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About This Episode
Sales is an art form.
It’s the mantra heard round the world.
But can sales ever be a science?
How would engagement and the sales cycle change if you could create a process that worked as well for seasoned reps as it did up and comers?
Our guest on this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast was Jacco vanderKooij, Founder of Winning By Design, and he suggests that sales engagement, especially in the SaaS world, is achieved best through science, metrics, and processes.
Jacco is a world-class sales trainer who helps businesses use these kinds of processes to drive growth.
Here’s the highlights from our interview.
Sales Engagement Happens When You Solve A Customer’s Problem
For Jacco, sales engagement has changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years.
In the past, engagement would like the first 30-60 days after clients signed their contract. It was the deployments and delivery of software and services, but would end once that initial period wrapped up.
When it came to who was a greater risk, it was the buyer who was totally on their own after the end of deployment services–all their money had been offered up front.
These days, when talking about engagement in regards to SaaS contracts, that engagement period is ongoing as long as you are continually upselling, renewing, cross-selling, upgrading, etc.
Buyers are often looking at month-to-month subscriptions and contracts, which means the risk now sits with the seller, who need to continue that engagement to continue seeing growth–it’s all part of a risk shift market.
Jacco actually believes that the entire sales engagement process is predicated on the fact that your customer has a problem and it’s once you solve that problem, and continue to offer solutions, that the engagement magic happens.
“All the great things happen after you successfully help a customer solve a problem.” – Jacco vanderKooij
Sales Cycles Don’t End At Closing
A sales cycle doesn’t end at closing, or what Jacco calls the “mutual commitment”.
Taking a step back, there are three events that have to happen before that mutual commitment can lead to a multi-year engagement.
It’s at the selection stage where the customer decides to make a commitment with you and true engagement can begin.
After that, engagement looks like these three events:
- Successful onboarding
- Achieving impact
- Measurable growth
Why Superstar Sales People Aren’t That Super
It used to be that you could count on your superstar sales people to carry the weight of your quotas–you may have 20% of your sales account for something like 80% of your business.
These days, that’s not good enough. Jacco would even say that there are no true superstars in the SaaS sales world.
Your company needs to start acting like performers at all levels matter, which means finding consistency in performance across your sales team.
That’s the theory behind Jacco’s mantra of finding the science side of sales and introducing processes that are blueprints for success, no matter how many years of sales you have under your belt.
Jacco’s Key Moments In The Sales Process
While this list is not comprehensive, here are some of the key moments that can be blueprinted and reproduced in any sales process to bring consistency across your performers:
- First contact – the initial outreach and engagement with customer
- Discovery (or “diagnose”) – what is the problem you need to help them solve
- Alignment (or “prescription”) – what is your solution their problem
- Assisting the buy – how can you make this solution fit
- Proposal and trade (not negotiate) – the terms and conditions of commitment
These are the process steps that can be replicated, whether you’ve been in the game for 20-30 years, you’re fresh out of business school.
If you’re looking to improve your revenue as well as the caliber of your sales reps, these are the key moments you need to teach.
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