Sales Enablement – Building a Powerful Sales Deck
Selling has evolved over the past few years and as a sales driven organisation, I am sure that you want to stay appraised of any sales innovation and keep an eye on new ways to remain relevant, in the markets you serve. That is why, any sales driven organisations needs to develop a powerful “Predictable Sales Process”, which includes connecting sales applications and assembling an effective “Sales Deck”.
The Modern Sales Environment
To be successful in sales today, requires a mix of traditional face-to-face selling, combined with technology, to assist your sales efforts. The ability for sales organisations to execute at scale, depends on how well you combine your traditional sales efforts with various supportive technologies, such as:
- Using Social media to connect with these customers and future customers
- Using Social media advertising to create awareness around your product and service
- Email campaigns to show expertise and how you can integrate into your customers businesses
- Support materials, to move each sale to completion and show hoe you can become an additional resource to your customers and future customers
- Effective sales info and sales resources to foster partnerships with your customers and future customers
“Predictable Sales Process”
All sales driven organisations realise that by adopting a consistent sales methodology or “Predictable Sales Process”, where they document all the best sales methods, used within their organisation. An effective Predictable Sales Process positions businesses to more effectively communicate their value proposition to their customers. This documented “Predictable Sales Process”, takes the best sales practices, as executed by your top sales professionals and makes them available to the rest of your sales team. This means that you no longer need to rely on a few super stars to achieve your sales targets every year.
Your documented “Predictable Sales Process” takes all the best sales practices in your organisation and documents them, for use by your entire sales team. By collating and documenting your “Predictable Sales Process”, you enable your entire sales team to optimise their daily sales efforts. This means that more of your sales team members will achieve their sales targets every year.
In a practical sense, your “Predictable Sales Process” is a sales model, which can be used by any member of your sales team, to replicate the success of your top sales professionals.
This documented process (Map or recipe for sales success), supports all sales team members to replicate the success of your top performers to do the following:
- Identify your perfect prospect (Future Customer)
- Identify and solve customer challenges
- Correct Solution identification
- Creating an unforgettable customer experience
- Understanding how to identify Cross and Up-selling opportunities
- Closing deals
- Understanding how to integrate into your customers businesses, so that you can become and additional resource to them
- Bolstering customer loyalty
Always design and document a “Predictable Sales Process”, which aligns with your perfect customers purchasing or buying journey. An effective “Predictable Sales Process” maps out every stage of your customers buying journey, so that you can build an effective process to support your customers to buy, with confidence.
An effective “Predictable Sales Process”, must consider the following:
- It must be clearly defined and documented
- It must focus on your customers buying journey
- It must be repeatable and simple to replicate
- It must be predictable, in other words it should result in a predictable, positive outcome
- It must be directed to satisfy your customers “GOALS”
- It must be designed and documented to ensure that the outcomes are “Measurable”
- Each customers buying journey is specific to them, as such your “Predictable Sales Process”, must be “Adaptable”, so that it can be tailored to suite each customers unique circumstances.
Any sales process, which lacks any of the above criterion, will perform at a disadvantage in the new highly competitive market place.
Creating your “Predictable Sales Process” Map
Organising and documenting your “Predictable Sales Process”, requires you to build a well-designed “Predictable Sales Process” Map.
- Start by listing all, possible stages within your customers buying process
- List all the possible customer touch points in your workflow (Sales Pipeline)
- Connect all the steps in your “Predictable Sales Process” to point 1 and 2 above
- Note possible metrics to evaluate how each sales team member is performing against your new “Predictable Sales Process”
- Expected duration to complete each task
- Transaction value or volume, expected by deal
- Number of new leads required at each stage, to ensure that your sales team achieves it sales quota.
- Measurement of any lost customers, with reasons for this , so that you can build a strategy to regain them.
- This info also supports you not to make the same mistakes in the future.
- Measurement criterion, which ensure that your sales team are performing the right daily activities, required to achieve the desired sales outcomes
- Each stage must be built, with associated specific daily activities
- Keep adding daily activities, until you have completed all the steps within your “Predictable Sales Process”.
