As you know, the sales process is always in motion. From identifying and qualifying new customers and opportunities to getting their interest, educating them and understanding their goals, objectives and problems; from building a pipeline to creating a value proposition, closing the sale and taking care of new and current customers while taking appropriate action items within each stage of your sales cycle — it is always in motion.
If you read my article on Process Automation 2017 and Beyond, I asked you to think about some new ideas that you could incorporate into your sales process for 2018. What actions did you take to make a positive impact on revenues within your territory, area or business? Why? I would love to hear from you.
I expanded on this with my article called Prospecting With a Purpose. I received much feedback on this one. What techniques did you incorporate to prospect more effectively? In that article, we defined traditional MFP opportunities as minerals, MPS opportunities as fossils and Value Add Solutions as precious metals. Today article focuses on steps you can take to find those precious metals, Value Add Solutions.
Our channel is an ecosystem of partners, tools and platforms you can leverage to be more efficient. As you work to understand your customers’ ecosystems, you might find ways to help them connect the dots. This step starts with a different process for your current customers’ quarterly or periodic business reviews. Instead of just focusing on service history and downtime, incorporate discussions around business goals, business objectives and business initiatives that your current customers have for 2018.
This approach to understanding your customers will have a positive impact on how they view you as a partner in their business. In a real-life example, I was with a rep preparing to visit a current customer. A few hours before the meeting, I asked her one question: Did you put together a profile on who this customer is? She knew the customer and what their business did because she sold them MFP hardware (minerals); however, that’s about as far as it went. We spent 10 minutes on their website and took notes, quickly putting together a customer profile.
Here’s a sample of what we found to discuss. They were established in the late 1940s as a family owned business starting with a philosophy of listening to their customers. Today, they are a certified women-owned business with focus on the customer experience, quality and stewardship. They even have a product donation program that their customers can apply for. See where this is going? We quickly put this down on one slide to show the customer we did our research on them. That was the only slide we showed that day. As we started talking about them, their programs and history, we started learning about the tremendous growth they were having over the past few years. This growth was impacting change within their business. The third-generation daughter was taking over and she was looking for ideas and tools to be more automated and efficient. Yes, here’s an opportunity to close for a deeper dive into this process knowing that we had “value add tools” that could help with all types of automation!
My sales rep stayed behind to have a quick conversation with her customer. As she walked out, she said to me, “This is the first time in several years that they looked at me and my company as more than just a copier company.” That day, we closed for an assessment and found an opportunity to add a precious metal (value add solution) to her pipeline eventually selling a process automation tool for accounts payable/accounts receivable automation.
Solutions solve problems. They can be as simple as a finisher if your customer is manually sorting sets of documents (old school) and as sophisticated as improving a business process, eliminating a manual process or securing their network infrastructure. The bottom line is aligning with your customers initiatives by having open dialogue about them and focusing on what’s important to your customers proving that you have the ability to go beyond the box with value add solutions in 2018.