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Sales

Sales are the lifeblood of every company, but only special people succeed in the modern markets of today. Many business people, however, completely underestimate the role of the sales professional.


Prospecting

  • Would you like more leads?

  • Do you want to get in front of more prospects?

  • Do you want to be sure you are getting to the best qualified prospects?

  • Do you want to keep the pipeline topped up, even when other priorities demand attention?

Prospecting, is the "hard yards" of the selling process. Generating new leads is a challenging and difficult task, which, if not approached in the right way easily becomes tedious, dispiriting and even intimidating. 


Nothing is more corrosive and dispiriting to a sales organisation than a dearth of prospects. When the flow of leads is insufficient, there is a strong temptation to start chasing business which should be qualified out. If we succumb, more sales effort is needed to close each deal and the win rate and margin falls. Soon we are locked into a downward spiral of greater effort for less result until the day dawns when there are no prospects left at all. 


In this ExecKIT® module we show you how to turn prospecting from a dreaded pursuit into a rewarding, automatic process that runs itself, generating a healthy and consistent flow of new leads. The module covers

  • Building a suspect list

  • Researching the suspect

  • Creating "offers of value"

  • Making "offers of value"

  • Managing the prospecting plan

  • Improving the prospecting process

Qualification

  • Do you want to improve your win rate?

  • Do you ever waste time bidding for business you cannot win?

  • Do you want to sell more, bigger deals?

  • Do you ever take on business you live to regret?

Qualification is an art as well as a science. Deciding whether or not a prospect will actually spend money, and can be induced to spend it with you, depends on a shrewd reading of a number of interrelated and complicated factors. 


The cost of making a complex proposal is substantial and can easily cost up to fifteen per cent of the contract value; and the cost is the same whether you win or lose. 


Poor qualification leads to losses, but there are times when you simply must fight even if competition looks tough. You must also consider carefully whether, even if winnable, you really do want a piece of business. Does the business help move you towards your strategic goals or are there any unacceptable risks? What can you do now to inform the qualification decision or increase the win chance? 


Few organisations conduct a qualification process that rigorously exposes potential problem areas, assesses the costs and benefits of bidding, and focuses sufficient wisdom on this critical decision. 


This ExecKIT® module helps you implement simple disciplines to increase the effectiveness of your qualification process, drive up the sales efficiency and increase the win chance. 


Sales campaign planning

  • Do you have important sales campaigns you need to win?

  • Do you want to improve your win rate?

  • Do you want to beat the competition time and time again?

The modern market place is fiercely competitive and for most significant purchases, buyers will set up a process to evaluate competitive proposals from likely suppliers. Companies that want to grow must take on their competitors and beat them, not just once, but time and time again. In a competitive market you must fight and you must win.

 
But winning is tough. With very rare exceptions a great deal of effort must be expended, experience and clear thinking exercised, and pain endured before serious business is won. 


Given that you have decided to compete, you must believe that you can win. Now you need to put your reputation on the line and prove it. This ExecKIT® module helps you to plan a sales campaign plan that will devastate competition. 


Business case development


In today's maturing markets, customers are reluctant to invest unless they have a persuasive business case to convince them to act. Assisting the customer to construct the business case provides a great opportunity to help the customer, increase the perception of the value of your offering, as well as providing the impetus to get a positive decision made. 


If you understand the customer's business case in detail you can also ensure your proposals are tuned as well as possible to maximise the business return. However, building a business case that convinces the customer can be difficult. For a start, what will the customer treat as a hard benefit? What value will she ascribe to soft benefits? What methods does her company use for evaluating business cases? What of all that baffling financial speak such as Internal Rates of Return, Net Present Value, Payback Periods and Hurdle Rates? How do they like to see their business cases presented? 


This ExecKIT® module provides you with a step-by-step process to build and present a business case that will persuade the customer to act. 


Solution design


The process of solution design is a highly specialised activity requiring an explicit understanding of your customer's stated requirements, your company's offerings, and broad and specific technical knowledge. 


However, that is only half of the story. Not only must the solution match explicitly stated customer requirements, but a good solution will generally respond to the customer's true business need (rather than the one that has been expressed) and provide the basis for a well-differentiated sales case. It may also need to respond to the personal and business agendas of the key decision-makers. 


This ExecKIT® module enables you to provide a decision support framework to enable your teams to come up with solutions that are not only technically adequate, but optimised from a sales and political point of view. 


Bid planning


The production of a complex bid (or a response to RFI or RFP) involving more than two people can be a complex project in itself and unless you treat it as such, at best many hours will be wasted and at worst your proposal will be found wanting and business will be lost. 


In order to produce a proposal for a customer, a great deal of work must be done. Once a decision has been made to bid for a particular piece of business, an appropriate process for bid planning will ensure the following

  • Agreed roles and responsibilities during the bid process

  • Responsibility for solution development with well understood outputs

  • Timetable for proposal production and review

  • Agreement of dispatch process

  • Selling activities to occur during proposal production phase

This ExecKIT® module helps you create a reliable way to produce timely, high quality proposals. 


Pricing

  • Are you sure you are pricing to maximise your competitiveness?

  • Are you ensuring your margins are as high as they can be?

  • Are you charging for the true value you provide?

