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

Episode · 6 years ago

Required Capabilities: Best Practices

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Managing Director John Kaplan breaks down best practices for identifying required capabilities early and validating them throughout your sales process.

Hello, I'm Rachel Club Miller andI'm the director of digital engagement and force management a growth play company. I'mjoined now by our managing director, John Kaplan. He rates great to behere. I'm great to have you today. We're going to take a deep diveon a key part of the command of the message curriculum, require capabilities. Identifying them early and validating them throughout your sales process can be a criticalcomponent to your success. Yeah, I think I love this topic because Ithink require capabilities are absolutely the key to your success, you know, whenthinking about a fantastic customer conversation. So let's start with a definition really quick. So the required capabilities are the customer has a current state of problems orchallenges. Your job is to is to understand what that current state is andthen take them to a future state that is more favorable for them. Andwhat's in between is what is required to...

...get them between a current state anda future state. And so what we want to encourage sellers to really thinkabout is to really really think about how to create that bridge between a currentstate and a future state and make sure that that bridge highly, highly representsyour differentiation in the customers mind and the customers language. We're going to talkabout required capabilities in a number of ways today. Let's start with the challengeof the digital buyer and how that affects required capabilities in those sales conversations.We know that digital content is having more of an impact on the sales process. Buyers are educating themselves to the online content that they're consuming. When theycall a salesperson, they believe they know what they want. They're likely readyto talk price. So, as a salesperson, what am I supposed todo? How do I handle that? Yeah, I think that the thethis topic is so critical right now because this is the reality. We haveconnected buyers, we have educated buyers.

Think about what you're buying today.Think about how you're buying things today. You're going out and you're becoming aneducated consumer. So we understand what that world looks like. But I wantto give you some spirit on the phone, or, excuse me, on theradio or how are you're listening to me today with a podcast on yourphone, however you're doing it. I just want to give you some spiritout there, which basically says is that the required capabilities are gold for youso it's not just receiving quite require capabilities from a customer as kind of amandate. It is influencing these require capabilities. So you need to be able toinfluence require capabilities and there's an old saying out there that says wherever youare, there you go. So whatever coms to you, you have tobe audible, ready and prepared. At the end of the day, Ihave to make sure that these require capabilities are more favorable for me and mycompany. If they are not when they come to me, it is myjob, through discovery and trap, setting questions and trapping the competition, torearrange this criteria, to rearrange these require...

...capabilities until I get them into aform where they are more favorable for me, and I'm going to explain how todo that. Is We continue to talk and that's Che's up with.The next thing I wanted to talk about is that with required capabilities, youhave to make sure that you're you continue to validate them throughout the sales process. Yeah, I like how you said that. You have to continue tomake sure you validate them. Why? Because with an educated consumer and educatedby or these require capabilities could change and we need to understand why they're change. Are they changing because somebody seeing something digitally? Somebody's being influenced from somebody? Are they being influenced by competitors? So, regardless of why they're changing, that should light up your skill sets or in your mind's eye, thatsays I need to validate these require capabilities. We always repeat our required capabilities fora number of reasons. To number...

...one, let the customer know thatwe continue to hear them and that we're listening to them and that we understandand their business, which is critical. Another reason why is when require capabilitieschange, something made them change and that should just set off a really,really intellectually curious mechanism inside of your head. So ask discovery questions when they change. Ask why they change and who changed them and what was the purposeof the change, and really, really dig in with discovery. And youalso want to make sure as you're digging in, you're validating those required capabilities, that you're incorporating your differentiators in the requirements. Yeah, so, Ithink so. I think sometimes people make this just a little bit more complicatedand hopefully our listeners have figured out that. If you're talking to me Rachel theit's not going to be your answers. My answers aren't going to be complicated. So I like to break it down this way. You know,I always think about what are my critical differentiators first and every sales meeting,in every customer conversation I have, the...

