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

Episode · 2 years ago

Where Sales Messaging & Qualification Intersect w/ Brian Walsh


We often find ourselves explaining how our sales messaging initiatives intersect with our sales qualification initiatives. When wondering what should come first, sales leaders often have to critically analyze their organization’s sales challenges and prioritize next steps accordingly. Easier said than done ...


Brian Walsh covers how you can assess gaps in your sales messaging and qualification processes to chart an efficient path to scalable, revenue growth. He covers:


- Key questions to consider when prioritizing the best initiative to drive sales impact


- An analysis of the PBOs and benefits from each initiative as they relate to top sales effectiveness concerns (forecasting, margins, etc.)


- How sales messaging and qualification initiatives work together to power predictable revenue growth


Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.


Here are some additional resources on Sales Messaging & Qualification : 


- How MEDDICC Helps Drive Predictable Revenue [Webinar]

- MEDDICC Resource Guide

- How Sales Messaging & Qualification Work Together to Drive Scalable Growth

Yeah, as yourself, we have a qualification problem because we're spending so much time chasing the forecast and we're not spending enough time talking about deals early. 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 if force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clup Miller, joined today by Brian Walsh. Hello, hi, Bryan. Media topic today, Brian, I hope you're ready. Yeah, yeah, well, I think I'm ready. Let's go. We are going to talk about how sales messaging and sales qualification intersect in a sales initiative and we're diving to this topic because it's one of our most frequently asked questions from from people who are coming in from our website or talking to our delivery experts and our sales people. For for us, those two initiatives are command of the message and command of the sale, often medic or Medpick, you know, in any company life cycle stage their challenges that come when you're trying to write the course in your sales organization or drive scalpel growth. And defining where those gaps are the opportunities lie within the sales process is a complication sales leaders and executives often struggle with, and determining which sales initiative will drive the most impactful results takes careful consideration and often comes down to, you know, dissecting and organizations current challenges. And the truth is one initiative of sales messaging initiatives or sales qualification issue complements the other and we find power, obviously, when they're executed together. But today we're going to break down the positive business outcomes of each initiative and talk through talk through them with Brian and help you determine which, which type of initiative will enable your organization to course correct or drive scalpel growth. Brian, you've worked with a lot of companies and a lot of these types of initiatives. I'd like to start with you talking about what makes sense when and maybe with sales message or if you want to give some opening comments to that's great. Yeah. Well, first of all, great opening. I just it's such a it is a very heavy topic because, you know, it's easy to say things like, well, you know, one is about execution, these the others about strategy. Well, that's that's actually not true. They're actually both about strategy and execution. Right. So you can set well, once customer facing and one internal face. Well, that's true, but they still go hand in gloves. So you really need to think through which one of these do I need first, and how do I kind of think through the the of the map of how I get from where I am to...

