The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Aligning with Your Buyer


Uncovering business problems provides you, as a salesperson, the ability to effectively map your solutions to the customer's required capabilities. Senior Partner Paul DeMore shares his best practices for aligning to the buyer in your discovery questions.

Hello and welcome to the force managementpodcast. My name is Rachel Clap Miller, and today we are talking about acritical component to sales success, building buyer alignment. We're going to talkmore about executing discovery and executing great follow up. I'm joint now by PaulDemore, who is our senior partner. Hello, Paul, Hey Rachel,how are you good? I'm so glad to have you on our podcast today, your first inaugural appearance. Very excited and the reason we decided on thistopic because it really came out of a conversation that you and I were havingabout research aligned to the buyer. This research came from primary intelligence. Itlooked at bedb buyers and in their research they uncovered one point five billion dollarsin lost under revenue that vendors could have won. And the number one reasonwhy those vendors lost, or the one factor that would have made a difference, is if they understood the buyers business needs. Absolutely. One of thepoints we're trying to make here as we talk about pre call planning and executinggreat discovery, is the more that you can demonstrate you understand the buyer,the better luck you'll have. Yeah, and I got to tell you rightat the beginning to like your topic about buy our alignment rather than product positioning. Right, we're it's it's interesting is we're specifically talking about the buyer aswe prepare for our sales calls. And you know, one of the thingsthat we've talked about over the years is something that we got some research areread about at one point in time when we talk about seller deficit disorder.Right, as a seller, you walking into a real opportunity and, whetheryou know it or not, the executives look at you with two strikes.Right, number one is you don't know my business and number two is youdon't listen. And and in order to overcome that, we need to betterunderstand their business and come prepared with a bunch of questions to listen to howthey're doing their business today. Right, you're starting from behind the a bollright. They already think you're going to you're a chisty salesperson. Then isgoing to wait forgot about right, and... reminds me of when you're walkingin there and you got new product releases, you got new solutions that you wantto go to market, you want to talk about it, but inreality you need to wait and understand what it is. And so, froma sales point of view, the thing that I like to talk about orwhat we call three critical sales skills, right, really critical sales skills.Yeah, and these are these are fundamental in nature, right when you hearabout them the first time, like, for example, the first one froma seller is to uncover the customer needs, is to truly discern what the customerreally needs, and it's from their point of view, not your solution. So truly understand what the with the the needs are of the buyer andand and specifically why you're going to be in a meeting with them. Numbertwo is provide value and differentiation, because in reality, if they could doit without you, they're going to do it without you, right. Sothere needs to be a way for you to provide value and also differentiate whyyour solution is better than the competition, number one, but also against thecompetition of do nothing. And then the third thing is ultimately negotiate value.And if you're able to to do that, started at the beginning of the campaign, everything gets easier. Is the further you go on. And whenI say they're fundamental sales skills. They are. But my comment to otherpeople is I will talk in say compare it to golf. Right, I'ma golfer. Are you a golfer? I try, I'm really good onthe driving range. Well, if you think about golf, you your teaoff, you hit the ball in the fairway and then you put it onthe green and you want or to put and if you do that all thetime, you're going to be a professional golfer. But we all know thereality is it's not that easy. And so when we think of uncovering customerneeds, there are people out there that do a much better job, whichsupport the proof point that you shared at the beginning about the more you know, the better chance you have a winning right it these critical sales skills youcan run through in your light. You...

...sit there need to say, ofcourse, right, of course it's easy to get to get the ball inthe green. Until any of you have set on the tea box and tryto get a they're right, let alone in front of millions of people watchingat home. Right, it's not. It's not so easy. So,as we think about it, I think those critical sales skills they're seemingly easy, but they're basic sales fundamentals and no matter how long you've been doing this, you really have to force yourself to take a step back and say thisis not about me and my solution. I need to uncover those needs first, because I can't even talk about my solution in a way that matters unlessI know what those needs are. So it really forces you to hold tightto those fundamentals, if you remember them well, and that's it, andI'll because you have a lot offering, right, if you're a software hightech firm that has a lot of solutions, you can do a lot of things. But in reality, unless you're specifically talking about the things that youdo that aligned to the problems that they have, you're talking about things thatthey're not interested in and you are going to get people to start to phaseyou out. Such a down shut you down. Yeah, right, sowe it's seemingly easy. We know it's not. So let's talk a littlebit Paul, and how we uncover those challenges and executing effective discovery. You'vebeen doing this a while. When can you jump in on an initial conversationand you know your goal is to uncover challenges. How are you approaching it? What are you doing? So it's you know, it's a lot ofpreparation ahead of time, right, and you know we talked about you betteroppreparing internally and practicing your call internally, or are you better off doing infront of the customer? Obviously you do it in the background, right.And so it always comes down to really defining the roles on who is comingwith you. So, if you're a seller, what is your specific rolein the call? Right, if you're a pre salesperson or solutions consultant,or even your management right, if it's the manager with you, who isdoing what and what is a great outcome...

