Graham Hawkins; author of “The Future of The Sales Profession” was the keynote speaker at the recent Sales Masterminds Forum, part of a series of events Harlow Group are sponsoring along with Salesforce and Linkedin.  I spoke with Graham after the event, where we spoke about many topics facing the IT sales profession.  In this section of the interview, we discussed the vendor rationalisation movement with the modern enterprise technology buyer.

You can watch the full interview here

Get “The Future of the Sales Profession“, by Graham Hawkins here

Come along to the next Sales Masterminds Forum on August 9!

 

We are delighted to be sponsoring this series of forums which are facilitated by Sales Masterminds APAC.

These event are designed to help sales leaders like you to improve the professionalism and success of your sales organisation.

The presenter for this one is Cian McLoughlin. Cian has invested the last 6 years in conducting win-loss reviews for his clients and has incredible insight into how customers make their buying decisions, and why they select one supplier over another.

Why will it be valuable for you?

Cian will will leverage case studies to reveal the science behind decision making and why human biology has such a profound influence on the reasons we say ‘yes’ to some requests and ‘no’ to others. I am sure it will help you and your sales team to position better to win.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion which will address your questions.

On top of all this it is a great opportunity for you to network with your sales leadership peers.

I hope to see you on August 9.

To your sales success!


 
P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.

 

 

 