Creating an Effective “Sales Deck”
Even the best designed and documented “Predictable Sales Process”, will not be effective, if you do not support your sales team with an effective “Sales Deck”. As sales driven organisations, who have adopted an effective “Predictable Sales Process” have realised, that by integrating technology enablers, into their sales process, they are able to amplify the impact their “Predictable Sales Process” exponentially. Your biggest challenge when developing your “Sales Decks” , is choosing which solutions to integrate and which to leave out.
Common mistakes made when Developing “Sales Decks”
- Listing product features, instead of telling a story about how your organisation, its products and services will support your customers to optimise the following:
- Improve their profitability
- Optimise efficiencies
- Eliminate a challenge
- Provide a better solution
- Reduce costs
- Overloading customers and prospects, with too much information
- Not providing the correct documents, sales resources or sales information at the right stage in the buying process
Building your “Sales Deck”
When building your “Sales Deck” consider the following:
- Create and document a powerful storyline (Narrative) about your products
- Collect all the available sales resources, content and sales information
- Create a central system for storing al your sales data, info and sales resources
- The best place for storing your sales content, sales info and sales resources is in the cloud.
- Create an effective indexing system, so that it is easy to find and utilise the right sales info or sales content at each stage within your sales process
- Customise and visualise your content, in a map, so that it is easy to find and utilise.
- This map must be available to all sales professionals as graphic reference, that guides their daily efforts.
- Have different delivery methods, (social media, emails campaigns, eZines, presentations, newsletter etc) to ensure that content is easily understood and so that it can be sent on to other decision makers or influencers within your prospects or customers business.
Create and Document a Powerful “Storyline”
Research shows that your customers and prospects will remember only 10 % of any statistics and 25 % of any images you share with them. Retention increases to a remarkable 60 – 70 %, when meaningful stories are used, to convey your sales information.
In this age of information overload, where we are exposed to huge volumes of information via email, billboards, Social media and traditional media (Radio, TV, print media) stories, it is critical that you create a great narrative, which encourages interest in you, your organisation, products and services.
Within our own organisation, we have seen our completion rate, or closing ratio increase almost three-fold, since we have introduced our new “Sales Deck”. By telling a compelling story around “Sales Enablement” and how we can support organisations build an effective “Sales Process”, has seen a remarkable increase in closed sales. (New long term Partnerships).
Our new storyline has helped us to enjoy success with both existing and new customers. We have created a storyline around how we can support our current and future customers to “Enable” their entire sales team to optimise their sales performance and results, by creating a winning sales process. Since doing this, we have seen a massive increase in sales. I know that you will enjoy the same level of success, when you make the investment towards building your own Storyline.
The secret to make your Storyline work for you, is to make it as compelling as possible. An effective storyline will help you to support your prospects and customers to move through your sales pipeline at an acceptable rate. When you have a great storyline and you deliver a powerful narrative, sales just seem to keep moving through your sales pipeline. Stalled sales seem to become something left in the past.
How do you know, which story to tell?
Knowing, which story to tell, depends on the size of the company and who you are connecting with.
Please see the graphic below, which outlines the correct story to tell and to whom you should tell it:
The above graphic is a guideline only, use your own initiative, based on each specific customers needs and specific circumstances, to decide, which deck to use in each unique customer situation.
The CEO/Managing Director Deck
When designing and documenting the CEO/Managing Director Deck, your goal is to design a deck, which will encourage a high level of buy-in. This will allow the CEO/Managing Director to not only believe in the solution you can provide, but also leave them with an understanding around your organisational vision and mission.
Once you can get the CEO/Managing Director, to see how the solution you provide will serve them and how your vision and mission, is aligned with that of their vision and mission for the future. They will offer positive pressure from the top, to encourage all other stakeholders to accelerate the deal.
See the graphic below, which outlines the process you need to follow when designing and documenting your CEO/Managing Direct Deck
Building your CEO/Managing Director Deck
When designing and documenting your CEO/Managing Director Deck, the most important part of your story is the “OPENING”. This is where you show how big change or changes in the environment have made your organisation, not merely a nice to have, but a necessity
How do you identify the “BIG CHANGE”?
