When you engage with any new potential client from a sales and business development perspective there are immediate signs we look out for which can impact positively or negatively on the sales performance of a business. Let’s assume you are a B2B business with a focus on new name large complex solutions. Here’s a couple of questions:

·       What is your relationship building time with prospective clients as a percentage of internal reporting / administration time? This is particularly important in these Covid remote times!

·       How often are your sales people engaging with your Managing Board asking them to front / support their sales, tweak SLA’s or costs to facilitate a sale?

·       To what extent do the sales force ask for help from product or technical divisions in refining their propositions?

·       How clear are the salesforce on their USP and to what extent does it match their solution?

All of the above probably look quite subjective or mundane and a world away from standard sales development and qualification processes being employed, however they are an indication of the sales heartbeat of a business. All sales require energy, without it there is no traction through the sales process and no passion displayed to the prospective client that you mean business.

Taking each of the above points in order:

·       A sales person who is primarily driving internal reporting / admin tasks and not the customer relationship is already at a disadvantage, and with COVID remote working coming to the fore, there is a real danger of further internal metrics being demanded. This will swing the management balance even further internally, making it harder to understand the customers needs, build trust or refine a tangible solution. Weak customer relationships come from a lack of understanding of customers and their markets, poor communications, low or misaligned internal support and systems, unrealistic reporting demands and metrics, through to inadequate training and skills in building relationships in an ever changing virtualised market and work place.

·       In our experience, if senior internal sales and managing board contacts are not visible and engaged in complex sales, it is unlikely that the veracity, scale and parameters of the deal are fully understood or stretching enough i.e. the solution could only be targeting the known, safe, low hanging fruit, or conversely should be qualified out as its padding out the sales pipeline with no realistic prospect of closing!

·       Complex solutions are forever evolving and changing in shape, as the market needs change and flex. If the people with their hands on the levers (Product / Technical) are not engaged, "value add" in the solution will potentially be missed.

·       The final point above around USP’s is a key one and is often overlooked when solutions are being developed. It is important to maximise your USP’s focus on a potential sale for competitive advantage, but it will also help sway the decision away from other areas of the scope where you are not so strong. If you don’t play to your strengths you are already selling on the back foot!

At the end of the day, successful sales in the complex solutions environment is a mix of a disciplined approach and passion where all the available resources (physical and soft) are systematically brought to bear. Energy when focused and targeted properly will maximise your sales conversion rates!

If you would like help in fine tuning your sales teams to maximise their effectiveness, please drop us a note and we will be in contact: / 44 1737 457745

Please look out for our post on building relationships in these COVID times…

Wishing you good selling!

Above image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay