If there’s too much anxiety, disappointment, disconnection, blame and short-term thinking within your sales organization – or within your own personal sales career – you’re not alone. But the answer isn’t better management or oversight or organization. It’s leadership. From everyone.
Atlantis. El Dorado. Camelot. Brigadoon. Xanadu. Let’s add one more mythical place to the list.
Top of Mind.
When I train and coach digital sellers, one key building block is what I call Sellers’ Intent. In short, what’s the point of the sales call you’re about to have, and what precisely do you want the customer to actually DO as a result of it? If the answers here are soft, retiring or ambivalent, the whole enterprise is hamstrung – if not doomed – from the start.
I’m going to do a presentation on our capabilities and why we’re a good choice for them. That way we’ll be top of mind when they’re working on their next plan.
There is no top of mind with media planning and investment teams. They’re paid to execute existing budgets and act on immediate needs. They’re focused on what needs to be transacted in the next six weeks. If you’re not filling that order and asking for that sale, you’re accomplishing nothing. And there’s no room for error in the timing.
Bring your Top of Mind show to higher level agency people (strategy and investment leads, Group VPs) or clients and the outcome – or more accurately, the non-outcome – is even worse. If you’re not solving a strategic marketing or business problem today, then you’re just another qualified option waiting for your shot. And these senior customers are not in the market for one more choice.
You have options. Have a POV on the client’s current direction and a specific plan for how you can compliment or extend it. Disrupt. Be prepared to create new value, new capabilities and budget redirection. Do the work to deserve the client’s commitment and then ask for it. Let them tell you that you’re being too ambitious, trying to do too much for them.
To be a seller is to advance a sale, not to go through safe, predictable motions. To visit a customer only hoping to be Top of Mind for some future hypothetical buy is to suffer the subtle bigotry of low expectations.
You can have more. Your intention, your ambition, your preparation and your actions to earn it are up to you.
Original Illustration by Eric Sands.
Wednesday Aug 9 - Doug Weaver