Today's blog post is by Pat O'Brien, founder and CEO of GetMyROI, a cloud-based application to help enterprise sales reps sell value. O'Brien has almost 20 years' experience successfully selling and managing teams selling complex solutions for young technology companies.
Sounds cool, but . . . prospects don’t want to collaborate with you. Most of them don’t, anyway. At least not yet. Don’t get upset. It’s not you. Collaboration, CRM 2.0, Social, and their cousins are all the buzz right now within the enterprise, but there’s really nothing out there to help reps at that crucial point when an enterprise-class prospect has expressed some interest but isn’t quite ready to open up or be a “champion.”
Customer collaboration technologies (sometimes known as ESM, or enterprise social media) have made good inroads in the enterprise, but not really for enterprise sales reps interacting with prospects. There are internally focused technologies, like Jive or Chatter or SAVO or Moxie, and even Google+ now, that help me collaborate and communicate internally. There are technologies that help once a customer’s on board, say, from a support perspective, like Lithium. And there are lots of basic, more generic collaboration or Wiki technologies, like Atlassian’s Confluence or 37signals’s Basecamp, or even PBworks. I probably haven’t seen all of them, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t one focused on helping that initial prospect/sales rep conversation.
We need to merge the sales rep’s desire to understand the prospect’s business drivers, the prospect’s wish to quickly assess whether the vendor can help, and everyone’s wish to understand the intersection of quantified benefits with business drivers. The stronger the match, the more everyone wants to engage and move forward.
This is the essence of a focus on selling value: learn, align, quantify.
In the language of the challenger sale, we need to help the rep find that interesting, sort of hidden, hopefully provocative teaching opportunity, to make it a little easier to discuss economic drivers, and thus, to challenge. And to make it desirable for a prospect to participate – easy to use, valuable to all parties.
A focus on and discussion of value should be the foundation of any process or technology aimed at helping the sales rep and prospect to collaborate.