For companies with a good foothold in the marketplace that are targeting growth and dealing with sales process gaps, the B2B sales landscape can be downright cruel. Disruption is negating formerly effective approaches by the day and you don’t have the luxury of throwing whole armies of reps at the market who are all backed by billions in brand equity and have instant credibility wherever they go.
This is where a sales coach or consultant will ultimately fail you: they simply won’t be engaged long enough to help you with all the culture, process and technology tinkering required to be an agile sales player.
Agile methodologies have been widely adopted across many industries for a reason: they reduce risk and cost while getting you to market faster. Your sales and marketing process shouldn’t be any different.
We have found ongoing success in tying the “minimum viable product” (MVP) and fast-launch concepts to sales. In this scheme, businesses sprint to the sales version of an MVP, quickly collaborating with key internal and external folks to clarify the target and get a campaign going not now, but right now.
Here are the chief hallmarks of your agile sales process:
• Key leaders are engaged so you can tie your sales and lead generation efforts to your true business drivers, gaining rapid clarity on what the sales version of your MVP looks like.
• You move quickly with targeted research and get a focused one-to-one campaign out, because just like your products and services, you’re going to push it through rapid iteration and adjustment as required.
• While previous sales campaigns are being monitored and tweaked, you’re going to consistently put out new campaigns with a distinct target, situation and opportunity in mind.
• If you have the right resources in place (strategy, research, copywriting, pipeline management infrastructure and consultative selling muscle), you’ll see good things happening in short order.
While you interpret market feedback on your first campaign, you’ll constantly be finding new ideas to roll into your subsequent campaign (adjusted targeting and messaging). To be clear, this is not ad hoc experimentation. Your campaign approach must be planned out ahead of time and girded with both proven methodology, the proper support and a sense of your baseline — how to gauge your efforts against previous opportunity-to-close rates, and what companies of your maturity and offering tend to achieve.
The kicker is that there’s not a coach or consultant in the world who can both plan and help you effectively run this scheme. The coaching can be incredible, even if it’s ongoing, but the executional chops aren’t going to be there. You will be forever scrambling to ID and fill the next gap and do this incredibly demanding dance of messaging, closing, prospecting, digital marketing support that has to be retuned weekly.
Sales training and coaching is really important. I learned how to sell from a business consultant that I’ve worked with for many years. He really elevated my game and I would not have succeeded without his help. We talk every day and he’s immersed in the details of my business. Even with that high level of engagement he’s not going to do the work for me.
Hoping that a coach or consultant will paper over things like not having good sales management, talented business developers or a real sales culture in place?
I’m not banking my business on that. Neither should you.