It always energizes you when you get to meet with customers!
We just held the Miller Heiman Sales Performance Summit
in San Diego, and it was a blast: Great presentations, great networking, great insights – and some of the best companies in the world.
I introduced a new concept at the conference and it was exciting to get so much positive feedback. Here it is in a nutshell:
It is true that customers are more demanding and informed than they have ever been, and it is true that this makes it an even bigger challenge for professional salespeople. Many companies and thought leaders have responded to this dynamic with all sorts of tactics and tools that serve to automate the salesperson. This puts the sales executive at the end of the value chain and forces them into a role that is confined to communicating packaged messages.
This is not at all what customers want. Customers value perspective
from the people they work with.
Perspective is what one knows, thinks, experiences and communicates. The reason salespeople want to bring senior execs on calls is so they can add their perspective to a client situation.
Perspective helps clients avoid unintended consequences and does not stop at getting the order.
Perspective focuses beyond getting the sale and squarely on the results that the customer is out to achieve.
Raising the perspective of the salesperson is what companies need to focus on if they want to truly deliver added value through the sales force. The challenge is taking an enterprise approach to building perspective among the sales force, and this brings into view the priority around having a clear customer management strategy.
Developing a strategy of how the company is going to connect with customers is the single most important decision
a sales leader can make. This decision of determining your customer management strategy is the building block for all of the supporting business decisions that will help enable the sales organization to be successful.
If your strategy is unclear or undefined then it will be virtually impossible to effectively run the business. But if it is clear and coordinated, then it will be the platform to help share knowledge about customers in a consistent way that elevates the perspective of everyone. To succeed, customers need salespeople to bring them added perspective.