Pick 10 of your top customers and ask them to answer the following questions:
- What changes have you experienced in the following areas:
- Your organisation
- Your markets
- At your customers
- In your environment
- In the world
- What changes or challenges are you facing currently, which could negatively affect your organisations performance?
- What companies do you see as trend setters in your industry and why?
- Are you planning to change the way you approach your markets in the next 12 months?
- Why have these changes been necessary?
- What do you see happening in the future, which may impact how we supply your organisation?
- What could we do better to satisfy the changing circumstances within your organisation and industry?
Once you receive the feedback from your loyal customers, you will start to see patterns. These patterns will serve to help you position your story from the perspective of the buyer.
If I use my own business as an example:
The first part of my narrative starts by highlighting the changes, which have occurred in the sales environment, since the 70’s.
These changes are as follows:
These changes have resulted a need for a new approach to selling, namely “SALES ENABLEMENT”, instead of traditional selling.
- The first thing you will notice is that my narrative does not refer to my physical product, namely “Sales Training”, but instead it speaks to “Sales Enablement”.
- For sales organisations to thrive into the future, they need to stop selling and instead find innovative ways to integrate into their customers businesses, by becoming an additional resource to them.
- This is what “SALES ENABLEMENT” is all about. It is about equipping an organisation with all the sales content, sales info and sales resources they need to:
- Shows your customers how your mission and values, will support their success
- Show customers how your value proposition will serve their unique circumstances.
- Shows them how you can support them to achieve their organisational goals and objectives
- Show your customers how they can enjoy an acceptable ROI
- Show them how you and your organisation can become an additional resource to them
- Show your customers how they need to adapt to change and how your organisation will help them to do that
Why Should your Customers Care?
As you are building your narrative, the next step is to describe in detail “Why Should your Customers Care”? The challenge when describing “Why Should your Customers Care” is found in what economists call “Loss Aversion”. This is the place, where your customers would rather stick to the status quo, rather than risk a possible gain, by opting to change to your organisation as their new supplier.
To combat “Loss Aversion” you must demonstrate how the “Big Change” you cited previously will create both big winners and big losers.
When you show your customers “Why they should care”, you must show them the following:
- Firstly, you need imperative evidence, to show that by adapting to the change, your customers will enjoy a highly positive future.
- On the other hand, by not adapting to the change, will result in an unacceptable outcome.
I will once again use my own organisation as an example:
I use an example around how 52 % of Fortune 500 companies have closed their doors during the past 15 years. This is because they have been slow to adapt to change. In other words, they have not adapted their sales processes, to match the evolving needs of their customers.
IBM as an example, has adapted from a punch card tabulator, to a cognitive data services. They have also adapted their sales process and the narrative, they share with their market to match the changed needs within the markets they serve.
Show a better way
It is at this point that you need to resist the urge to revert to your old way of selling, where you start delivering details around your product or service. If you start a product dump at this point, you will have undone all the work you have done so far. Your prospects won’t have enough context, yet as to why your product or service is the right solution for them.
What you want to do at this juncture is show how by using your product or service your prospect will move from an undesirable state to a more desirable one. Your product or service is ostensibly just a conduit, which will support your customers to move from an undesirable to a desirable state.
I will once again use my own organisation as an example:
My “Sales Enablement” process is a way for organisations to empower their entire sales team with the sales content, sales info and sales resources they need to achieve the best sales results.
- Sales Training is seen as a nice to have, whilst “Sales Enablement”, as described below, outlines everything needed for an organisations sales team to perform optimally.
- We build an organisations entire “Predictable Sales Process”.
- This is a process where we first collate, then document the best sales practices within an organisation, so that all sales professionals can contribute to the overall success of the organisation, not merely a few super stars.
- We support organisations to create their own “Effective Sales Decks”, which supports them to communicate an effective narrative about an organisation, rather than merely a product dump.
- We then coach and train the organisations sales team to adopt these new powerful sales processes.
- We build an organisations entire “Predictable Sales Process”.
Challenges we may face
When building your sales deck for CEO/Managing Directors, it is prudent to explore as many possible challenges as possible. This will equip you to mitigate or eliminate possible objections, before they even come up. As you encounter any new objections (challenges), which come up, you should include these in your sales deck.
