The 6 Moments of Truth for Sales Effectiveness-Part 2

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Mike Kunkle

Review of Part 1

In the first post in this series, I wrote about:

  • the top-producer analyses I’ve done over the years and what I learned
  • how I’m now starting to share what I’ve learned from analyzing “The 16-Percenters,” or the remaining producers in the top 20 percent after you remove the top 4 percent
  • the adaptive sales methodology that I’m writing, based on these producers
  • the resulting “6 Moments of Truth for Sales Effectiveness,” at which these 16-Percenters excel.

The 6 Moments of Truth for Sales Effectiveness

© 2018, Digital Transformation, Inc. & Mike Kunkle

 

In this post, we’ll begin to discuss the 6 moments, one-by-one, to call out the key differentiators in each that you can use to improve sales performance, starting with Prospecting.

Prospecting

Based on the proliferation of appalling prospecting approaches that I endure personally, hear about from other buyers, and see in the market in general, I've concluded that truly professional and savvy sales prospecting must be one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Done well, it’s also a massive differentiator.

While entire books have been written on this topic, I’ll do my best to hit some important highlights, and refer you to some outstanding resources.

Without getting into specific approaches (which I do here, if needed), here is some advice that should help you or your sales team improve your results with prospecting.

Know Your Buyer Personas

Start with understanding the buyer personas who buy your products and services. Understand their role, what they do, the problems they face which you might resolve, the objectives they have which you might support, and how their success is measured (the metrics that matter most to them).

Focus on Problems not Products

Based on that information, develop a buyer-centric/problem-focused/problem-solving prospecting approach vs. a seller-centric/product-focused approach. Demonstrate empathy and value to buyers by tailoring to what matters to them, rather than product-pitching.

Scan for Sales Signals

Use the above problems as Sales Signals or Trigger Events, along with the other Trigger Events that are appropriate for what you sell. Set up alerts for these, when possible.

Go Case-Based with Outcomes

Prepare examples of use cases or customers for whom you’ve solved the problem you’re approaching prospects about, with the outcomes you’ve delivered. Use these in your messaging. If you have it, use data or research to connect dots and share pertinent insights.

Go Omnichannel

Use social (especially LinkedIn), email, phone, text, events, online communities, associations, other “watering holes” where your buyers congregate. Fish where the fish are. Whenever possible, get a favorable introduction or referral, capitalizing on relationships to gain entrance to new contacts.

All that said, consider email and phone your best tools for driving pipeline quickly. You can source and nurture on social, but selling there requires a different approach and finesse (don’t connect and immediately “pounce and pitch”). See this for more on digital selling.

One-Eyed Beats Blind

Don’t prospect blind. “Cold” calling means making a call the other party doesn’t expect. It doesn’t mean a blind, stupid call.

Research the company, your prospect, and understand their role and what problems they might be having you can solve. This doesn’t need to be hours (and don’t use this as an excuse to never pick up the phone), but for a complex B2B enterprise sales to the executive level, should be more than a few minutes. The higher on the food chain you call, the more time you might need to invest. If the company is public, review a recent 10-K, especially the Business and Risk Factors sections, as well as financials, if it’s pertinent to what you sell and the outcomes you enable. And of course, see what they’re doing on LinkedIn, at a minimum.

Even if you’re calling a lead based on scoring and things like repeat website visits and white paper downloads, don’t call without deeper preparation. It shows respect and will demonstrate your commitment and business acumen.

Prepare to Resolve Concerns

You know the concerns your prospects are likely to raise. Prepare for them. And follow your company’s sales methodology, or if you don’t have one for resolving concerns, use a process such as:

  • Acknowledge the concern with empathy
  • Question to understand, weigh & isolate the concern
  • Categorize the concern:
  • Disinterest
  • Distortion (incorrect facts)
  • Disbelief
  • Disadvantage
  • Formulate your best response based on the category
  • Deliver your response
  • Check for acceptance

Sell a Process for Determining Whether You Can Help

Unless you absolutely know based on research that you can help, take a consultative approach. Tell them that you’ve helped others facing similar issues and cite how, but tell them you don’t know what you can do for them yet, until you explore further. Set an appointment to do that. Don’t minimize it with the time-worn “just 15 minutes” unless it’s true or a cutesy “9.5 minutes.” You don’t have to use the time for full qualification and discovery, either, just the amount of time it takes for the average person to determine if spending more time together makes sense. If they spend more time, it’s because they want to.

While it’s difficult to add value in a short post to such a complex topic, I hope these ideas help you rethink how you or your team are prospecting and start your journey toward higher levels of sales effectiveness.

Next time, we’ll talk in detail about Sales Call Planning. Until then, here are the additional resources I mentioned earlier.

Resources

For more detail on both ineffective and effective prospecting approaches, see these two posts I wrote on LinkedIn Publisher:

 

And, check out these books on prospecting, from others who teach how to get results:

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