Pricing is a critical part of any company's activities. Charge too little and you imperil the profitability or even the viability of your company. Charge too much and disaster can arise from reduced customer satisfaction, lost business and collapsing orders. 


To set the right price first you must establish a business model where product and service costs are defined and pricing assumptions are made and validated, and the market sized. This will establish whether or not you have a viable proposition and what the pricing parameters should be. 


You then need to consider the various methods of pricing: cost plus; value pricing; market pricing; risk reward models and so on. You also need to look at ways of pricing. Are you maximising the value of the different components of your offer? 


These considerations will establish your "list prices" and you then need to consider variables such as volume discount and discretionary elements. Clear thought must then be given to the process by which a final price is determined before a proposal is given to a customer. 


This ExecKIT® module helps you to set the right price. 


Risk assessment

  • Do you want to ensure your delivery projects never overrun?

  • Do you want to make it easier to sell, because you have a reputation for solid delivery?

  • Do your projects ever cost you more than you expected?

  • Do you want to make troubled projects a thing of the past?

Only by implementing the very best risk assessment and planning processes can companies improve their delivery process, their customer satisfaction and their profits. 


Risks occur in every single commercial project and only by assessing these risks during the sales cycle can they be explicitly identified and actions planned or taken to contain them. The technique of risk assessment and planning brings rapid and substantial benefit, but can be hard to implement without management determination, a "customer care" culture and the necessary procedures, processes and skills. 


This ExecKIT® module shows you how to implement a rigorous risk assessment and planning process that will make troubled projects a thing of the past, leading to big improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction and profits. 


Proposal production

  • Do you want to produce proposals that win?

  • Do you want to be sure that your proposal documents give you a competitive edge?

  • Do you wonder if your proposal production could be more efficient?

Many tenders are won long before the proposal document is delivered, but if you are in a genuinely competitive race the quality of the proposal document can be decisive. A proposal must first be a sales document with a clear and compelling sales message structured to sell your product or solution. It must be accurate, comprehensive, concise and look good and be consistently branded. In some situations it may need to be a legal offer, which the customer can accept; or it just be may be a "beauty parade" document designed to differentiate you from the competition. 


This ExecKIT® module helps you to ensure you use best practice in the writing of proposals, improve their quality and increase the efficiency of the proposal production process. It looks at:

  • the importance of context

  • the audience

  • the document structure

  • business conventions

  • structure

  • communicating the sales message

  • cosmetics, including good graphics

  • document production

  • setting up a reusable copy library

  • standards for the use of business English.

This ExecKIT® module helps you to implement best practice proposal planning and writing, giving you the edge against the competition. 


Sales negotiation

  • Do you often get caught in a price squeeze before a deal is signed?

  • Do you sometimes wonder if you could have held out for more?

  • Do you ever think you could have found a better deal all round?

Buyers are increasingly sophisticated and unless your negotiation preparation, awareness and skills are top notch, you run the risk of closing only deals that are marginally profitable, unprofitable; or no deals at all. Whilst the parties in a negotiation need to secure each other's agreement, there is invariably conflict of interest as well. It is this schizophrenic mixture of mutual and conflicting interests which gives negotiation its own distinctive frisson! 


This ExecKIT® module helps you to negotiate the best deals by achieving a broad agreement between the parties about the terms of business: the deliverables; the price; the warranty period and so on. 


Contract negotiation


Busy executives today can be tempted to relinquish control of contractual negotiations to legal advisors, which (as sure as night follows day) leads to expensive, protracted and unproductive wrangles with customers over contract terms. 


Whilst it is necessary to seek legal advice about changes to your standard contracts, a commercial function must maintain control over the business decisions that are made during contract negotiation. This presupposes of course, that this commercial function is responsible for the profitable delivery of the contract as a whole, and not paid only on the achievement of the sale. 


Using this ExecKIT® module, ChangeBEAT works with you to ensure your contract negotiation process is working effectively and if necessary, sets up a commercial function charged with arbitrating between sales (and the business pressure to do a deal), and legal counsel whose responsibility and duty is to ensure that only a minimum of risk is accepted. 


Order acceptance

  • Do you ever wonder if you have really started work on a project?

  • Are delivery sometimes in the dark about what they are supposed to provide?

  • Do you ever wonder who authorised work to start?

After a long and draining sales campaign, when we finally hear the news of victory it can lead to euphoria. The tension and sleepless nights of the previous weeks melt away. Now, if ever, is the chance to pat ourselves on the back and celebrate.

 
But hang on a minute. What exactly have we won, and how sure are we that the prize is secure? It is precisely at this intoxicating moment that simple but far-reaching commercial mistakes are made, setting the project on the path to failure before it has even started. 


Order acceptance is the process of deciding to start work (recognising that a contract is not always agreed at this point) identifying, understanding and managing commercial risks and ensuring that a formal handover to the delivery function takes place


This ExecKIT® module helps you to implement a sound order acceptance process. 

How to generate new leads successfully
Don't chase the wrong business!
The Battlefield
Design a sales campaign that will devastate the competition
Good solutions respond to a true business need
Plan a bid as you would any other important project
An accurate pricing model is critical
The Cinderella of Team Selling Skills
Improve your profits through accurate risk assessment
A professional, well-written proposal is essential to win business
Learn to negotiate the best deals!
Identify and understand the commercial risks