Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization
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Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization

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    Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization Presentation Transcript

    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 TOPO   TOPO   Sales  and  The  Buyer:     Why  You  Should  Let  the  Buyer  Design  Your   Sales  Organization   A  TOPO  white  paper  for  marketing  and  sales  professionals     Learn  more:   www.topohq.com   blog.topohq.com  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Why  you  should  let  the  buyer  design  your  sales   organization   Every  company  needs  to  map  their  target  buyer’s   buying  experience  before  they  make  any  decisions   about  the  design  of  their  sales  and  marketing   function.  TOPO  came  to  this  realization  as  we  worked   with  clients  over  the  last  year  to  solve  vexing   challenges  in  their  sales  and  marketing  organizations.   A  client  would  come  to  us  and  ask  a  critical  sales  or   marketing  question.  While  we  offered  best  practices   and  advice  to  the  client,  most  of  these  questions   were  best  answered  by  the  client’s  buyers.  For   example,  marketers  would  often  ask:  “What  content   types  do  buyers  prefer?”  or  “What  content  will  really   convert?”  The  more  questions  we  heard,  the  more   we  realized:  The  buyer  is  the  best  person  to  answer   these  questions:   The  buying  experience  will  tell  you  how  your  buyers   want  to  buy.  This  insight  will  allow  you  to  properly   design  your  sales  and  marketing  organization  to   deliver  the  buying  experience  your  buyers  want.  As  a   matter  of  fact,  our  research  has  found  that  the   buying  experience  is  more  important  than  product   and  price.  Homayoun  Hatami,  co-­‐leader  of  the  Sales   Growth  practice  at  McKinsey,  provides  his  take  on   the  importance  of  providing  a  buyer-­‐centric  sales   experience:   “Sophisticated  customers  are  not   interested  in  traditional  sales   models.  They  demand  faster,   more  seamless,  and  even   enjoyable  sales  experiences.”   Today’s  post  is  about  designing  your  sales  strategy   and  process  based  on  an  in-­‐depth  understanding  of  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 your  buyer  and  how  they  buy.  In  most  cases,  the   sales  leader  wants  to  build  their  organization  and   processes  based  on  their  past  experiences.  While   there  is  tremendous  value  in  proven  experience,   often  times  the  “proven”  sales  methodology  is  forced   upon  everyone,  especially  the  buyer.  It’s  not  that  the   sales  leader  is  wrong,  it’s  that  your  buyer  is  right.   Sales  leaders  who  craft  their  sales  process  based  on   their  target  buyer’s  preferred  buying  experience  are   typically  more  successful  than  others.  As  Dave  Stein   from  ES  Research  Group  says:  “The  best  sales  leaders   understand  that  they  have  to  have  the  right  people,   the  right  behaviors,  the  right  technology,  the  right   coaching  and  infrastructure  to  be  able  to  sell  how   their  customers  want  to  buy”.                          
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Sales  process  design   The  most  common  questions  regarding  sales  process   design  are  “what  sales  processes  have  you  seen   work?”  or  “do  you  have  any  sales  process  models  we   can  use?”  Sometimes  there  isn’t  even  a  question,  it’s   a  statement:  “Here  is  the  sales  process  I  used  at  XXX   and  we  grew  the  business  from  0  to  100  million.  Let’s   implement  it.”  The  truth  is  that  the  most  effective   sales  process  should  be  designed  to  support  your   buyer’s  preferred  buying  process.  In  other  words,  the   real  question  organizations  should  be  asking  is:  “How   do  we  organize  our  sales  process  to  support  how  our   buyers  want  to  buy.”   Your  buyer  will  go  through  a  series  of  steps  to  buy   your  solution.  The  buying  experience  map  will  detail   each  step.  Then  you  design  your  sales  process  so   your  sales  people  can  help  facilitate  the  buying   process.  Dave  Stein:  “Evaluate  and  assess  how  the   selling  process  overlaps  with  the  buying  process.  If  an   organization  finds  that  60  percent  of  the  sales   process  maps  to  the  buying  process,  then  the  other   40  percent  is  a  gap  that  needs  to  be  addressed.”   Some  companies  create  a  completely  different  set  of   sales  processes  based  on  the  type  of  buyer.  Alex   Shootman  of  Eloqua  has  a  great  perspective  on  this.   His  sales  process  was  not  only  built  to  support  the   buying  experience,  they  actually  had  different  sales   processes  for  each  buyer  persona.   Another  example  is  of  a  company  who  sold  to  both   the  business  decision  maker  and  IT.  These   organizational  silos  had  completely  different  buying   processes.  The  business  decision  maker  was  an   evangelistic  sale.  They  weren’t  used  to  buying   technology  so  the  process  involved  helping  them  first   understand  that  they  needed  to  address  this  issue   and  then  actually  helping  them  with  their  internal   buying  process.  IT  was  a  group  of  professional   buyers.  They  knew  how  to  buy  technology  and  if  they   could  convince  IT,  the  deals  moved  faster  but  were  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 smaller.  IT  bought  on  features  and  functionality  and   required  a  completely  different  selling  process.  With   both  examples,  the  buying  process  decided  the   selling  process  with  incredible  results.        
