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

Episode · 5 years ago

Essential Questions

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Senior Delivery Partner Brian Walsh breaks down the importance of building alignment within your company around these key essential questions

Hello, I'm Rachel Clap Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at growth play. Thank you for joining us for this podcast. Will. We are diving into those essential questions that are key if you want to have command of your message. Senior delivery partner Bryan Walls joins me today to talk through this topic. Hello Rachel, Bryan. I know that we talk about these essential questions a lot. Their key for executives across your company to understand and your reps need to be focused on them as they relate to the buyer. Let's just start with having you walk through the essential questions for us first and explain why they're so important for the organization. Great. So, there are four essential questions that we believe drive great customer engagements over time and great selling conversations. They are as follows. What problems do you solve? How do you solve those problems? How do you solve those problems better or differently than the competition? And where's your proof? Where have you done it before? And...

...there is a lot of meat, I think, inside of these four questions in terms of the reason for their importance. And you know, when we're in front of a group one of the things we constantly talked about when we first put these questions to the group is will ask them, you know, we'll ask them for the answers and will consistently get different answers from people all over the room and then we'll just throw out a question to the larger group and the question is, if you owned this company, would you want the answers to these four questions to roll off the tongues of everybody in the company both fluently and consistently? And here's one of the interesting things. A lot of times I'll hear people say, well, I don't know, and when I when I when I hear that, I say, well, why would you say I don't know? And people say well, because marketing shop is really the answer this question and product development's job is to really understand the answer that question. But once I get their arms around the concept, I asked them really, if you had five hundred people in your company or three people...

...in your company, you're telling me you wouldn't want all of them to have the answer these questions just fluently and consistently roll off their tongue, no matter what type of client they're in front of or what type of conversation they're having and it's at that moment the people realize well, sure, it would make perfect sense for all of us, and there's a lot of power, which I'll talk about in the SEC for all of us to have the answers that to those questions. So that's the first thing. It's getting the mindset that the collective group in the company all has to be able to answer these questions. Whether I'm a frontline seller who might be out on my own making sales calls alving long or I'm someone who comes in and out of the sales process or engaging process for the client because I'm so some sort of technical expert, or I'm an executive or I offer some type of support at a certain point of the sale, or I'm somebody on the front end. Maybe I'm someone in marketing whose job it is to really understand the marketplace exceedingly well and understand where the markets going, where clients are going, or I so many in...

...product development whose job it is to take a lot of that information that our marketing organization gathers and and slices and dices and help the company turn all of that information into world class products and services. The reality is all of us have to have the answers to those question or the tip of the spear of the Sales Organization can't be effective in front of the client, right and if you don't have that cross functional consistency. Let's remember the digital buyer who's consuming information from your sales people but also from marketing, from digital channels, and it's you own't you need to own that as a company to have consistency for that fire. Yeah, it's funny you say that because most recently I've been talking a lot with sales organizations about what's historically been called the handshake problem, the idea that you know if there's six or seven of us, let's just say there's six of US inside of our organization there that are going to engage with a client over the course of a pursuit. Well, everybody knows that in most good size selling opportunities anymore they're at least six to eight to ten...

...people inside of the client also making that decision. So let's just assume there's six people inside of the client. Well, there's six of us, there's six of them. Forget any competition for a minute. Those six people from our company and those six people from the client company starts to create a very interesting dynamic in that there are multiple talking or handshaped points. Right, six of us, six of them. If every single one of us starts talking to each other individually, the maths says, roughly, right, that's more than six. It's like fifteen or so interaction points that could potentially happen at any given time between US internally or the client internally or us with the client. Then throw a competitor or two on top of that, also inside of the clients four walls, and this starts to get really confusing for customers. So if we can't speak with one voice, we only exacerbate the potential problems...

...that occur because I speak one way, you speak another, somebody else shows up later in the sales cyclone starts talking in totally different way. Right. So it's it's what problems you currently solve? How do you solve those problems, how do you do it differently than the competition, and and what's your proof and bottom line? That sounds really easy. You say, Oh, I can answer those questions. But, as you're saying, if you go around and ask everyone in your company how many different answers are you going to get? I say the people. If you ask ten people those four questions, you won't get forty different answers, you'll get fifty different as, because that's what we'll start to happen. It just people's minds start to go left, right and sideways, and there in lies the problem. If you can't get alignment it behind the answer to those questions, how can product development ever do anything that's really a pathful in the market place? How can sales and the rest of the sales organization take what's delivered to them and speak to it eloquently in the market place against these four questions? Because the reality is customers don't care that the purchase order has your company's name on it. Customers care...

...that you help them solve problems, you help them solve them better or differently than the competition and that you can actually prove that you've done it before. Right, how are you creating value for them? Yeah, so, if I'm out there listening to this wonderful podcast right now, Brian, and I know I'm a sales leader and I know that my organization does not have clarity around those essential questions, what do I do? What's my first step? Well, I think the first thing we've talked about a little bit. The first thing you think you could do is literally go find people in your organization that have credibility and some authority and test them, ask them to answer these four questions and start keeping track of the answers. It would not surprise me to hear that if you ask ten people, you get ten very different sets of answers to the question, but now you at least know what the different perspectives are and now you can do something about that. You can get people in a room and start to get to the point where you can provide some clarity and take the best of all those answers and put them put them together...

...in a consumable to ashent that you can do something with. Yeah, gather the data, make sure it reveals what your hunch is and then develop action plan. And we talked about these as social questions a lot because they're also a great tool for reps to use throughout the sales process. How are you answering these essential questions in a way that has meaning to your buyer? And it's important as a company to revisit these questions when there's new products and especially as it relates if you're growing company. Yeah, as the market shifts, as you learn more. A boy, if you mentioned a growing company, you know, even even if your companies went around, but in any that growing company, things just keeps coming back to me because it's the idea that do you really know the answers to the questions today and your best understanding, your best guests, whatever, that would give you the answer to those four questions today are probably going to be very different answers six months down the road. Right, especially if you're a new startup or growing company, but even if you're a more mature company, as the market place continues to shift and...

...or as competitors, bege you know, continue to get better at what they do or do things differently, or as you bring in new capabilities or a new company, these the answers to these four questions should consider continue to shift, because if they don't, you are stagnant and we all know what happens then. Yes, just not a good place to be. So yeah, you're right. It's not a one and done exercise. It's a it's an ongoing, evergreen or whatever you want to call it, kind of exercise. So, Brian, what's the bottom line when it comes to these essential questions? What's the big take well, I think the big takeaway is if you can answer them collectively consistent and a couple things happened. The front end of the conversation, your marketing and product development organizations and all of that have a better understanding of what great looks like and where the company should be headed in terms of world class products and world class services. The other end of this of the sphere, that the tip of the selling sphere, becomes much more effective on the market place because not only do they speak in a collective voice, so customers get a consistent conversation time and time again, the other thing...

...that happens is the sales organization starts being able to better qualify where they should be spending their time and who they should be spending their time with, because if they can bump though the answers to those four questions up against the types of people are talking with, the conversations are having and what they're hearing from customers, it'll be easier for them to say there's a match here because this is a company or a customer who's problems. We can solve. I can prove that I've helped another client like that before. I can prove differentiation against the competition because we do that better or differently. Versus not having the answers to those questions, every call I go into looks like it might be a real opportunity and that spending my wheels on stuff that I had no right being being involved in the in the first place. The answers to these questions help me qualify deals in and out a lot faster and drive better discovery. Great bottom line. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you for that wrap up on the essential questions. Thank you to all of you for listening. Don't forget to subscribe to these podcasts on soundcloud or itunes.

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