“So you’ve got to figure that out and find out what’s the outcome and then deliver the outcome as opposed to a feature benefit or solve the pain.” – Sharleen Vincent in today’s Tip 495
How do you understand business?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today I wanted to share another clip from my most recent Sales Success Stories podcast interview that we released earlier this week with Sharleen Vincent who is Workfront’s top strategic client executive. Here’s what she said:
Sharleen Vincent: Well, I didn’t know anything about when I first started. I didn’t really know anything about businesses. You know, I was being taught, here’s the product, here’s the feature, here’s the benefit, sell the sizzle, not the steak. You know, that kind of thing. I really wasn’t being taught about the business. It was just I was being taught how to go sell my product and what pains it solved, make someone sicker than they are so that you can heal them, those kinds of things. But I really wasn’t being taught about business. That really probably started for me when I had that training on, a CEO coming in and educating us on looking at an annual report and at that point, you couldn’t get all of the information at your fingertips like you can now. But just really going and learning about business.
At 22 right out of college in a sales job, you probably don’t know a whole lot about it. They don’t teach a whole lot about it in college. At least they didn’t when I went. You know what I mean? So unless you’ve gone on and gotten your MBA, you start to, I think probably get more experience. For me it was just life experience with that too is starting to understand something happened in their business or is happening in their business, which is driving why my product may or may not be a fit. And then leveraging that and understanding that and understanding why that’s going to be important to that executive because you understand his business.
You know, I listened to Truong and he said, you’ve got to know their business better than they almost know it. That’s probably, I think the hardest thing about being an enterprise or a strategic account rep. It’s really going in there and saying, how can I get in here and how can I learn this so that I bring value? Because most of them only want to meet with you if you’re there to one, tell them something that they didn’t know. You know? I mean, you got to find that. What is it that they don’t know? You know, they’ll pay consultants, which we all want to be, right? We want to be consultative salespeople. When you can provide an offer and tell them something that they don’t know or give them something they didn’t know they needed, or maybe they knew they needed it but they didn’t have the powerful why about the benefit or the impact or the outcome that was going to give them. And that’s important.
And you know, now it’s more about you’re driving toward the outcome. You’re not saying, you know, well, what pain are you in or what’s the challenges? It’s my first question with people is generally, why are you meeting with me? What’s the outcome that you’re looking for? What is driving down from your C level? Because I might not be in front of the C level. What’s driving down? What are they trying to accomplish? Because you know, there’s really pretty much three main things a company’s trying to do. They’re trying to increase revenue, reduce costs, and maybe improve customer satisfaction.
So generally everything they’re doing is to do one of those three things, you know? So you gotta try to figure out where that is and then figure out what are their initiatives they’ve put in place and what are they trying to accomplish. What’s the outcome? You know, are they trying to increase revenue by 200 billion or 200 million or 200,000 or are they trying to make a process much more efficient so they can reduce costs? It’s all about one of those three things generally. Or they’re trying to improve their brand customer SAT. So you’ve got to figure that out and find out what’s the outcome and then deliver the outcome as opposed to a feature benefit or solve the pain. Solving the pain comes with delivering the outcome.
Scott Ingram: This clip has really got me thinking. We talk a lot about sales tips on this show, obviously, but part of being great at B2B sales is understanding business as well. I’m thinking about putting together a webinar or another resource to talk about how to read an annual report or 10-K from a sales perspective. If that would be of interest, would you send me a note to [email protected] and let me know. That’ll also help remind me to actually do it if there’s enough interest. And as always you’ll find more at DailySales.Tips/495
Then be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!