...from your point of view? Right, in order to advance the sales cycle. A lot of times we used touse this expression back at PTC, back in one thousand seven, nineteen, ninety eight, the good old day. Yeah, the good old days.But we we should talk about the black hole where you would go intoa sales call, have a great discovery and nothing would happen, right,and the reason being is you didn't attach to a business problem. So howdo you avoid that? Number one is to align the right people. Thesecond thing is around precall planning is to start to figure out, using yourbackground the web, who who with the company? Where the latest press releases? What are the value drivers that they're focused on? And then take itdown a level. Who are the people that are going to be in theroom with you? Who are you connected with on Linkedin? How are theyconnected with your other customers? Right, and where do they come from?And if they are, what I always like to ask sellers if they arenew into a senior leadership position and they're in your meeting, why were theyhired? Right, if they're, if they're, if they're a senior leaderand they were hired, they were hired to fix a business problem. Right. So we need to understand that a little bit more than the last thingto do is talk about discovery questions. What are the questions you're going tohave already prepared when you walk in that are both open ended and close ended? Open ended using Ted, yeah, right, tell me, explain tome. Described to me right, having fun with that, to facilitated discussion, but then also the closed ones that allow you to get specific when you'reactually going to go to scoping or proposal, you have the specific information. HMM, how do you know in the conversation? So if you know yourroles to drive the discovering, you open up with your first discovery question,how do you know you have enough to move to the next topic? Areyou taking great notes? Are you, I aming the other people on thecall, like how are you maneuvering that conversation to make sure you're really uncoveringwhat you need to know about that business problem? Yeah, so the firstthing is that really helps with that.

And this is a great tidbit littlething to ask, and I challenge the people that are listening to the podcastthe next time they ask on a call, when they do the introductions, isto specifically ask the B I or what is a great outcome that they'relooking to achieve for this call right by getting what they would define as agreat outcome. Well, let you ensure that you're moving in the right direction. Yeah, that's a great point. So, and it goes back towhat we were saying earlier. You're trying to align to the buyer and whathe or she wants to get to so hown'. Ask what they's a greatoutcome for them at that at the start of the call, when you finishthe call. As long as you hit that outcome, you've won, evenif you still have to go and do more discovery and you have to domore. And another thing we always like to talk about is having is beingaudible ready, right, having the ability to pivot on the call depending onwho is in attendance or what the specific outcome is, right, and whattheir desired outcome is. And then the other thing is it's always being patient. Right. You see a lot of sellers that want to immediately start talkingabout who they are and what the greatest releases are, like a dog ona bone, right. And so what we need to do in a firstcall discovery. A good outcome for us as a sales organization is it comeout with a business problem, differentiate yourself is a seller so that you canhelp them solve their business problems and then ultimately earn the right to advance.Right. Okay, so let's talk about you're having a great conversation, you'rein discovery. You know you're pushing to you that great outcome at the endof the call. It's really critical. You have to own the next stepbecause you're not going to get it all done in one call, right.So what are you doing as a salesperson during that call to ensure you're ableto play it back in a way that's meaningful to that buyer? So that'sa great question. And and and obviously take a notes. We're all takennotes, but then it comes back to...