Youtube machine transcript of the above video:
every business on the planet is now
trying to arrange their vendors into a
vendor stack that’s efficient and so if
you’re a vendor sales person and making
the assumption that everybody can buy
from you think again
hi my name’s Steve Ludlow curator of the
hallo group sales leadership blog today
I have with me Graham Hawkins
thanks for joining us today great for
the sleeve like you know grain is an
author of two sales books most recent
one is the future of the sales
profession and so for those that don’t
know Graham grains got 28 years sales
leadership experience predominantly in a
tech space
author of two books as we’ve just said
recently completed an MBA and actually
doing some maturing and at the RMIT I
believe that’s correct what you’re
lecturing on yeah look a range of sales
and marketing based topics particularly
focused around procurement so and the
changes that we’re seeing there okay
from a sales point of your procurement
from a sales point of make a fantastic
interesting and to those that don’t know
Graham
actually was the keynote speaker at the
Sowers masterminds event that hallowed
group along with LinkedIn and Salesforce
sponsored it early on in the week which
is what brought us together today and
fantastic peanut and I picked up a lot
from it I think you said how would you
pick up a lot from it I’ve heard a lot
of content in space but there really was
quite a bit that I picked up from it and
I think the the first thing that really
stood out to me is the concept we were
speaking about with regard to extensions
studies where they’ve discovered that
amongst the sort of enterprise market is
a lot of being the rationalization going
on yeah and and you spoke a lot about
tier two and Tier three vendors being
pretty vulnerable in that environment
and hasseneen to qualify in or out
opportunities based upon this vendor
rationalization
I guess movement and how a second and
third tier vendors you know supposed to
you spoke about qualifying the mineral
rights and that we just give up on that
sort of enterprise market and go for
tier two and Tier three clients or
having you to see that we should be
managing that as specialist providers in
the market yeah look it’s a really good
question the first thing we have to
acknowledge is that everybody is looking
to try and do more business with less
vendors so rationalization of vendors is
real everyone’s trying to drive cost out
of their businesses and managing you
know vast sums of vendors can be
extremely time consuming and costly so
every business on the planet is now
trying to arrange their vendors into a
vendor stack that’s a
and so if you’re a vendor salesperson
and making the assumption that everybody
can buy from you think again because in
many cases your territory is not as big
as you think it is during the research
phase of writing the book Steve I
interviewed a lot of buyers and lots of
them now put in place a policy for in
fact blocking off panel purchases so in
other words if you’re not already on the
panel you’ll never get on the panel
because they’ve got the door shut
basically so as a salesperson if you
don’t qualify that really really quickly
you can spin your wheels in an account
for eighteen months only to find right
at the end of the sales process when
you’re just about to get over the line
and get an order that someone says no
sorry we’re on you know we’ve blocked
off panel purchases so to your question
if you’re a tier 2 or a tier 3 vendor
looking to try and get into a new
account then you need to quickly find
out if they have got that kind of policy
in place yeah
if you’re a tier 3 vendor a single
private vendor then you need to work out
who the prime vendors are or the tier
ones and possibly align yourself with
one of those as a channel into the
account now you mentioned the Accenture
procurement report 2016 what they found
the key finding really was simply that
all businesses will align themselves
with a small number of strategic
suppliers in order to reduce risk and to
reduce cost sure so you know this is a
very real challenge now for the modern
vendor salesperson is how do you find
how do you identify which accounts to go
after and how do you make sure you’re
not wasting your time on ones where the
door is locked
yeah so as a specialist provider and if
you currently have a direct to market
strategy and you’re a salesperson or
sales leader working within that
function they had the ability to remodel
a go to market strategy to start
partnering with the IBM’s of the world
or fugitives or whatever that might look
like yeah is in your view in the tech
space at least would it make more sense
for these organizations to sort of
reframe who they’re going after and look
at the profile of the typical t1
enterprise that’s looking at this vendor
rationalization
and and perhaps go after the mid-market
instead where they’re still looking at
innovating and expanding upon the way
they do business so that they can
challenge the t ones
hence looking at new inventors to
partner with in order to get a
competitive advantage yes 100% look in
every facet of go to market planning we
are we are being forced to get more
sophisticated and more targeted yeah I
think everyone agrees so when you sit
down and you do your your target
addressable market your market sizing
and you’re looking at your segmentation
plan you do your buyer personas you
follow that up with your ideal customer
profile yeah all of that needs to be
very sophisticated now you can no longer
afford to just go scattergun or you know
spray-and-pray as I call it yeah those
days are over so to your point we have
to get very very focused on which
segments which target customers you know
which buyers are our ideal sweetspot
type buyers and qualify them very very
hard I said to a client of mine recently
who is really just a very reactive
vendor responding to everything that
came along every proposal yeah I said
look if you haven’t got a very clear
view of the buyer and all of the you
know potential opportunities that you
have to sell to that customer you need
to qualify out and walk away it
strategically withdrawal or I call it
yeah that is you’re going to work out I
guess where you’re most competitive as
well just to be in the race is enough
you need to know that you’re going to be
in that top 2 correctly that was a
significant point of difference correct
and we hear it a lot as recruiters but
I’m sure you know many people viewing
hear this a lot from the initial person
they may approach that looked you’re not
only our vendor panel you know being
presented with a huge obstacle around
that and and that we’re not reviewing
that for the next 12 months is that the
other now on the back of that you hear a
lot of persistent sales people push
through that file at significant I guess
problem or a differentiator in their
product to bypass our procurement or to
be sponsored up if the salesperson to
listen to this each time and back away
early on in the process I could see a
lot of sales people walking away from a
lot of opportunity that potential
they’re competitors that may be more
persistent or innovative to find a way
in so how does a salesperson themselves
know the difference between a supplier
that’s just giving you the lines to get
rid of you and one that genuinely is
going to have that robot 18 months down
the track as you say look I think that’s
part of what separates great salespeople
from you know the also-rans yeah and
that is the ability to quickly work out
whether or not you’re a chance to you
know find a path of least resistance in
on the counter yeah so you make a good
point
qualifying very quickly and upfront
whether or not you have any way into the
account is critical so yeah being able
to strategically withdraw if you need to
or find a way another angle in you know
you talk about the different military
type strategies frontal attack flanking
to the side and all that kind of thing
you know when I did test planning years
ago we talked about all these different
strategies and at the end of the day as
a salesperson you may have to go and
actually align yourself with one of the
few ones an IBM or a HP in the
technology space in other industries it
might be one of the bigger players in
order to sell to the end-user you might
need to go in by a different channel
yeah that’s the way it is now
you

 

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If you work with a sales director, please surgically remove his/her iPhone or BlackBerry and place this article under their ubiquitous device of preference.

If you are a sales director, please close your spreadsheet on head count, stop sweating the forecast and read on:

Here are my top 4 tactics for winning ICT sales in uncertain markets.

1 Talk it up.
There are a number of people of position who seem determined to dampen the mood more than Julia Gillard at a press conference. Yes, we know you have to cover your backside at forecast time, but there ARE sales to be won out there and your team needs you to be positive, direct and encouraging. They are watching how you respond to the situation and will follow accordingly.

2. Turbo Performance Management
Not the little blue pills on the bedside table …..of your CFO! I mean real performance management of your sales team. Re-visit territories, re-jig quotas, get rid of the perennial underachievers you’ve been hedging on for a while and do the analytics.Situational & Behavioral Interviewing for the Sales Profession

3. Avoid going to the wrong Wel
Everyone loves going to the same accounts in the same verticals because it’s kind of comfy and we know they like that we just won the cricket against India and their preference is coffee with two sugars.

However they may not be the clients with the budget or the need any more

This is the time to totally re-assess who needs you right now, who needs your system that reduces Capex by 30%, your new integrated software or new tools that cut client head count by 20%. They may be clients you’ve never dealt with before, and a fresh look from the clients perspective in the current climate may uncover totally new avenues and channels of revenue.