...whatever that m point vision is in terms of, you know, chicken, a course, card, etc. Etc. So, if you think about it like the first thing you got to do is you kind of said this. You really got to get arms around what's the struggle we're really trying to address and what happened if we don't address it effectively, because a lot of times people be like, well, it's both. You know, the struggle is we don't we don't have great messaging. Therefore we don't have great sales conversations with customers and to we don't have really great qualification skills. So a lot of times we're spinning our wheels on opportunities either for too long or deals that we don't even belong in, etcetera. So it's both, and look, I think to try to do both of these at the same time as a really heavy lift. It can be done, but you know, there's a lot going on here. So I really do think, if it all possible, you should be looking to prioritize this, and I think by understanding the pain associated with what's happening and not effectively dealing with it. And what the as you said right before you pulled me in, what are the outcomes are trying to drive you got a higher likelihood of making the right choice first. Right. The good news is, if you need both when it's all said and done, I think the really good you can't go wrong by doing one of them right. Right, me, me, it's it's it's in action that will actually kill you. Right, do at least do one of them and do it well. And I can give I can give you an example that maybe on the back end of this that really had a great impact on a client of our. So so let's start with the the client conversation, right, the customer conversation. If that's the challenge. What you got to be thinking about is, or, if you're kind of think through that challenge, you should be asking yourself things like what's our ability to repeatedly gain access to not just technical buyers and decision makers, but the economic and key decisionmakers, because, you know, command of the message is all about, I like to say, winning both sides of the coin. It's about winning the technical deal, but it's also about winning the business deal all at the same time. Right. Are Reps getting delegated down to people lower in the organization because that's how they talk? They can they can only have the technical conversation, the lower level conversation, they can't have the business conversation. Are we selling feature function or we actually able to attach what we do to out business outcomes, revenue costs and risk? Are we able to attach to bigger problems, again, revenue, cost and risk, problems that will open up more doors? Right? And last mine at least, how long there are deals taking and what's happening inside of that? Are we are we getting our heads fashed in at the negotiation table over price? Are we have a win rate that's significantly lower than what it should be because of benchmarks that we understand... the in the marketplace or just our cut, those kinds of things. I think those are the things that will lead you down the road saying, okay, this is a customer conversation message problem that really needs to be addressed. And by doing that, by really getting your arms around the sales messaging and how your folks have these conversations over the course of a deal pursuit with multiple people inside of a client's organization, you can then start to create a tool set that reps can go back to time and time again and replicate those great conversations, because that's that's the beauty of command of the message. Command of the message identifies the fact that, hey, for sellers that look like this in our organization, we know that a lot of the conversations are often going to be centered around the same sets of a bowl of points that the customer cares about. How do we build content that that serves the REP and seventy five or eighty five percent of the conversations are going to find themselves in that allows them to help the customer create value first before we try to attach ourselves and our products and services to that value. That's I think the command of the message, customer conversation paths that or sets of things that get you on that path, if that makes sense right. I think you know to what you are saying. If you're too you can be selling a deal too low and organization and still qualify it, right. Yes, yeah, the best deal because you aren't having the right conversations. Is another way to look at this, Brian, just to see think about why you're why are you losing deals that you think you should should be winning? Is it because you're not qualifying them, or are you not even in the right conversations to begin with? Yeah, I mean I think that is a good way to think about it. It's like what's happening in our deals if we're winning deals but were were we're getting beat up on margin right or other things like that, or the deals are taking too long. The thing I would say it's a seller who has a deal stuck in pipeline as an example of ill, see you have any deals that are stuck in pipeline? The Way? Oh, yeah, these two three deals are stuck, and I'll I'll just say listen to questions. One, what's the biggest business problem you're attaching to and to how big is it? And often they can't answer the first question, let alone the second. And like that's a great example, even though identify pain lives in medic but but you know, command of the message is really the skill set that helps you identify and have the conversation around the biggest business problem and or the impact of that and how big it is in terms of revenue, cost or risk. So there are some questions I can ask that will start to lead me to is this a qualification problem or is this a skill set problem around the quality of the conversations I'm having and that idea of the repat even being able to articulate for you what the problem is and how big... is or who owns it right or what are the business how comes the clients really trying to drive to and how have we influenced that conversation? What points of view have we shared with the client that has allowed them to expand their thinking paths where they thought they could go to a place that they didn't even realize was possible until we entered the conversation? It's power we impacting or influencing the required capabilities to not only serve the customers best interest, but also help the customers start to realize, when we start talking about ourselves, that we do some things in a highly differentiated manner. Those are the things to tell me that this is about the conversation skill set, not about our ability to qualify the deal. Yeah, so let's do let's go ahead and shifts it to qualification. Okay, lets me. Let's make that pivot. And Yep, for sales qualification. As you said, you're really looking at how the deal is progressing once you have those things identified. Yep, Yep, and and so if you're thinking that way, like if you're wondering if that's my problem or the thing I need to be focused on, you know, there's probably a handful of questions you need to be looking at. One is how much time are we spending on deals that we don't even belong in or that are never going to happen? And every sales leader listening to this knows exactly what I'm talking about. Yeah, you've got deals in pipeline that you're looking at in either because of history and that account or history with that seller or just another sending of the market place. You're like, that is a deal we have no business even being in and we allow the REF to hold on to it as long as possible, right even knowing that the likelihood of winning it is next to is next to nil. The other I think they attached to that closely as the the ability of the REP to know when to walk away right, and the difference between qualifying out a deal versus qualifying out one person in the deal, because, you know, most be tob deals have five plus, maybe many more, people impacting or touching the discussion, whether we ever meet them or not. And you know we have, I think, a tendency sometimes to qualify a deal out because we met one person that we just didn't really think cared, wanted to do business, understood the problem, whatever it is. We didn't connect with them and therefore we qualify the entire deal out right there. That's a skill set in and of itself, qualifying the deal out versus the person. You know. I think the other big thing is you really got to ask yourself, this is kind of try to explain this one as best I can. Yet ask yourself, do we have a qualification problem because we're spending so much time chasing the forecast and we're not spending enough time talking about deals early, and here's what I mean by that. Most organizations and the BAB space forecast their business quarterly and at as a result, every ninety days this cycle starts all over again. The...

...first couple weeks of the quarter, your fourth you're doing the forecast for the quarter. Then the next few weeks of the quarter everybody's forgotten about the forecast and before you know, if there's four weeks left than the quarter and everybody's losing their mind because we've only written thirty percent of the forecast for the quarter. And you know, and it's just this ever constant flywheel, that it's just, it's so it's so cash I wish I could think of the right word. It just it can rek havoc on a sales team and a sales organization. Versus the point of view that I had a manager, Freddie Thomas, who used to literally come out of his office on the first day of the quarter and he would start yelling at the top of his voice that the quarter with the quarter was over, the quarter is over, and the point that he was making everybody was listen. The quarter is already basically done. If we really know our if we really know our business. Sure there's a chance some you know, as we used to call him, cats and dogs. So some other deals might come into the quarter. That's great, and if they do, we should pull them in. But the deals that are going to make or break the quarter, you know, the twenty percent of the deals that make up eighty percent of the quarter, kind of saying, those are the deals that have no business being in the forecast unless we're a hundred percent sure they're going to happen. So the forecast is what the forecast is. Let's go do what we can to add a little bit more to it. But what we really leak should be doing on day two of the quarter is we should be having these kinds of conversations about the deals for next quarter while we're out closing this quarter. And if I could wave a magic one on any sales organization, the one thing I would I would get them to do really, really well, is this very concept, which is bite the bullet for two quarters, because to do this well it's going to take a couple quarters to get over the hump. But bite the bullet for a couple of quarters so that you can turn your rhythm into one that says at the beginning of the quarter the forecast that we deliver, we are highly, highly confident in. I'm talking two hundred and twenty five percent plus or making or missing the core, missing the number. So that really what you can do in the given quarter is start focusing on the deals that are going to make or break the next quarter. That makes sense and that's where great qualification skills come into play. Qualifying deals in quarter is like it's nothing more than a fire drill. Yeah, and I hope in a prayer. You know if it's if it's a deal of any consequence. Well, you know, as you were talking to that talking about that, I've interviewed some of our customers or testimonials where they may have implemented a medic or sales process and they say are actually our pipeline went down. Yep, because we did this, but it's real pipeline. Yeah, that's what that's show thing'll happen if you're willing to do this well, for a quarter or two will see a true up of your price pipeline. The bad news is you'll see a lot of deals fly the left right because people are being honest with themselves and are saying...

...this deal really is as far along as I thought it was. The good news is you'll see a few deals fly right because your sandbaggers now will not have a place to hide their deals. That's that's that's the goodness. The other good news is you, over the course of a couple quarters, you can teach some skill by doing this well so that forevermore want a sales rep magically move the deal too stages to the right. And I haven't talked to the REP about that deal in a couple of weeks. I have a hundred percent confidence when I happen to notice that the rep move the deal and sales force in the pipeline from, you know, from discovery to negotiate, whatever the sales stages are, that I have high confidence that that's truly where the deal is, because the rep knows what it means to truly put the deal there. We have complete agreement as to what it means from a qualification standpoint, not just based on what we've done, but thinks that the customer has done to move the deal forward. That's the beauty of doing this well over over a hundred twenty days, yeah, hundred eighty days maybe so you know, both sales messaging and qualification can really move the needil for it in different ways. Yep, love to hear you just summarize a little bit how you see those two coming together for sales or in they so. Command of the message is, how do I have a conversation with someone or a group of someone's at the client right? How do I have a conversation to go back and forth between all of the different components of the opportunity that should matter not just to me, the seller, but more importantly, to the customer, to help them get to a great outcome? How do I do it? What's the skill set around how I talk to you, how I communicate with you, how I bring stories into the conversation, how I do great discovery, how I bring our differentiations to the table in a way that helps you think through it for your own benefit? Before I talk about something that we happen to do in a special way, medic and command of the sale is, how do I take everything I'm learning from those conversations bring it back into my organization so that the team that's working on a deal can look at everything and say one based on what we know and what we don't know yet. Do we can we make an educated decision at this point in time and other points in time going forward as to whether or not, one we belong in this deal. Right, and that's going to change over time. Right, as I learn more early on in the deal is probably yes, yes, yes. Then there's going to come out like a point where I'm at to look at everything and go, is this patient going to require some major surgery? Is this patient still doing just fine, or is this patient not going to make it and we need to cut our losses? Right? That's really what I'm doing here by qualifying in or out, so by taking all this command of the message stuff back in house. The first thing I can do... make good decisions over time is to whether or not we belong to this deal or not, assuming we do. The second thing that this thing, medic and command of the sale does is it takes everything I've learned about the deal through all these great conversations I've had with the customer and it helps me realize, okay, so, based on what I know and what I don't know, what are the most critical things to go do next to help the client move this deal forward. And then the third thing it does for me is it helps me when I get ready to start putting that that thing into a forecast. It gives me a heck of a lot more confidence and conviction that I'm actually putting it in the forecast at the right time and for the right reasons. That's the difference. But the to go hand in glove. Sure, I think, though, as you know, if you look at it from how you just kind of walk through it, it's really tough to qualify the right deals if you don't have the right message for the buyer, to have the right conversation. Do you think that's where most companies should look at first? Does that stop the bleeding faster? What's your take on that? Baby? Your pain points right. I should I said yeah, it is such it's such a great question. It's like, all things being equal, which what I do first? If you're asking me that way, HMM, I would say yes, start with. Start with something around what we would call command of the message. How do I get my people comfortable and confident in having great conversations with multiple levels of people in their clients, because without those conversations it's really hard to go qualify whether or not I belong in this deal, what I should do next and whether or not I can call the deal in the forecast right. So if you forced me to say which one and I and you gave me the caveat that, all things are equal, I'd say it's command of the message. But right. But, like you said, something about stopping the bleeding. Right. And so let me just a short story. I don't know, I better not use your name, but we have a client. Still engage with them today in the software space, as software space, and they decided to do command of the message and medic at the same time. So we were doing a bunch of work on the front end to get them ready and the great content we're going to do. This is late October and they weren't going to do training until their sales kickoffs in January. And we were at the at the workshop, and there their CEO and other cofounder and another twelve or so people were there at the workshop. had of sales and they said, I think it was early fourth quarter for them. They saw the two months left in the quarter and they said, I wish there was something we could do right now to just get some lift in queue four. And we're talking about it and I said, hey, we don't want sales managers thinking they have to teach this stuff, and everybody agreed. I said, but what if we could get your...

...sales managers really comfortable with medic right now so that they could take the two or three deals or four deals per team, and it was really two to four deals per team that we're going to make or break the quarter and get them comfortable coaching these deals using medic right now. And they love that idea. So I stayed an extra day. We did a live medic session with those managers. We made it clear that they shouldn't be or trying to use this lingo or anything like that, but we taught them how to qualify deals using medic and then use what they learned in these conversations with a sale wrap and the rest of the account team to create executable action in front of the customer. What what? Not only what you go do next, but how do you have this conversation? You got to go have a conversation about the pain, you got to go have a conversation about the metrics, you got to go meet the economic buyer. Here's how we should go about doing that. So they went through and did that and they had a stellar fourth quarter. And when we got to the kickoff, the crow and the CEO were able to stand on and say, Hey, everybody remember these deals that we were having these sessions on? That's what we're about to do for lots of our deals because we were using what you're about to learn this week. So it was a really great example of how you can do some things while you're trying to launch something like this companywide, to make an immediate impact at one level or another, all the way down to the individual deal. So and it's just another example of, you know, think creatively when you're launching something like this. There's multiple ways to come up with some short term wins so that when you actually and build some momentum so that you actually get to the event, you got people instant up and say, Hey, I've been doing this for forty five days, let me tell you what I've already been able to get out of it. Kind of thing. Right. So, great point, Bryan. There you have it. That's why I got right. Well, I will see you've been groom many great points and our conversation today. Thank you for running through that with me. My pleasure. Thanks for having me. You know I love talking to you about this. Well, we love having you, and thanks to all of you for listening to the audible already podcast. See 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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