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Product  and  messaging  design   Every  sales  team  is  trying  to  find  that  sales  messaging   that  will  resonate.  Sales  messaging  is  a  roulette-­‐ wheel  guessing  game  for  many  organizations.   Marketing  spends  lots  of  resources  coming  up  with   what  the  company  believes  is  the  best  overall   company  message  and  it  doesn’t  convert  with   buyers.    Most  companies  who  cracked  the  sales   messaging  code  do  so  by  trial  and  error  and  that  is  an   expensive  way  to  go-­‐to-­‐market.  Instead,  build  your   sales  messaging  based  on  direct  feedback  from  your   buyer  and  do  so  for  each  buyer  in  the  decision   making  process.  Not  only  that,  each  micro-­‐step  the   buyer  takes  in  their  buying  experience  will  require  it’s   own  set  of  messaging  sound  bytes.   For  example,  a  status  quo  prospect  is  not  ready  for  a   product  pitch  and  will  need  messaging  that  helps   them  understand  that  they  may  have  a  problem  or   they  can  do  better.  On  the  other  end  of  the   spectrum,  a  prospect  that  is  currently  evaluating   vendors  will  need  a  more  product-­‐centric   message.    Each  step  has  it’s  own  set  of  messages   both  of  which  are  based  on  who  the  buyer  is  and   where  they  are  in  the  buying  process.   Also,  each  buyer  will  require  his  or  her  own  set  of   sales  messaging.  We  recently  met  with  an  executive   who  told  us  how  as  his  company  moved  to  selling  to   marketing,  the  sales  reps  used  the  same  approach   and  as  a  result,  progress  has  been  slow.  The  company   failed  to  realize  that  marketing  was  a  completely   different  target  buyer.  Marketers  have  their  own   unique  buying  process.  Marketing  leaders  want   shorter  decks  without  a  features  and  functionality   discussion.  Instead  the  want  more  information  on   what  the  solution  is  and  what  it  will  do  for  their   organization.  They  certainly  don’t  want  a  Sales   Engineer  delivering  a  technology  presentation.  A   critical  step  in  a  go-­‐to-­‐market  design  is  a  thorough   understanding  of  your  target  buyers’  preferred   buying  experience  and  this  example  highlights  this   point.  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Organizational  design   The  buying  experience  map  will  tell  you  who  should   interact  with  buyers  and  when.  The  first  question  we   get  from  founders  or  newly  minted  sales  leaders  are   about  organizational  design.  The  critical  decision  is   not  just  what  you  want  to  do  as  company  (product,   market,  fit),  but  it’s  how  the  buyers  want  to  buy.  At   the  Sales  2.0  conference  a  couple  years  ago,  Jim  Cyb   from  Zendesk,  a  leading  cloud  help-­‐desk  application   provider,  talked  about  how  they  had  customer   service  and  help  desk  professionals  on  the  sales  floor   supporting  the  sales  team.  Zendesk  had  realized  that   their  buyers  preferred  to  interact  with  their  peers  in   the  sales  process  and  organized  themselves  to   support  that  preferred  buying  experience.  This  is  one   of  my  favorite  examples  of  out-­‐of-­‐the-­‐box  sales   organizational  design  that  wasn’t  done  just  to  be   revolutionary,  but  was  done  because  that  is  what   their  buyers  wanted.   Inside  sales  is  one  of  the  hottest  trends  in  sales   management  right  now.  Many  organizations  are   attracted  to  what  they  perceive  as  lower-­‐cost,  easier-­‐ to-­‐manage  inside  sales  people  versus  the  expensive,   demanding  direct  reps.  Product  and  price  play  a  huge   part  in  deciding  whether  to  build  an  inside  sales   team,  but  the  most  important  factor  is  whether  the   buyers  want  to  buy  this  way.  Inside  sales  guru  Trish   Bertuzzi:  “The  key  for  sales  leaders  considering  inside   sales  is  to  look  at  the  buyer  variables  that  will  impact   their  ability  to  be  successful.  How  do  their  buyers   want  to  buy?  Do  their  buyers  utilize  online  resources   to  educate  themselves?  Do  their  buyers  feel   comfortable  communicating  over  phone  or   email?  Can  their  buyers  be  educated  over  phone  or   online?”   We  recently  spoke  with  VP  of  Sales  about  his  former   company’s  failed  experiment  with  inside  sales.  The   CEO  was  drawn  to  the  cost  savings  and  potential   scale  of  inside  sales.  They  created  a  cheaper  version   of  the  product  and  hired  10+  inside  sales  reps.  The  VP   of  Sales:  “He  never  considered  that  our  target  buyer  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 actually  preferred  to  spend  more  to  have  the  hands-­‐ on  buying  and  onboarding  experience.”  Ultimately,   the  inside  sales  experiment  failed  because  the   decision  to  move  sales  inside  was  what  the  company   wanted  not  to  do  with  little  regard  for  what  their   buyers  wanted.              
