I just got finished reading a new book by a friend of mine. It's called The Business Battlecard, and the author is Paul O'Dea, who was my co-author on the Select Selling book that we published in 2004. Paul is CEO of Select Strategies, a strategy consulting practice, and since he sold his last company, he's been involved in helping the leadership of companies make growth happen. Though the book is targeted at company management, the lessons therein are of significant value to every one in sales who wants to grow revenue.
You may recall my previous post which detailed the results of a survey I ran to determine which of four sales skills I listed was ranked as the most important. Of the four listed (Negotiation, Presenting a Value Proposition, Business Acumen, and High Impact Questioning), the skills ranked as most important was Presenting a Value Proposition.
As I mentioned in that post, one of the results I found most interesting was the difference between Sales and Marketing on the importance of Presenting a Value Proposition as a skill for sales professionals. As you will see from the chart below, only 25% of those who identified themselves are marketing professionals felt that this was the most important, while of their counterparts in Sales, 54% felt this was most important. Is this because Marketing believes this is their job, or that the messages they provide are perfect, or is it a reflection of that old chestnut of mis-alignment between sales and marketing, where the sales folks think they need to do it because (in their opinion) Marketing doesn’t know what works when you’re at the coal-face? In any case, I believe that each sales person has a responsibility to be comfortable in presenting their value proposition to a customer, clearly and concisely, and that's what Paul's book helps with.
The approach adopted in The Business Battlecard is very straightforward, and sets out a process that company leadership can follow to lead their company in the everyday battle of business growth. Paul uses five simple but crucial question that, in my opinion, every sales person must be able to answer - not just in a generic way - but customized for each customer, or customer segment.
- What do you want to be famous for?
- Who are your selected customers?
- Where is the measurable value?
- Why should customers choose you rather than competitors?
- How will you get your product to market?
When we (at The TAS Group) provide sales effectiveness solutions to our customers, we look at how to embody these questions, and their answers in the Dealmaker Sales Performance Automation platform. For example, we look to guide our customer to determine what we call Unique Business Value (What do you want to be famous for?) and the Solution Fit (Who are your selected customers?) and so on, and through this process craft strategies to help grow revenue.
With my aforementioned bias stated, I'd strongly recommend that you take a look at The Business Battlecard as you plan for 2010. But if you don't read the book, then at least think about each of the core questions above. Before you meet your next prospect, think about What you want to be famous for? What is it you want the customer to think when you leave? They say that people can remember three things - plus or minus two. So, if there's one message you want them to get from your meeting - what is that? What do you want to be famous for? It's worth the effort, because if you don't know, then it's unlikely that they will either.