As you may have noticed by now, successful sales decks, should follow a storyline. In other words, you should construct your narrative to follow the structure of a story, with a very happy ending. The happy ending to your story, is around how by utilising your product or service, your customers, will be in an optimised state.
Prove you can do it
All customers suffer from “Loss Aversion”, as described previously. They are uncertain, whether you and your product and service will actually deliver as promised. Prospects are always highly sceptical of your ability to keep the commitments you make around how your product or service will help them to:
- Improve their profitability
- Improve efficiencies
- Provide a better solution
- Save them money
This is why the last part of your sales deck (prove you can do it) must provide the best evidence that you can actually deliver as promised.
The best kind of evidence is:
- Video Recorded Testimonials, from very satisfied customers
- Case studies, demonstrating how your product or service delivered as promised
- Referrals from very satisfied customers. Trust transference
- Edification, where very satisfied customers actually tell other prospects, just how great your product or service is
- Running trails to prove how your product or service performs
- Product demonstrations – These need to be delivered in terms of how they will support your customer reach an optimised state.
Director/VP Sales Deck
When designing this deck, remember that this is the “Brass Tacks” deck, which you need to present to the person, who holds the budget. They are the person, who you rely on to actually make the purchase decision. When presenting the Director/VP Deck, your primary goal is to present a solution, which focuses on the ROI, which can be expected. Your secondary objective is to show how to reduce any risk associated with making a purchase from your organisation.
Building your Director/VP Sales Deck
When building your Director/VP Sales deck, you need to focus on the “ROI”, they can expect. Remember that the CEO/Managing Director sales deck focused on the “Big Change” going on in their environment, which may be affecting the organisations performance. On the other hand, the narrative in the Director/VP Sales Deck is built around the cost of any challenge, “TODAY”.
By focusing on how much any challenge is costing your customers and then showing them how your solution, will reduce or eliminate any unnecessary costs, sets your organisation up as a true “CREATOR OF VALUE”. In other words, by selling to the person, who holds the budget in this way, you demonstrate how by using your solution, they have a simple choice to make, as it will save them money in the long run.
Remember that when creating “VALUE”, you need to show the following possible benefits:
- How will your solution improve their bottom line?
- How will you optimise efficiencies?
- How will you reduce costs?
- How will your solution, provide a positive outcome for your customers?
When designing your Director/VP Sales Deck, your opening sets the tone for how you will provide your customers with an optimised ROI. Your opening should allude to ROI, but as you have not yet built your complete narrative, your references to ROI, should be broad and focused on setting the tone for the rest of the narrative, which will follow.
What is the Challenge Faced by your customer?
When meeting with directors/VP you need to first focus on the challenge or pain point experienced by your customer. This allows them to very quickly understand whether you and your organisation have correctly evaluated their needs.
- In the case of Groupon – Prospecting for new customers, which will help your Local Business grow is really hard. Running a business is hard enough, without you still having to focus all your energy on driving new business through your door.
- In the case of my own business, the pain point experienced by organisations, is an ineffective sales team or a sales team, which relies too heavily on a few super stars to deliver each year, so that they can achieve their sales quotas.
- In the case of Salesforce – B2B sales is challenging and it is really easy to lose track of all the deals you are working on. This leads to poor or no follow through at all, which leaves customer frustrated and slows down how quickly deals move through your sales pipeline.
The litmus test to evaluate how well you have identified possible challenges faced by your customers is to ask this question:
“Have you encountered this challenge before?”
When your customers answer they not only answer “YES”, but your question actually initiates a conversation around that specific challenge.
Who has the Challenge?
You want to be able to answer this for two reasons:
- Are you talking to the right person?
- Is your narrative, regarding the challenge relevant, to the person you are talking to?
- In the case of my own business, the right person would be meeting with, is the sales or marketing director.
- They are responsible for sales and usually also hold the budget to facilitate a “Sales Enablement” process
- In the case of an organisation such as TalentBin, the right person would be the HR Director or VP responsible for filing open positions.
- In the case of Salesforce, it would also be the sales or marketing director, as they are responsible for sales efficiency, as this will support revenue growth.
The litmus test to determine, whether you are connecting and communicating with the right person, is:
- Do they control the budget?