4. Lead. Lead. Lead
There are opportunities to lead from the front now – that is drive the sales cycle on more than a couple of real deals. In the past few months, here are some of the reasons I’ve overheard as to why sales directors couldn’t do this.

‘I’m too busy working on strategy and getting the forecast right.’
‘I have to work on managing up right now.’
‘I am working on getting my average performers over the line.’
‘I’m a big believer in empowerment and don’t want to come in over the top of my sales manager/team leader on these deals.’
In my experience, sales directors in the ICT industry are some of the most skilled, professional dealmakers in the country and yet, for these and other reasons they may be held back from using their vast expertise to drive sales. 2012 is the perfect opportunity to be spending a significant chunk of time truly leading, not directing.

Elliot Epstein – CEO | Salient Communication
P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.

          Author Profile

Elliot Epstein - CEO at Salient CommunicationElliot Epstein

Elliot Epstein is the CEO of Salient Communication. Elliot has trained and coached over 3000 people throughout the Asia Pacific Region and is a sought after keynote speaker on Sales, Negotiation, Leadership and Presentations. Elliot has an impressive list of testimonials from the likes of Computershare, MYOB, HP, CBA and Ericsson and has spoken at over 300 conferences and conducted over 450 programs. -view Elliot’s posts

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Situational & Behavioral Interviewing
for the Sales ProfessionHarlow Group Whitepaper

Sales Managers are met with the ultimate challenge when interviewing sales people. Underequipped, rarely with any education in HR, they are interviewing the best interviewees there are; sales people! What questions should you be asking these candidates in order to understand whether or not they can perform the tasks of the position and ultimately achieve budget? How do you tailor these questions to suit your company and this particular position? Furthermore, how do you cut through the sales speak and find out if this person is genuine and has achieved targets in the past? This white paper answers all of the above.
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I learned a valuable lesson a few years back.  I was managing a sales team of thirteen B2B sales people in the recruitment industry (They weren’t quite as green as Gary’s list, but we had a few rookies in the mix).  We had a Monday morning breakfast meeting every week where we would talk about the week that was, how we are tracking for the quarter, the plan for the week ahead etc…  Following a period of over-performance, I would tell the team about how great we were doing and pump up the individuals who performed well etc…. So to, after a ‘slower’ results period, I would talk to the team about how we as a team were underperforming and what we all need to do to correct the situation, but remaining vigilant in giving recognition to the top performers. Situational & Behavioral Interviewing for the Sales Profession

The problem was this: Although a team is a team, when things are going badly, not ‘everyone’ is to blame.  So to sit your team down as a whole and tell them they need to pull up their socks, is not an ideal thing for the ‘top performers’ to be a part of.  The message you’re giving to those top performers is inconsistent with their results. “Why do I have to listen to this, I doubled my budget last month!” they may think to themselves.  I learned during an exit interview with one of my better performers that he felt exactly this way. 

If you have a sustained period of underperformance, the message can also get very old and have a detrimental impact on morale across the group, including your top performers. 

The other down side to addressing the entire team with negative messaging such as this is that you give underperformers an excuse: “Oh, so we’re all underperforming. It must just be a tough market.  Although I would like to improve my situation, I don’t feel any pressure to, because we are all struggling. He can’t sack all of us”.  I learned that ‘misery loves company’ and it can breed. 

I’ve since learned to isolate negative messages to those that need to hear them.  This saves the top performers from needing to hear about it and tends to ensure that underperformers have less company and make fewer excuses.  This creates more expectation on them to correct their situation and in my experience, they are far more likely to do so in this environment.  The top performers are also happier and feel more recognised.  The entire team has a more upbeat place to work, resulting in better retention and engagement across the board and higher morale.



P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.


Free Download:
Situational & Behavioral Interviewing
for the Sales ProfessionHarlow Group Whitepaper

Sales Managers are met with the ultimate challenge when interviewing sales people. Underequipped, rarely with any education in HR, they are interviewing the best interviewees there are; sales people! What questions should you be asking these candidates in order to understand whether or not they can perform the tasks of the position and ultimately achieve budget? How do you tailor these questions to suit your company and this particular position? Furthermore, how do you cut through the sales speak and find out if this person is genuine and has achieved targets in the past? This white paper answers all of the above.
This free white paper is currently in the final stages of preparation.

 

Register here to receive the White Paper when it is first released

 

Your Email (the white paper will be sent to your inbox)

Your Full Name (required)


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