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

Episode 59 · 1 year 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 your company can articulate a consistent value prop you know, we always ask what do you think your salespeople are doing in their zoom calls with prospects? That's the kind of a scary contemplation. So that's why alignment needs to be the first step 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 sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth. Presented by the team at force management, a leader in BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Today we're going to talk about organizational alignment and how that empowers and relates to the sales conversation. John Kaplan joins me today. John, this is... important topic for leaders to really wrap their heads around. Yeah, I think it's a critical one and it really everything begins with alignment. Yeah, and we have this conversation frequently when companies come to US looking to improve sales performance. They know that they have a sales performance problem, but often a lack of alignment and is the root of what is manifesting in sales performance in the organization. Do you think companies think that they're aligned when they're not? Yeah, I think that's pretty normal because, you know, elite teams, we all have a tendency to get territorial. So we're taught from a young age to you know, handle your business and business today, especially in the selling world, it's collaborative, it's cross functional. So you know, we often ask cross functional teams. You know, the answers to the four essential...

...questions and we talked about them all the time. I'll just repeat him here really quick. But what problems do you solve? And if you're sitting there in your car walk, and I want you to do this with me because you should know them by heart by now if you listen to our podcast. But what problems do you solve your customers? How specifically do you solve them? How do you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and where have you done it before? And when we ask those questions, we get different answers from most every one of the different organizations inside of company. So if the top leaders in your company can articulate a consistent value prop you know, we always ask what do you think your salespeople are doing in their zoom calls with prospects, and that's the kind of a scary contemplation. So that's why alignment needs to be the first deep the scaling and accelerating growth. Yeah, so let's make that jump. So, like you said, we talked about these essential questions, aligning on the answers. And the thing is, as you said, when you have a consistent answer to those questions in the... you have a framework for success. And, like you said, we talked about them. I write about them a lot and sometimes when I writing about them I think gush these essential questions. They seem so simple but there's so powerful. So talk about how a sales organizations uses those consistent answers to improve performance. Yeah, I'll talk about it from a couple of different aspects. So first let's talk about it as a 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'm aligning my discovery questions appropriately. I know how I can wint to deal against the competitor because I have a good understanding of my differentiation in the marketplace and and 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 helps me 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 we attaching to the biggest business issues facing this customer? I have a way to coach my rep differentiation that will win the deal. I have a framework of proof 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 continues to 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 work somewhere 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 answers to those essential questions, even before your own sales calls. Yeah, I mean I still do it today. I you know, I write down the the answers to excuse me, I write the for cents of questions on a 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, they expect me to be able to provide these answers. So I'm constantly prepared and I think about the questions that I'm going to ask to get the customer to give me these answers, because it's an outside in mentality versus and inside out mentality. My answers about my company and my capabilities are inside out, but I earned that right by being outside in and my discovery quest questions to tell me about those problems. So there's a lot of preparation involved. It just simplifies the motion for me. I know that it's an expectation that the people that I speak with they going to want to know the answers to those four centser questions from me. Yeah, and that's what you bring up, a good point about preparation. Those answers to the essential questions are really the foundation to 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 sales force, all of those things. And when you talk about wanting to improve sales performance without having that alignment in those consistent answers, you aren't starting with the right foundation. Yeah, so I mean I love that because those are just kind of evidence. All those tools and systems that you're talking about are really evidence that and it starts to show up in those tools. It's evidence that a company is really kind of owning that responsibility. So, no matter 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 BEDR SDR count executive sales engineers, customer success, we all live in this world of having that expectation from our customer first...

...and that we have to be prepared with 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 is consistency in those answers, and that's a big one. And so I think maybe a little challenge for everybody that's listening to this podcast. Come together with all those different groups that I just mentioned. You know the leaders of those different groups, and this is a great exercise that you can do for alignment. Come together and write those essential questions down. What problems do we solve for our customers? How specifically do we solve them? How do we solve them 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. I guarantee you you're going to see a gap,...

...and so what we're going to do is we're going to look to minimize the gap, get more consistent in our 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 you do it, let us know how it comes out. Reach out to John and Linkedin, reach out to myself. We'd love to hear how it comes up. 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 action for 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, thank you. Thank you, John. Thank you to all of you who continue to listen to our podcast. I know John and myself get messages frequently from you on Linkedin and we really appreciate you listening and sharing the podcast. We're growing numbers every month, which is really exciting. Be sure to check out the resources of this podcast. We have...

...a slew of resources on essential questions. Check them out. Sharing with your sales teams, share them with your cross functional leadership and thank you for listening to the audibolready sales podcast. At force management we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is 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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