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Sourcing  and  hiring  sales  talent   Once  you  understand  who  the  buyer  is,  who  they   want  to  talk  to,  and  what  it  will  take  to  move  them   from  one  buying  step  to  the  next,  you  can  then   model  your  ideal  hiring  profile.  Bertuzzi:  “There  is  a   big  difference  between  selling  to  the  “C-­‐suite”  or  to   an  application  development  manager.”  The  hiring   profile  then  becomes  one  of  the  key  points  of   leverage  as  you  look  to  scale  the  business.  The  sales   organizations  that  scale  to  greatness  have  often   figured  out  what  type  of  sales  rep  they  need  to   execute.   Mark  Roberge  from  Hubspot  is  a  well-­‐respected   thought  leader  in  sales  management.  His  hiring   practices  have  been  frequently  chronicled.  I  always   point  people  to  his  methodology  as  an  example  of  a   buyer-­‐centric  hiring  profile  that  is  critical  to  a  sales   leaders  growth  strategy.  One  of  the  key  facets  to   Roberge’s  sales  strategy  is  hiring  the  “same  kind  of   sales  person”.  Here  is  his  description  of  how  they   came  to  their  hiring  profile:  “We  need  to  educate   people  over  the  phone  and  literally  convince  them  to   turn  their  sales  and  marketing  process  on  its  head.  To   do  so,  our  sales  team  needs  to  earn  the  prospect’s   trust,  gain  a  deep  understanding  of  the  prospect’s   business  goals,  understand  their  sophistication  with   sales  and  marketing,  and  articulate  an  adoption  plan   of  inbound  marketing  that  aligns  with  the  prospect’s   context…A  demo  of  the  entire  product  would  take   hours  and  would  overwhelm  the  prospect.  Sales  reps   need  to  be  sophisticated  enough  to  tailor  the  demo   to  the  prospect’s  context…[Based  on  this  criteria}  we   started  off  by  writing  down  a  set  of  attributes  that   we  thought  would  be  important,  and  used  these   during  interviews  to  evaluate  candidates.”   The  best  sales  person  at  another  company  may  not   be  the  best  fit  for  your  organization.  While  past   success  must  always  be  a  key  factor  when  hiring  sales   people,  the  other  key  attributes  should  be  based  on   what  type  of  sales  people  can  effectively  interact   with  your  target  buyer(s).  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Sales  enablement   Sales  enablement  is  providing  the  tools  and  training   so  your  sales  people  can  successfully  execute  your   sales  process.  Content  is  a  hot  sales  enablement   topic  and  we  often  get  the  question:  “What  content   works?”  or  “Should  we  build  an  ROI  model?”  The   question  should  have  been:  “What  content  assets   does  my  buyer  need  to  advance  in  the  buying  process   process?”  The  buying  experience  map  will  tell  you   the  content  types  your  buyers  prefer  and  the  topics   that  will  resonate.   We  recently  met  with  an  executive  whose  last   company  targeted  application  developers.  As  part  of   their  original  selling  process,  they  would  push   prospects  to  a  webinar  and  only  small  numbers   signed  up  or  attended.  After  a  more  rigorous  review   of  their  buyer  and  their  preferences,  they  realized   that  a  product  demo  was  the  better  offer.  Their   target  buyer  did  not  want  to  go  to  thought  leadership   webinars.  They  wanted  a  deep  understanding  of  the   capabilities  of  the  product.    The  demo  was  a   breakthrough  content  type  and  they  began  to  get   1000’s  of  attendees  and  revenue  finally  started  to   hockey  stick  (click  here  to  learn  more  about  content   selling).                                      
