COO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
Global sales expert Matt Dixon has one important thought to share with all of us. There is an evolution in sales happening right now and it begins with insight selling.
Traditionally, Sales Methodologies have dictated how companies approached customers. A set of guiding principles on how to behave during and in-between different sales stages have been the go-to strategy for closing deals. Such conventional methodologies focus on hitting a set number of targets.
A more useful approach perhaps focuses on increasing sales ‘effectiveness’. This involves understanding roadblocks and leveraging opportunities in order to accurately forecast based on information. Capturing key, intelligent insights is essential to translating raw data into something actionable/ functional.
Time for a Mind Shift
In ‘The Changing Role of Technology in Key Account Management’ webinar featuring Forrester, Joshua Gregg, Vice President Strategic Accounts from the Qt Company, spoke about this transition from Sales methodologies to Sales Insights.
“I really remember not using any CRM and doing account planning on Excel spreadsheets. And then we kind of got really fancy and started using PowerPoint and Word Documents. We went from the bar napkin to PowerPoint pretty quickly. And, we just became faster and more effective.”
With advancing technology, even faster insights are possible. You only need to grow beyond making your Account Planning on PowerPoints and Excel Sheets. As much information as you can get from your CRM, using that data effectively should be the priority. If one is to lean on the data, it also needs to be accurate. While tribal knowledge forms a big part of selling and account management, its digitization has opened new doors now. An insights-based sales approach with newer technology has led to an increase in opportunities.
“It took maybe 15 to 20 years of selling and different roles within an organization to get into the sweet spot of strategic account management. Now, I think you can do that much faster,” says Joshua Gregg.
Challenges of Traditional Sales Methodologies
- It takes people a long time to be coached into developing specific skills.
- Resistance to adopting newer technologies.
- Reliance on sales ‘superheroes’ who manage the best accounts.
- Depending on individuals, which leaves the company lost if that person quits.
How Insights & Data-Driven Account Planning Changes the Game
- The challenge is in coaching people to develop skills that would previously take multiple years to learn, and to adopt technology that is more powerful and more effective. Joshua Gregg refers to it as ‘embracing the assist’.
- Technology that is data-driven and insights based is an assist that will help the sales team be more effective. The goal these days is to not just be service providers to customers, but become their trusted advisors with more data and information.
- Customer Insights enables understanding their business better than the customers themselves do a lot of times. Sharing Account Plans and having mutual growth conversations with customers with compelling data to back it up ensures that a strong, long-term relationship is built.
- Shifting to an insights-based selling approach, reduces dependence on sales superheroes. Technology bridges the gap between rookies and sales heroes, and makes everyone collaborate.
- The challenge of replacing a sales superhero, the tribal knowledge they possessed is no longer a debilitating concern.
- Tribal knowledge can become enterprise memory with digital Key Account Management and tell a story of the client’s needs. This will enable the Account Management team to also find new ways to meet those customer needs.
- Performance and ability take over to help customers move forward. Sales teams, in hand with advancing technology, also innovate better.
- Teams can now function across different verticals and manage different accounts with more fluidity. For Sales Leaders, this gives an opportunity to leverage resources effectively across the business.
- Insights-based selling and Account Planning also helps you discover blind-spots in your strategy with which you can further create value.
- DemandFarm’s Account Planner is designed to help enterprises create an annual plan for each key account with clear goals and objectives using both qualitative and quantitative insights. Find out more about it here.