- Does their title, match the challenge you are trying to solve?
- Can they pull the trigger and actually make the purchase?
What is the Challenge costing your customer?
As I have stated before, customers suffer from – “Loss Aversion”. In other words, they are hesitant to change anything as they are uncertain that it will result in the benefits, you have described. The easiest way to convince a customer to see how you can support them, is to show them how your solution can do the following:
- Improve profitability
- Reduce costs
- Improve efficiencies
- Offer a better solution
The narrative you need to focus on here is:
“If you invest with us by buying our product or service, you will see a positive return”
The different types of costs, which your customer may encounter:
- Concrete costs – These are possible direct cost savings.
- Your organisation can save them direct costs/item
- Opportunity costs – These are indirect savings our customer will experience as a result of using your solution
- Your solution allows your customer to do things more efficiently or they will optimise their bottom line, if they choose your solution.
- These costs are harder to quantify but are invaluable to show customers value.
- In the case of my own business, our Sales Enablement Solution supports the entire sales team to perform optimally, resulting in more sales professionals contributing to the bottom line, as they achieve their sales quotas.
- In the case of Salesforce, sales professionals are able to use a software solution to help them to become more efficient. In other words, they are able to close more deals, due to their improved efficiency.
- Qualitative costs – These are possible cost savings, due to optimised people performance
- In the case of my own business, my narrative would speak to a more agile sales team, who perform optimally due to the implementation of the new Sales Enablement strategy.
- Qualitative costs are basically cost savings, your customer will earn as a result of a hypothesis around what your product or service can do, based on past experience.
- These cost savings are what I like to call Soft or the hidden ROI.
Once you have done your homework around what any challenge may be costing one of your customers, you will be equipped to present a solution, which creates a better understanding about what opportunity is presented by each customer presents. As each customer is unique, some customers may offer better opportunities than others.
What is missing from the current solution?
When building this part of your narrative, you need to understand all the possible solutions your product or service offers. This requires not only a deep understanding around your product and services solutions, but also requires a thorough understanding about the markets both you and your customer serve. In other words, you need to be crystal clear on what solution they have now and how your solution will make things better.
In the case of my own business, I offer a free, one day mind storming session to support me to get a deep understanding around the pain points my customers are experiencing. This helps me to get a thorough understanding of each customers unique challenges and how my solution can help them.
Sales is no longer about showing up with a canned PowerPoint presentation and delivering a one size fits all solution for each customer. To succeed in sales today requires a tailored approach for each customer. This requires “WORK”. Research is no longer a nice to have. It has become a crucial part of any effective sales process.
Deep knowledge about your solution, your markets and individual customers, is the best way to build your credibility and authority with your customers. When building your narrative, make sure that you build this expertise into your message. Remember that your objective is to become an additional resource in your customers business and to show them how they will optimise their ROI, if they choose your solution.
“Your customers are looking for an additional resource, not merely someone, who has all the answers”.
What has Changed?
When examining “What has Changed”, you need to focus your narrative on:
- How you have pushed things forward and made relevant changes to your product and service, so that it supports your customers to reach an optimised state, after choosing your solution.
- How have you introduced new capabilities to the market and your value proposition, so that customers will enjoy a better ROI?
- What new capabilities have been introduced to the market?
- In the case of LinkedIn, they have provided recruiters with a far better platform for discovering potential talent. It allows recruiters to tap into a massive data base, than they would have access to, if they tried to build a data base organically themselves.
- In the case of my own business, we now provide a complete sales solution, not just sales training.
- This solution does not only focus on teaching sales professionals’ generic sales skills, but instead we focus on the entire sales process. This helps businesses to collate and document the best sales resources within their organisation and share these with the entire sales team. Sales success is no longer reserved for the few sales super stars, but becomes a repeatable skill, which can be performed by all the sales professionals within an organisation.
How will your Solution Help?
As you build the narrative, using this sales deck and you have explained what has changed, so that you can clear a path for your customer to choose your product or service. The next thing you need to do is explain how you have embraced this change, to do something, better than anyone else. As you design your narrative, remember to keep things as simple as possible, so that it is easy for your customer to understand how your solution will serve them.
