Think back to the last client meeting you either lead or observed as a sales leader. If your experience is at all like a client meeting I recently observed; it went something like this:
Sales Observer: “So how do you think the meeting went, do you think this is a good opportunity?”
Salesperson: (usually with a high five) “Did you see how engaged they were, I think we are going to close this opportunity if we can meet their budget and provide a custom solution.”
Anyone that has spent more than 15 minutes looking at the research from CEB Challenger might have a few follow-up questions to the salesperson’s comment. The most difficult part of this conversation is where do I start my coaching? What is the most relevant feedback I can give which is consistent with our company’s sales methodology?
While is it is critical to help guide this optimistic sales rep; it is also vital to use this as a teaching moment not only for this specific opportunity but their entire pipeline. Is your organization using clearly defined Verifiers to benchmark a client’s engagement in the sales process?
“The reaction you want at this stage is for your Mobilizer to have a strong opinion on how their colleagues view the problem, even how they perceive potential solutions to the problem. It should be clear how the problem is impacting various stakeholders’ KPIs and broader organizational metrics. Once you’ve attained these progress verifiers, attention can be shifted to the third stage of Commercial Coaching.” (The Challenger Customer, p. 178).
Sample Client Verifiers (agreed by both salesperson and client)
- The Client’s budget is in the range of a solution
- The client has responded and given feedback to initial plan
- Possible roadblocks and objections have been discussed
- There are clear next steps
- All relevant stakeholders have been identified and are engaged
Your company’s Verifiers will most certainly look different based on your industry; the key is developing a list of 10-15 that align with your organization’s sales stages. How does your sales team know when to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2, and what are their specific benchmarks that must be achieved?
Do you have this mapped out for your sales organization? If not, give me a call, and I’d be happy to discuss in more detail.
Steve Buergey, Owner ClientWon