Companies today are facing increasingly difficult challenges, stiffer competition and more demanding customer needs in a way unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. As such, investing in, implementing, and relying on a solid sales process can be the difference between leading the market or watching your competitors pass you by. Let’s walk through the importance of sales process, define its relevance to both the vendor and customer, and outline many of the steps involved thus ensuring mutual success.
In this series of four short posts, I’ll look to highlight the phases of a good sales process and discuss what we do at Artemis. I’ll touch on: the sales process defined, discovery, presentation, and the final phase – selection, negotiation, and closing. If you want to learn more, I’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 3: Presentation
Like discovery calls or meetings, presentations start off with an outline of expectations for the call. From there, a brief overview of what was covered previously along with confirmation of alignment should be conducted and the ability for the customer to add or correct any information at that time should be allowed. If new people are brought in from the buying team (which is often the case), proper introductions should be made along with what we like to call “I want/ I need” statements from those newly involved. The objective, if done correctly is to allow for open dialogue and goal alignment across the team.
Let’s be clear, presentations are not for the sales rep to show how great they or their solutions are. It is for the customer and it represents their first critical opportunity to assess fit of the solution or product being presented. Customers should challenge reps on how the solution aligns with their goals and they should try to think of how they would incorporate the solution into their processes. Good reps should ask you questions pertaining to your goals, processes and challenges, confirming every step of the way if what’s being presented can accomplish what you are looking to have accomplished. Customers who say everything looks good or say they have no questions are often doing so because they’re unengaged or feeling overwhelmed with what they’re seeing. On the flip side, those who are more forward and willing to outright state certain things will or won’t work are often the ideal customer and the most proficient buyer. This is a sign of how engaged they are and that they are open to working together on solving a problem should there be a proper fit!
Discoveries and presentations are not linear, nor are they mutually exclusive. They can each happen once in a sales cycle or multiple times with multiple people. The single most important thing to consider, however, both as a sales rep and a customer is that you have full understanding of the solution and there is nothing you are leaving up to assumption. Surprises, let downs, and frustrations all stem from assuming what was meant or shown to be different from reality. Bad sales reps will be ambiguous because they are focused on winning a deal at any expense. Good reps will go the extra mile to ensure nothing is left to chance, again, to ensure project success. If, as a customer, you feel like you don’t have the full picture, ask for clarity. If you don’t get it, ask again. If you still aren’t sure, it is most likely because the rep is being deceptive; watch for this. In most cases, if a rep isn’t transparent, it is for a specific reason and almost always it is to highlight where they are strong and diminish any weakness.
Next up is the last part of the sales process – selection, negotiation, and closing.