Any top golfer will profess that their caddy’s timely tips are what makes a good game great. Your reps may not have the right tools in place to successfully navigate a buyer’s process.
Why does this matter? Standard one-size-fits-all sales methodologies no longer work. Competitors can license the same sales methodologies from the same vendors you can, so there is no competitive advantage to be had by adopting the latest sales methodology from the sales training industry.
To increase deal sizes, improve win rates and shorten sales cycles, you need to a custom, proprietary sales process/methodology built to fit your unique industry, product and company. Before ripping out a sales process, consider the impact of adding supporting Job Aids. Not having the right support is substantial — elongated sales cycles, lowered win rates, low margin transactions, unbundled deals, and increased customer attrition. As a companion resource to this article, answer the nine sales process evaluation questions on pages 280 – 281 of the annual workbook. Once you answer those questions, leverage this article to evaluate the role of job aid tools to fill the gaps.
The good news is there is something that can be done to fill gaps quickly, no matter what sort of sales process you have in play at the moment.
What is a sales process Job Aid?
Any sales process worth its salt has Job Aids. Job Aids are the tools, templates, presentations, sales collateral, and assessment guides used by sales reps and management to help close deals. The purpose of a Job Aid is to facilitate the prospect’s/customer’s buying journey such that they reach a defined ‘exit criteria’ for a given phase in the sales process. Each exit criteria indicates a buyer has progressed in their decision-making process towards a purchase.
A sales process job aid has to be deployed at a certain point in a sales campaign. This focus on enabling the buyer’s psychology is a key facet of a good Job Aid. Job Aid designers often use Blooms’ taxonomy – to ensure they accurately match a Job Aid to the right point in buyer’s evolution, from Awareness to Consideration to Preference to Intent.
The whole concept of Job Aids was first popularized by Keith Eads in his book ‘The New Solution Selling’. In his book, Eads emphasizes that sellers need the “right tool , applied in the right way, at the right time”. This captures the essence of how a good sales process should deploy its Job Aids – identify the tools, templates, and scrums that the sales team can use consistently to advance a sale.
Types of Job Aids
There are internal Job Aids (those use typically between a sales rep and their manager or by the whole sales team). Internal Job Aids never make it to the customer or prospect. An example of this is a Call Plan.
There are also external Job Aids which are viewed by the customer/prospect. These often reflect input from the Marketing department, who ensures that look & feel, content, and messaging all represent the company/solution in the most compelling fashion. An example of an external Job Aid is a Sponsor Letter.
What to do Next?
If you are a sales professional using a sales process without a complete set of tailored Job Aids, the question is, “what should I do about it?” Here is a quick Get Well Plan to consider:
1. Identify all the current ‘official’ Job Aids in use (if any)
2. Conduct an inventory of all informal Job Aids being used by the more successful sales executives in the company
3. Determine what phases in the sales cycle are the ones where most of the deals are getting stuck
4. Look at the List of Sales Process Job Aids and see which ones might enable that phase in the sales process
5. Start building new Job Aids, one at a time, to facilitate the buyer’s journey
6. Deploy each Job Aid inside of the CRM system so that sales reps can get to it easily and there is only one ‘gold copy’ of the Job Aid
If you would like to have an introductory meeting with me, we can spend our time evaluating your sales process. Come see me at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. In advance of the meeting we can secret shop your sales force and sit down with emerging best practices and review the gaps together. The Studio is a safe haven for learning and after just a few days clients leave with confidence and clarity on what they need to do to grow revenue and how to do it.
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