Believe me, this is tougher for me to write than for you to read. I’m quitting, effective in two weeks. You deserve to hear why because it affects you directly.
When I joined this company 10 years ago, we were at the forefront of technology adoption. If it was new and would help us operate more efficiently, we would buy it and make a part of our process. Every part of our enterprise got more efficient, more effective, more automated. As a result, our revenues rocketed and our expenses plummeted. We were operating smarter across the board. It was a heady time to be here, and I was proud to be a part of a leading company.
Sometime in the past few years, however, we have slowed down our pace, settled into a comfort zone, and failed to innovate. No area has suffered more than the sales arena. Our sales execs are all very good at what they do, but they lack the latest tools of the trade to blow quarters out. The entire world has discovered ways to automate workflows… except for sales. They’re still playing by rules of engagement set back in the late 1990s. Frankly, we can’t expect to win with a strategy from the last century. And we certainly can’t expect to grow at the rate our investors expect from us.
So, what are we doing wrong and how can we change it? Great question. Here goes. I’ll be brutally honest…what’s the worst thing you can do? Fire me?
At the heart of the matter, we’re still slinging product. I know, that’s what everyone else is doing. But still, if I asked you to jump off a bridge, would you? No. And neither should we as a company. It’s time we got smart about how we sell, how we market, how we do forecasting, how we do territory planning and how we demonstrate value to our prospects and customers.
You know that phrase – go to market – well, that’s so 1995. We can’t just “go to market” anymore; we need to “go to customer.” We need to develop customer-precise value propositions in advance of our first contact with a customer or prospect so we can drive conversations in a provocative way. Not doing this is akin to throwing in the towel, possibly withering on the vine and just floating off into oblivion. That’s not going to help our share value and it’s certainly not going to provide the nest egg I’m hoping for.
In a nutshell, the process we use to build business cases and justification for deals is like watching paint dry. It’s rife with problems.
- Time: Business cases take weeks of hard labor to complete. For fast moving and competitive selling situations, it’s imperative that we find and leverage a smarter, faster system for building sophisticated business cases across the board.
- Resources: It takes an army of folks skilled in various parts of the business to build a single business case.
- Accuracy: Sales professionals left to their own devices are rarely as detailed-oriented as is required to build a formal business case.
- Scale: Our approach does not scale. We’re only producing detailed business cases for about 10% of our deals, and even then that’s pushing the edges of what we can reasonably accomplish. What happens to the rest…the sales professional is left holding the bag and is expected to produce something detailed without the resources necessary to get the job done.
So how do we “go to customer” and fix this mess? We bring DecisionLink on board.
DecisionLink turns value selling into a fully scalable, automated workflow that corresponds to any seller’s sales process and level of proficiency. That’s correct, DecisionLink has cracked the code in bringing value selling to the masses. And best of all, DecisionLink has infused into its cloud-based platform all of the heavy lifting so even the most junior of sales reps can leverage the engine for bigger deals, higher ASPs and lower discounting.
Let’s start at the beginning.
DecisionLink customers report an array of benefits from using its platform. Below are some highlights.
- Improved Marketing: Leveraging DecisionLink greatly impacts how accurate marketing initiatives are primarily through the value mapping process. Prospects that will derive the most value from a particular solution can be targeted first.
- Bigger Pipeline: With better marketing, DecisionLink customers are able to build bigger and more valuable pipelines. They call this the Golden Funnel.
- Higher Quality Deals: With a stronger pipeline, deals have a better chance of closing. Importantly, because DecisionLink bridges the Insight Gap, sales reps are able to deliver high quality, provocative content at the first point of sales engagement and throughout the selling cycle.
- Higher Engagement: Armed with this provocative content, DecisionLink customers garner higher level conversations with senior executives.
- Higher ASPs: By differentiating themselves from their competitors who sling product and compete on price, DecisionLink customers are able to demand higher ASPs with less discounting and higher overall margins. Customers focus on the value of the solution instead of its cost.
- Shorter Sales Cycles: In many cases, DecisionLink shortens the sales cycle because of the automation and speed with which conversations turn to value and away from features and specifications.
- Territory Planning: For companies with large sales teams (greater than 10 sales reps), DecisionLink’s territory planning elements have an enormous impact on efficiency and load balancing among the sales team.
Any of this sound intriguing? It should, because it’s about to be a “gotta have” not a “wanna have.”