During 2010, ES Research Group was retained by Bob Seiler, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PR Newswire. Bob was new at PRN and had determined that deploying a selling methodology was a critical strategy to help support company growth objectives. Elevating selling performance with the relevant training, technology, and reinforcement was required for the company to achieve their long (and shorter) term objectives. Bob knew he had to establish a long-term partnership with a sales performance improvement provider and came to ESR for guidance and assistance with identifying, evaluating, and selecting the right one.*
The project went well. PRN selected Miller Heiman after as thorough an evaluation as we have been part of. Bob is smart, disciplined, and understands what sales effectiveness is-and how to achieve it. Miller Heiman was the right fit for PRN, based on their unique requirements.
Bob was kind enough to give me permission to republish his first internal PRN blog post kicking off the new sales performance improvement initiative. This is what executive-level ownership and sales leadership is all about:
Why do companies deploy a selling methodology and how do sales executives benefit from using one?
While there will always be a certain art to selling, research clearly shows that companies who take a more scientific approach to selling create a significant competitive advantage. However, why would a company want to instill a methodology into the "art of selling?"
I have personally experienced the benefits of using a sales methodology. Revenue increased due to win percentage and average deal size growth. I witnessed an organization benefit from using a common selling vocabulary. Selling behavior changed as sales executives engaged in a different type of conversation more directed around customer concepts and needs. Sales management learned new ways to coach and provide deal strategy feedback that helped progress opportunities along in the sales cycle. In general, the organization was more synchronized around priority deals and resources needed to hit revenue goals.
A sales methodology provides a consistent and objective way to evaluate the status of every deal to help you more quickly identify which opportunities present the highest potential for closing. It will help you assess your progress at every step in the sales cycle, and, if necessary, provide the insight required to ask hard questions before it is too late. Furthermore, when a common approach is utilized everyone benefits, as you are able to gain knowledge from other sales executives' experience that will further inform and refine your selling approach. A sales methodology will provide a consistent and disciplined approach to assess progress and to address unforeseen problems, questions, and risks immediately as they arise. With your new skill set, you are now more informed of how to adjust your selling activities as needed to ensure the opportunity stays on track. It will enable the art or relationship component of selling to flourish based upon sound information that will guide your actions.
Today, buyers are more informed than ever and are more apt to control a sales cycle. Therefore, a sales executive must work harder than ever to ensure that their proposed solution will align to the client buying process. A sales methodology will inform you at every step of the way and ensure you are taking the right steps, or corrective action to achieve success. Miller Heiman's sales methodology is world-class, so let's all look forward to improved win rates, deal size growth, and greater focus on our ideal customer profile.
* Miller Heiman was a very good fit for PR Newswire's requirements along with at least one other provider. A comprehensive and objective requirements definition and provider evaluation process for your company, based upon your unique requirements, will likely result in a different shortlist.