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Key  sales  activities   Key  activities  are  the  plays  that  sales  people  make  at   each  step  in  the  process.  Key  activities  are  part  of  you   overall  sales  and  marketing  design  and  as  you   probably  have  guessed  by  now  are  best  determined   once  you  understand  what  your  buyers  prefer.  One   example  of  a  key  activity  is  deciding  what  channel  is   best  to  communicate  with  your  buyer  at  a  given   stage.  A  common  question  is  when  to  use  the  phone   versus  email.   Another  example  is  whether  to  use  social  or  not.  It’s   really  not  that  complicated.  If  your  buyers  are  social,   then  you  should  be  social.    At  TOPO  we  sell  to   marketing  and  sales.  We  know  that  many  of  our   buyers  interact  socially  via  Twitter  (marketing)  and   LinkedIn  (sales  and  marketing).  Social  has  proven  to   be  equally  if  not  more  effective  to  reach  prospects   than  the  phone.                                        
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 Metrics  and  optimization   There  are  a  number  of  sales  metrics  that  can  be  used   across  most  businesses  such  as  retroactive  metrics   like  revenue  generated  or  closed/won,  etc.  Metrics   are  really  powerful  when  they  can  tell  you  where  you   are  BEFORE  you  close  the  business.  While  you  can’t   ask  the  buyer  which  metrics  you  should  use  to  track   them,  you  do  want  to  use  the  buying  experience  map   to  determine  what  the  true  milestones  are  in  the   buying  process  that  you  should  focus  on.  By  focusing   in  on  the  right  buyer  milestones,  you  can  better   manage  your  sales  people  and  understand  where  you   truly  stand  in  the  process.   For  instance,  at  TOPO,  an  absolutely  critical  step  in   our  customer’s  buying  process  is  called  the   stakeholder  meeting.  Our  first  meeting  is  a  critical   first  step  and  we  track  first  meetings.  However,  our   enterprise  buyers  cannot  move  to  their  next  buying   step  until  we  have  a  bigger  meeting  with  all  the   stakeholders.  The  first  meeting-­‐to-­‐stakeholder   meeting  conversion  rate  is  a  critical  metric  for  us  as  it   has  the  biggest  impact  on  pipeline  acceleration  and   ultimately  closed  business.  Because  we  track  these   metrics,  we  are  able  to  optimize  the  plays   (messaging,  champion  content)  our  sales  team  runs   in  that  very  specific  and  critical  point  in  the  buying   process.   Here  is  another  example  of  a  company  successfully   managing  metrics  based  on  their  buyers’  buying   process.  A  cloud  software  company  offers  both   demos  and  trials  during  their  sales  and  marketing   process.  Initially,  they  only  tracked  their  trial  metrics.   The  demo  was  just  an  activity  that  was  tracked  but   not  a  critical  milestone.  After  examining  their  buyers,   they  determined  that  their  larger  company  buyer   personas  did  not  do  a  trial.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  they   preferred  the  demo.  This  revelation  caused  major   renovations  to  the  sales  process,  messaging,  sales   plays,  and  it  became  a  critical  metric  to  track  and   optimize  for  going  forward.  
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013   Sales  technology   There  are  many  reasons  sales  technology   implementations  fail.  A  lack  of  training  and  product   ease  of  use  are  good  examples  of  this.  However,   another  major  reason  is  that  the  technology  is  not   relevant  to  supporting  your  interactions  with  your   target  buyer  (This  is  not  true  for  all  technology.  For   example,  compensation  management  is  internally   focused).  Sales  technology  is  a  very  popular  topic   right  now  and  sales  leaders  always  want  to  hear   about  the  latest  and  greatest  application.  Frankly,  a   lot  of  the  innovations  in  the  sales  technology  space   are  very  exciting.  Choosing  the  right  technology  to   support  your  sales  team  is  one  of  the  key  factors  to   consider  as  you  design  your  buyers’  buying   experience.   After  you  to  determine  each  step  the  buyer  will  take   during  their  buying  process,  then  you  will  determine   your  sales  process.  Once  you  have  built  your  sales   process,  only  then  should  you  determine  what  tools   are  needed.  For  example,  I  spoke  with  a  sales   operations  person  at  a  startup  where  the  VP  of  Sales   wanted  to  implement  an  elaborate  quoting   application  because  he  had  used  this  application  in   his  previous  position.  Their  buyers  are  IT  managers   who  want  simple  and  easy  buying  experiences.   Product  management  understood  this  about  the   buyer  and  created  a  downloadable  cloud  product,   but  clearly  the  VP  of  Sales  had  not.        
    • Sales and The Buyer: Why You Should Let the Buyer Design Your Sales Organization © TOPO 2013 TOPO We  help  our  clients  design  and  deliver   great  buying  experiences.  Why?  Because   companies  that  deliver  great  buying   experiences  grow  2X  faster  than  those   that  don’t.     www.topohq.com   blog.topohq.com   Contact  TOPO:   Craig  Rosenberg   650-­‐630-­‐3321   craig@topohq.com