...first thing that I say to myselfis what are my differentiators that I want to highlight in this conversation? ThenI think about a series of discovery questions which are intended to trap my competitionaround the differentiator. My goal is, through those series of discovery questions andtrap setting questions, I get the customer to say that they need my differentiationin the form of their required capability. So, if you don't mind,I'd like to give you just a little example I was thinking about before wecame on air here. I want you to think about like force management.For the listeners out there, most of you know what we do and kindof how we do it, and so one of the things that's a hugedifferentiator of ours is our methodology creates highly customized and relevant and tailored content forour customers. And so many and most companies in our industry do not havea methodology like that, it's more off...

...the shelf, and so one ofthe ways and I know that's a big differentiator and I know what are theproblems associated with having kind of off the shelf content versus highly customized and tailoredand so I know that I want to ask some series of discovery questions withthe intent to trap the competition around us. So I'll ask questions like, giveme an example of the last time you worked with a vendor or partnerin my industry where you didn't have that deep relevance and tailored content for yourorganization. So give me an example of what that experience was like for aparticipant or for the sales organization. Walk me through the challenges that the organizationand had in implementing these ideas. At the end of the day, howsuccessful was the program and how difficult was it for adoption and reinforcement? Allthe while, what I'm trying to get...

...them to do is understand, becauseI can't tell them they have a problem in this area. I can onlyask them discovery questions with the intent that they would answer the questions in theirmind. That's a man I need to work with a vendor or a partnerthat has highly customized and very, very relevant and tailored content for us.And at the end of the day, what I just do is that Icall the little crux move and I'll say so. Can I just call thata require capability, and that is very, very purposeful. That is how youget your differentiation into a required capability. It's a great example and I thinkit's also important to remember that when we talk about required capabilities, butthey're only one component of what you're articulating to the customer or the prospect andthere one component of the value that you're trying to create. We use aterm often called value currency, and you explain a little bit what we meanby that and how it relates to required capability. Yeah, I'm going tohighlight this concept that you said, only...

...one component. I've been thinking alot about this over the last several months and so for several of our listenersyou might have heard me say this before, if you've heard me speak on thistopic. I want you to think about like the analogy of a golfswing. Well, then a golf swing you have a takeaway and then youhave some type of delivery to the ball or some type of follow through tothe ball. So you have two mechanisms. You have a takeaway and you havea delivery or a follow through, and so it's all part of ait's all part of a process, and I want you to think about threetakeaways. In the takeaway swing, you have three things that you're taking awayand you need all three, and so these are positive business outcomes, requirecapabilities and metrics. Why do we need all three? Well, we needpositive business outcomes because we need to understand what the biggest business issues and problemsare associated with the solutions that we could help them with. We could helpthem solve those positive business outcomes. We...

...need to understand and their mind what'srequired in order to make that happen and those have to be heavily, ifinfluenced by US and differentiatable by us, and we need to understand how theymeasure success. That's the takeaway and the delivery or the follow through is howwe do that, how we do it differently or better and where we've doneit before. And so your point, Rachel, of just the required capabilitiesare just one part of the takeaway, because if I only had required capabilitiesand I didn't have positive business outcomes or metrics, I would be less effectivein that customer conversation. And your last point around value currency is I liketo think about these just breaking it down very very simple. Currency means thisis a common language and a common currency of value that I'm going to havebetween me and my customer, these three simple takeaways and these three simple deliveries. That's great. It said the is that what you would say is thebottom line when it comes to required capabilities?...

Yeah, I think you know.Let me just sum it up. I think the bottom line has requirecapabilities are the gold for salespeople. It's not just about knowing what these requiredcapabilities are, but we need to be now more than ever, be preparedto influence require capabilities so that they're more favorable for us. Do that bybeginning with differentiation, thinking about the differentiation that you want to get in placein the conversation, ask trap setting and discovery questions which will highlight those differentiators, and then gain agreement that those become heavily influenced in the require capabilities,and you'll win every time. Great, great way to end up. Thankyou, John. Thank you for your time. Everyone out there, thankyou for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe toit on itunes.

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