Strategic selling is like a complex symphony. And the conductor of the orchestra is the sales rep. There are various inflection points in a complex sales cycle and good sales reps understand when they need introduce the appropriate “instruments” within their arsenal (i.e., corporate resources, tools, customer references, etc.) to build to the crescendo and close the deal. Conversely, bad sales reps aren’t able to discern those inflection points, tend to have little to no control over the sales process and fire their proverbial “silver bullets” in to the air hoping it strikes at the heart of the vampire. In an enterprise sales environment, you need to earn the right to meet with power. Continuing on the silver bullet metaphor vein, the vampires are the senior execs responsible for making the decision and controlling the budget. You shouldn’t bring senior or strategic resources from your company in early stage sales meetings or before the right people are in attendance.
Back to the symphony metaphor:-) Good conductors “move” through the musical composition engaging the audience and adeptly building to a crescendo. This is analogous to good sales people driving through the sales process building value, differentiating their solutions and ultimately consummating in a closed deal that was a true collaboration with the customer.
When you have sales people that continually tend to get stuck in stages of the sales process and try to throw resources at the problem (i.e., wasting your silver bullets) in hopes of resolving it; it is a clear signal that you have a sales rep that isn’t capable of managing/driving a strategic sales process.
The picture is the late great conductor of the Boston Pops, Arthur Fiedler. I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college in Boston, so I have fond memories of Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops at the Half Shell every July 4th in Boston.
Here are some helpful strategic sales ‘conductor’ tips:
- Like a great conductor, never try to rush, skip pieces of or cut corners with the ‘concerto’ (sales process)
- Engage your audience and tailor your performance to appeal to different members of the ‘audience’ (buying committee)
- There are parts of the ‘concerto’ (sales process) where it’s okay to be playful and other parts where you need to be serious
- Always focus on where you are in the ‘concerto’ (sales process) and how you need to effectively transition to the next stage
- Make sure the ‘audience’ (buying committee) is aligned with you through your ‘concerto’ (sales process)
- Building to a ‘crescendo’ (value) and ‘closing’ with authority is how you receive a ‘standing ovation’ (successful sale):-)