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

Episode 59 · 9 months ago

How to Build Alignment on Buyer Value w/ John Kaplan


One of the most basic things you can do as a sales organization is ensure that your executive team and entire company is aligned on the key value and differentiation of your solution. When you have consistent answers to the essential questions, you have the framework to equip sales to articulate your solution’s business value and differentiation in a way that drives bottom-line impact. John Kaplan joins us to discuss how companies generate consistent, cross-functional agreement on the four essential questions, and why it’s critical to accelerating business growth.

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Here are some additional resources on generating company alignment with the buyer:

- Four Questions Every Sales Organization Needs to Answer


- Intercom Increased Average Deal Size by 261% After Generating Alignment

- The Secrets to Aligning Your Company on Customer Value and Differentiation


If the top leaders, then yourcompany can articulate a consistent value prop you know, we always ask what doyou think your salespeople are doing in their zoom calls with prospects? That's thekind of a scary contemplation. So that's why alignment needs to be the firststep the scaling and accelerating growth. You're listening to the audible ready podcast,the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature salesleader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps youfuel repeatable revenue growth. Presented by the team at force management, a leaderin BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, welcome to the audible readysales podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Today we're going to talk about organizationalalignment and how that empowers and relates to the sales conversation. John Kaplanjoins me today. John, this is... important topic for leaders to reallywrap their heads around. Yeah, I think it's a critical one and itreally everything begins with alignment. Yeah, and we have this conversation frequently whencompanies come to US looking to improve sales performance. They know that they havea sales performance problem, but often a lack of alignment and is the rootof what is manifesting in sales performance in the organization. Do you think companiesthink that they're aligned when they're not? Yeah, I think that's pretty normalbecause, you know, elite teams, we all have a tendency to getterritorial. So we're taught from a young age to you know, handle yourbusiness and business today, especially in the selling world, it's collaborative, it'scross functional. So you know, we often ask cross functional teams. Youknow, the answers to the four essential...

...questions and we talked about them allthe time. I'll just repeat him here really quick. But what problems doyou solve? And if you're sitting there in your car walk, and Iwant you to do this with me because you should know them by heart bynow if you listen to our podcast. But what problems do you solve yourcustomers? How specifically do you solve them? How do you solve them differently orbetter than anybody else, and where have you done it before? Andwhen we ask those questions, we get different answers from most every one ofthe different organizations inside of company. So if the top leaders in your companycan articulate a consistent value prop you know, we always ask what do you thinkyour salespeople are doing in their zoom calls with prospects, and that's thekind of a scary contemplation. So that's why alignment needs to be the firstdeep the scaling and accelerating growth. Yeah, so let's make that jump. So, like you said, we talked about these essential questions, aligning onthe answers. And the thing is, as you said, when you havea consistent answer to those questions in the... you have a framework for success. And, like you said, we talked about them. I write aboutthem a lot and sometimes when I writing about them I think gush these essentialquestions. They seem so simple but there's so powerful. So talk about howa sales organizations uses those consistent answers to improve performance. Yeah, I'll talkabout it from a couple of different aspects. So first let's talk about it asa rep so if I have the answers to the four essential questions,I have a clear idea of the problems I'm solving for my customer. I'maligning my discovery questions appropriately. I know how I can wint to deal againstthe competitor because I have a good understanding of my differentiation in the marketplace andand I also have the proof of success that I can use with these prospects. So, if I'm a manager, I have a basic framework that helpsme keep my reps focused on the right...

...types of deals. You know,what are the problems were solving for this deal and you know, are weattaching to the biggest business issues facing this customer? I have a way tocoach my rep differentiation that will win the deal. I have a framework ofproof points that I can make sure my reps are using in their conversations.And you know, ultimately that lowers the risk for the customer and it continuesto build great belief for my sales teams. Yeah, bolsters that consistent message.I know you said it before on the podcast. Even if you've worksomewhere for a long time, you know the buyer, you know the solution. Even at force management here, John, you're constantly centering yourself on the answersto those essential questions, even before your own sales calls. Yeah,I mean I still do it today. I you know, I write downthe the answers to excuse me, I write the for cents of questions ona piece of paper somewhere and then,...

...then and I prepare my answers,and the reason why I do that is because it's an expectation, you know. I know that the companies that I speak with or sell to, theyexpect me to be able to provide these answers. So I'm constantly prepared andI think about the questions that I'm going to ask to get the customer togive me these answers, because it's an outside in mentality versus and inside outmentality. My answers about my company and my capabilities are inside out, butI earned that right by being outside in and my discovery quest questions to tellme about those problems. So there's a lot of preparation involved. It justsimplifies the motion for me. I know that it's an expectation that the peoplethat I speak with they going to want to know the answers to those fourcentser questions from me. Yeah, and that's what you bring up, agood point about preparation. Those answers to the essential questions are really the foundationto creating a lot of those prep documents...

...for your sales teams, messaging frameworks, precall planners, even you mentioned managers, the deal review fields in your salesforce, all of those things. And when you talk about wanting toimprove sales performance without having that alignment in those consistent answers, you aren't startingwith the right foundation. Yeah, so I mean I love that because thoseare just kind of evidence. All those tools and systems that you're talking aboutare really evidence that and it starts to show up in those tools. It'sevidence that a company is really kind of owning that responsibility. So, nomatter what your role is, matter what your role in a company is,whether you're an executive, whether you're in products or marketing or sales or BEDRSDR count executive sales engineers, customer success, we all live in this world ofhaving that expectation from our customer first...

...and that we have to be preparedwith the answers to those four centser questions, because that's what they expect from us. So the other thing that our customers and prospects expect from us isconsistency in those answers, and that's a big one. And so I thinkmaybe a little challenge for everybody that's listening to this podcast. Come together withall those different groups that I just mentioned. You know the leaders of those differentgroups, and this is a great exercise that you can do for alignment. Come together and write those essential questions down. What problems do we solvefor our customers? How specifically do we solve them? How do we solvethem differently or better than everybody else? And where have we done it before? Go around to the different groups, let everybody write their answers down,come together and share those answers and you're going to see a gap. Iguarantee you you're going to see a gap,...

...and so what we're going to dois we're going to look to minimize the gap, get more consistent inour answers, and I will tell you I've never seen that exercise equal failure. Yeah, that's a great challenge for everyone out there listening and if youdo it, let us know how it comes out. Reach out to Johnand Linkedin, reach out to myself. We'd love to hear how it comesup. Thanks so much for joining me for this conversation. John All,I very much appreciate this one because I think it's a critical, critical actionfor companies to take and if you're listening and you're not running the company,it doesn't matter. Use Your influence get your company Aligne. Yeah, thankyou. Thank you, John. Thank you to all of you who continueto listen to our podcast. I know John and myself get messages frequently fromyou on Linkedin and we really appreciate you listening and sharing the podcast. We'regrowing numbers every month, which is really exciting. Be sure to check outthe resources of this podcast. We have...

...a slew of resources on essential questions. Check them out. Sharing with your sales teams, share them with yourcross functional leadership and thank you for listening to the audibolready sales podcast. Atforce management we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologiesdeliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teamsthe ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strengthis our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started.Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast.To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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