...what are notes that are actually goingto help advance a sales cycle and what are notes Nice to have right?And when I like to think about what are the ones that we could doto start build our value message, to communicate everything that we heard? Andso when I am going through it, I try to get it into fourbuckets. Okay, right, the first bucket is truly the background of theorganization, the company that we're dealing with and and and maybe the future ofwhere the company's going or what their growth goals are for the next so manyyears. But what is the background about the business and what they're trying toachieve? The second thing is it's listening to the challenges. Right, whatare the things that they're struggling with today that's really causing them to have themeeting with you? Right, at the end of the day, they're havinga meeting because they have a business problem that they can solve. It's yourjob to figure out what that is. And then the third thing is,if you're able to, as a company, address those challenges, what are thepositive business outcome ms that they're looking to achieve after they partner with you? And then, ultimately, what are the required capabilities needed to achieve thosepositive business outcomes? And and if you could do that, you're starting tobuild out a value based conversation that's all about the buyer right, because upinto this point the backgrounds about the company. Their challenges are about the company,the PVOs are about their company and the required capabilities on how that companybe successful. We are having a buyer base conversation and outside in conversation aboutthem. Yeah, you're by the activities that you're doing. You're ensuring thatthat happens. Right now, overcoming seller diffages such order your differentiating yourself asa seller, and you're also helping them get to a place that they canget without yourself, your help. Sure, so you're taking great notes. Right. You got it together, I think, as you defining the roles, probably in your precallplanning, you know...

...the person who's going to be playingback the the what we heard right so how do you validate what you heardwhen? Yeah, how are you doing that? So that that's so,that's a great call. So all of a sudden you have you have yourcall and your first discovery call is great, right, and and you're starting tounderstand this. Typically, at what I would do is send up anemail, a fill allow up email. Right, you used to do letters, not anymore, but we send out follow up emails. That was ninetyseven. Ninety seven. They were effective. Well, the type? No,but you would send out a follow up email and, thinking the peoplein the room, I always outline the outcome that they wanted to achieve andmake a sentence or two about that and then say hey, based on whatwe heard, you know, based on the call, this is what Iheard, you know, and I would review, maybe not the background,but I would review their challenges, their PBOS, positive business outcomes and therequired capabilities and then talk about the next steps that we agreed to. andand it's email. So I understand that not everybody reads emails, right,they don't print them out, they don't digest them. But what you doon the next call? The first thing you do is validate everything you heard, right, and and the way we do it here at force management iswe do a what we heard section. That will show the background and challenges. Will Review that with the audience and then say, is there anything we'remissing? Is there anything I didn't get correct the first time? Then thesame thing with the PBOS and the required capabilities. Once you get the buyin on what the required capabilities are, that's when you can pivot the conversationto start talk about how you do it and how you do it better thanthe competition. Right. Sure, for those of you have had commanded themessages that back nine of that value of framework, and I think those emailsare so powerful because they help frame the next conversation. I think it alsois a great sign that you are opening this dialog with the prospect the buyer, that you're kind of in this together, like we're developing the case for thesolution together, and one of the...

...things email does is helps you,helps you assist them to make the case internally, because those can easily beforwarded. Yeah, and it's the same thing with your champion and anything youwrite, anything you write you want to go with. The assumption in mylittle world of happiness is that I live in that it will be forwarded ontothe right people. So I truly believe that I make sure that that's thecase. The other thing, you know, what that you learn about champions andthe people that are going to get the job done. You know,the question we used to ask back and new hire training was who's on sitemore at the buyer, the you or the champion? While the champions theyare ninety nine percent of the time right. So you need to start take yourvalue based message and have it start to be able to be repeated internallyby others that are in the buying process well necessarily having to come from you. Yeah, do you think? I always like to ask where do peoplego go wrong with this? Where does it go wrong? And I thinkyou might have touched on him. I'm going to ask if you think thisis where people go wrong. It seems to be if we talk about sellerdeficit dis order and you're doing great discovery, you hear the problems that align withyour solution and you get excited right. to solve it. So you wantto just start talking about the how we do it. But it's really thatdiscipline to hold back. Would you say? That's where the land mines people hitsometimes. Yeah, and I and and and one of the comments youhave when you talk to sales leaders is you ask a sales vice president ishow long into a sales call does it take your sellers to start talking aboutyour company and your products? Right? Is it ten minutes? Is itfifteen minutes? And a lot of times they laugh and they say it's withinthe first five. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. Butthe idea is is to truly attach yourself to the BIS biggest problem and toreally do effective discovery, because it will differentiate and it will give you betterresults. Right now, great discovery precallplane.

You can't really underestimate preparation. That'sprobably kind of the bottom line here. As we talked about all this,absolutely and and and when would like, I said, definding the roles,having your material set up, being albol ready to pivot if you needto, but also knowing what it takes to be successful in the call,you'll be in great shape, great, awesome. Thank you so much,called war. Thank you, Rachel and joining us. Thank you to allof you for listening to our podcast. Don't forget subscribe soundcloud and itunes.

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