, 50% better
Some values may be more
subjective, i.e. latest
technology, lowest risk, first
of its kind, etc.
For each Feature that you have analyzed and determined that it has Unique and
Compelling Value as compared to the competition describe a Block (strength) that could
be set with a customer:
1.) Describe the Block.
2.) Name the Competitor(s) who would be susceptible.
3.) Name the Buying Influence(s) who would have an interest in this particular Block.
For each potential Block (strength) that you identify describe the most likely counter that
the competition will present to offset that block.
Identify potential Blocks (strengths) that the competition might set against us:
1.) Describe the block in as much detail as possible
2.) Identify the competitor(s) who might use this particular Block
3.) Name the Buying Influence(s) who would be most susceptible to this particular Block
For each potential Competitive Block (strength) that you identify describe our best offset
against this block.
Complete a form for each potential Buying Influence
Name the Function of the buyers most likely to be involved in the sales cycle for this
product: Plant Manager, Process Engineer, Operator, Technician, Maintenance, etc.
Name the Role(s) each of the Functions will possibly play: Decision Maker, High
Influencer, Approver, Low Influencer, and Observer
Name the Buyer Type(s) each Function will likely be: Economic Buyer, Technical Buyer,
or Directed Buyer
Which Product Function(s) will this buyer most likely value and why?
To complete a successful sale the customer must UNDERSTAND, VALUE and BELIEVE the
information presented about the product.
A proof is any objective data that gives the customer reason to believe that value will be
derived from owning the product.
The best Proofs come from the customer base.
Every company should have a process to identify, document and maintain Proofs for every
Proofs can be Performance Test, References, War Stories, Demonstrations, Documented
The best proofs illustrate quantifiable results that the customer should expect.
Define every available Proof for this product
Proof description and location:
Proof description and location:
Define specifically how support is obtained for this product. Include names, phone numbers,
email addresses etc. when possible:
Pricing and Terms:
Order entry and delivery:
How it Works
The contents of this page will vary depending on the product and the information
available. In most cases it will be a list of links directing the salesperson to the
appropriate information. However in some cases it may require a detailed
explanation of the technology behind the product.
Techs and Specs:
These questions will be the basis of an interview with the subject matter expert (SME).
They should capture the value propositions that a customer must understand, believe
and value to be comfortable owning the product. Here are some sample questions. Of
course the most important part is the clear and concise answers that will help prepare the
salesperson for success
Question 1: What is the primary problem you were addressing with the development of
Question 2: What is the profile of the customers who will find this product most valuable?
Question 3: Exactly what do you see as the major advantages over competitive
Question 4: Which of our competitors do you see as most vulnerable to this product?
Product Sales Training Inde
•Product Marketing Interview
•Why of the Buy
•Features, Benefits and Values
•How Does it Work
Combining Loop and Logic Control
21st Century Product Sales Training by Catalyst Performance Learning
Catalyst Performance Automation
CPA1000 Hybrid Controller
Product Marketing Interview
Why of the Buy
Features, Benefits and Values
Obstacles and solutions
How does it work
Combining Loop and Logic Control
Next Step … Integrate the
Your Product Training was integrated into your
Your Opportunities linked directly to Product
You had contextual real-time access to Product
Sales Training based on the: