A formation of office football players demonstrating sales success.

The number one reason salespeople fail to make quota has nothing to do with their fierce facial expressions, questionable taste in neckwear or ability to protect a quarterback in the pocket.

With the pro football playoffs in full swing, there’s a lot of talk about game plans – whose will work, whose won’t and why. The best coaches have a game plan that every player understands, buys into and carries out to the best of his ability.

What about the person who coaches your salespeople, whether that is you or a sales manager? Does he or she have a game plan?

In our experience, a game plan for sales success has two equally important components: an effective message and a proven sales process. Message development is a marketing function. For sales process training and coaching, we recommend Sales Evolution.

If you have a document detailing your message, plus buy-in from everyone who sells for your company, you are way ahead of the curve and can stop reading now. If you don’t have one, or don’t think you need one, consider the widely quoted research by SiriusDecisions that shows the number one reason salespeople fail to make quota is their “inability to communicate value messages.

Here is a brief overview of our method for developing messages that focus on customer value and achieve full buy-in.

  • Collect the collective wisdom. We facilitate a two-part workshop with a group we call the Business Development Team. Team members are the owner/CEO and everyone in a sales or marketing role. In part one, they brainstorm the reasons prospects would benefit from buying their stuff. No fluff allowed. “Because we’re the best” won’t fly. Each reason must be an example of real value and be supported by one or more facts. This is a surprisingly messy process requiring a smartboard, dry-erase board or poster-size sticky notes. Using an experienced facilitator hired by the owner/CEO both elevates the seriousness of the endeavor and keeps top brass from hogging the discussion or quashing divergent views.
  • Select the most effective messages. In part two, the facilitator leads the same team through a collaborative process to select the top three reasons and top three supporting facts for each message. (If the company sells to more than one audience, the reasons and facts may be different for each audience.)
  • Review, refine and document. We refine this into a draft message document, which is circulated to the team for review and comment. With the owner/CEO, we make final edits until he/she is ready to sign off. Finally, we design a message document that gets distributed to the team. From then on, all sales reps are expected to deliver the same set of messages. We recommend, and sometimes facilitate, a review of the field-tested message document in 6 or 12 months to refine and improve it.

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email¬†[email protected].


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