Cultivate your sales culture now to thrive

As businesses continue to emerge from the global pandemic, the disruption and opportunities created point to something significant. A strong organizational sales and growth culture is essential for future long-term success.

This starts with leadership vision, and then having the right people, processes and tools in place. A sales framework can contribute to the culture you want to build.

A sales framework is a professional and repeatable set of processes and skills that will help you differentiate in highly competitive environments, like the one we are experiencing now. There are four basic elements that can help win an client opportunity or build a vertical.

Advisory intelligence

Technology at our fingertips means prospects and clients prefer to do their own research, in advance of contacting you. To differentiate your business, you need intelligence, too.

Intelligence is having relevant data points about your clients’ strategic vision and biggest challenges. From there, it is your role to turn that intelligence into ideas, offering insights and strategies to improve their business.

Identifying the right clients, knowing their biggest challenges and initiatives, and matching those to your unique value is often overlooked in sales. When you work across their business, you can better differentiate your product or service.

Strategic relationships

A growing number of decisions are made by committee, and missing a key relationship could impact a prospect’s or client’s decision to do business with you.

Identify and create relationships with the right decision-makers and influencers. Remember that potential decision-makers and influencers may be in other parts of the organization, or even external.

Compelling ideas

This is your set of proactive strategies to create positive change and earn a prospect’s or client’s business. Because you’ve developed an understanding for the client’s industry, challenges and the key relationships you need, you’re best positioned to be a strategic partner. It’s common for prospects and clients to want an active role in co-creating a solution. When they do, they can see themselves working with you, and you increase your odds of earning their business.

Key commitments

Research shows that 62 percent of business developers fail to ask for a commitment. Often, a mindset shift is necessary. Asking for commitments and closing aren’t the end of the process but the beginning or continuation of the relationship.

They’re about helping your prospect or client make strategic decisions that will positively impact their business. Learn to identify which commitments are needed along the way, and then earn them in a manner that strengthens the relationship.

Identify where your prospect or client may raise concerns and know how to address them. Concerns are a constructive part of business development. It usually means the prospect is actively thinking through how you can work together. The goal is to earn trust and accelerate closing the business.

Choose one of the above elements and apply it to a prospect or client opportunity. With a focus on process and sales culture, your business will be positioned to move opportunities forward more efficiently and effectively. You will not only survive but thrive, even in uncertainty.

Amy Franko is CEO of Amy Franko Associates