Making the Director/VP Sales Deck work for you
Remember that the narrative you build, exists independently, of the medium you use to deliver your point (Email campaign, Social media, eZines, print advertising etc). The idea behind creating an effective sales deck for Directors/VP’s is to develop a sales deck, which considers the following:
- Numbers to show a meaningful ROI
- Details around the challenges faced by the organisation
- Identifying the correct person or role within the organisation, who is experiencing the challenge
- Creating meaningful numbers to show what the challenge is costing the organisation
- Identifying what is missing from the current solution
- Identifying, what has changed in the market
- Knowing how your solution will help
- The ability to prove that your solution is better
- Quantifying, how much your solution will cost.
To be effective, everyone in your organisation must be equipped to tell the whole story, as described above.
Solution Sales Deck
Your Solution Sales Deck is designed to drive adoption of your product or service, from the actual users of your “Value Proposition”. Avoid the urge to go straight to delivering a demonstration to these potential users of your product or service. When you do this, you miss the opportunity to build rapport with users and it does not show them how you understand the day to day challenges they face.
Your objective when designing the narrative for the Solutions Sales Deck, is to develop a story driven demonstration. This process helps you to develop a bottom-up adoption process. You get started by first confirming the challenge they may be facing. Then you create a question around this challenge as a starting point. Your solution or demonstration, then highlights how your solution is the answer they are looking for.
When you deliver your demonstration, ensure that you orchestrate your demo as a series of solutions, which address all the challenges you have highlighted. Choose to highlight the actual benefits they can expect to enjoy, when they adopt your solution.
Building your Solution Sales Deck
When building your Solution Sales Deck, it is crucial that you tie product or service benefits to actual challenges, experienced by the people, who will actually work with your product or service. Your sales demonstration must clearly differentiate your product or service and show the user of your product or service, why they should care.
Your opening, when delivering the narrative in your Solutions Sales Deck, should be focused on solving any challenges, experienced by the actual users of your product or service. Your opening sets the tone for delivering a powerful Demonstration of the benefits associated with using your product or service
Confirm the challenge
When meeting with the users of your product or service you need to first focus on any challenges or pain point experienced by the potential users of your product or service. This allows them to very quickly understand whether you and your organisation have correctly evaluated their needs. It also shows them that you are there to support them to optimise their performance and results and make their lives easier.
The litmus test for ensuring that you have uncovered the actual pain points, experienced by users is found when, you see real interest and the users of your product or service get engaged in a meaningful conversation around and challenges they are experiencing.
Limitations of other Solutions
This is “not” an opportunity to bash your competition but is rather an opportunity for you to highlight the limitations of the current solution, in terms of that the users will understand and relate to. Focus on the desired state, after using your product rather than on why their current product or service is limited or ineffective.
Show how your Solution is better
Once again avoid the inclination to bash your competition here. Rather focus on highlighting how the benefits associated with your product will allow them to optimise their performance and results.
How does your Solution work?
Use a narrative to describe how your product or service will serve the end user. In other words, focus on solutions and outcomes, rather than dump product features. As you build the narrative, using this sales deck and you have explained how your product or service will serve them as an end user, so that you can clear a path for the users of your product or service to place pressure from the bottom up, where they request your product or service. As you design your narrative, remember to keep things as simple as possible, so that it is easy for your customer to understand how your solution will serve them.
The purpose of this entire sales deck is around building a powerful narrative for the end users of your product or service, so that they can see the obvious benefits associated with using your product or service.
When you create rapport, by using the narrative as outlined above, before delivering a killer demonstration to the end users of your product or service, the features of your product become less important. The end users see you as an ally and someone, who is there to make their lives easier.
As you craft your demonstration, always remember to make it as humanised as possible. Make it real and demonstrate meaningful benefits. Remember that when you deliver your demonstration, you must only focus on the benefits, which are relevant to that audience. When you focus on too many points, you will lose your audience.
Delivering a Killer Demonstration
Highlight trends, which will impact the end users and how your product or service will actually serve them. Make the demo as human as possible and make it personal. The best demonstration is practical in nature and gets the end users involved. Try as far as possible to allow the end users to experience your product or service for themselves.