If you have ever been on any Strategic Selling training courses you will understand the need to profile your customers. Are they a supporter or not, are they a decision maker or an evaluator, etc. Colour coding your Org Charts to show this has never been easy - until now! The latest version or Org.ly brings Sales Profiling to the palm of your hand.
Selling into a complex account is hard. Doing this without having a good understanding of the various players in the game is almost impossible. So whichever strategic sales training you may have been on - Pfeiffer, TAS, Holden, Powerbase, etc. (and over the years I’ve been on them all) they all have one thing in common - you have to understand your customer, and you have to understand them in detail.
To help our understanding, all of the strategic sales training models provide us with four key categories to focus on. These are Support, Role, Coverage and Personality.
At a simple level, do they like you or not? If they like you then they are a Supporter, but how strong is their support? Would they stand up to their boss in support of you? Would they take a controversial proposal forward for review and position you as the better alternative to your competitor? If they will, then they are stronger than a Supporter - they are your Champion! And we love them!
However, it is equally (more?) important to understand the other end of the spectrum. Is your contact a non-supporter? Why is this? What can you do to turn them around? Moving a non-supporter to neutral, or even better, to a supporter position, is often far more impactful on the outcome of your sales campaign than relying on your supporters or champions.
Of course, if there is an Assassin in your customer you need to know that too. Assassins will go out of their way to make sure you don’t win. You are unlikely to turn an Assassin (although you really need to try and understand why they hate you that much), so your strategy is likely to involve getting your Champions to try and sideline any Assassins that stand in your way. It doesn't have to be personal by the way. More often than not it will be because they chose the existing solution and feel emotionally attached to it, but if it is because your company let them down in the past it can be pretty hard to overcome.
This one is far easier to understand. Who is Approver, and is going to sign the purchase order you are after? Who will be recommending you to the Approver instead of competitor? Decision Makers come in a few forms - you can have a technical decision maker, business decision maker and financial decision maker, and others depending on the solution and the make-up of your customer. Depending on the product/solution you are selling you may have to convince one or all of these decision makers as you aim to get your product/solution put forward for approval.
Evaluators also fall into different categories, again depending on what you are selling. Technical evaluators will spend their time looking at your product and deciding how it compares to other options. Hopefully your product is technically capable, in which case you have less to worry about, but as always it is really important that you position your strengths and ensure that they are tested and are weighted highly in the decision making process.
If you are facing a competitor who isn’t following these strategic sales techniques too closely they can easily miss out the key people to influence, leaving you with an effective open-goal. Of course, if your competitor is talented (and therefore, uses Org.ly), you have to be on the ball to make sure you are not struck by their FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt - you knew that, right?!).
Users are also important - you must not forget about them. A bad review from a user can have significant impact and can often outweigh any technical ‘wins’ you might have in your pocket.
You will know who you meet regularly, and who you have never met. Here you really need to be honest with yourself. As Trevor said above, we tend to spend time with the people we like - which means that we will probably ignore the ones that are in the non-supporter/assassin areas we talked about earlier. That would be a bad decision.
We have all heard the saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer - this is what you must do here. It’s hard, but writing it down - or with Org.ly, adding it to the contact’s profile - makes it blindingly obvious who you are ignoring and it will nag away at your conscious until you finally summon up the courage to phone for a meeting! Do it now - you know it makes sense!
The personality types in this section are Innovator, Visionary, Pragmatist, Conservative and Laggard. The type of person you want to sell your product/solution to will depend entirely on what it is and how it impacts your customer’s business. It’s easy to think that you need to seek out the innovators and visionaries in your customer, and it is certainly the most fun conversations you could have, but if you are selling support services for example, you want to be focussed at people who are concerned with risk reduction - most likely to be the Pragmatist and Conservatives. If you are selling tried and tested products that have a solid and proven record, then the Laggards are more than likely your destination.
However, if you are selling the latest in Augmented Reality Remote Expert solutions, then you are really going to have to lead from the front end with the visionaries and innovators.
Of course, your solution might actually have aspects that are relevant to each of these personality types, so you might need to create a different value proposition for each. To really ensure you are going to win you need to try and get everybody on your side, so the key point here is that you need to understand each of your customer contacts in enough detail to form an opinion about them in each of these categories. If you can do this - and you can only do this by meeting with them regularly - then your account and opportunity strategies will become more accurate and you will have a greater chance of success.
Don’t just do it in your head - write it down
Easier said than done. Traditionally, the way to do this was to colour code your Org Chart to show the status of each contact at your customer in one of the four areas we discussed above. If we thought that creating an Org Chart in Powerpoint was a bad experience, then adding these additional boxes just increased the complexity. As a result we became lazy, perhaps only focussed on the first two - Support and Role, but then again, we often just did it in our head and forgot about it, relying on ‘gut instinct’ instead of real documentation. As Trevor mentions above though, it is no use just doing it in your head - you will naturally just gravitate to the people you like and automatically avoid the ones you don’t (or don’t like you - but it amounts to the same thing in sales).
Once you have managed to colour-code the Org Chart though, you can see at a glance what your coverage is like - how much green is there compared to red? Perhaps this is why we don’t like to write it down - it becomes obvious to our management how wide and deep we have (or haven't) got within our account!
Use it correctly though and it will act as a reminder for you. It will trigger you to get in touch with the people you haven’t met in a while, the people that are non-supporters, and yes, go and speak to some users!
As we all know, knowledge is power, and using sales profiling correctly will dramatically increase your understanding of your customer.
Sales Profiling in Org.ly
If it is easy, you will use it. And it is really easy.
Enter the sales profile for each contact by selecting the appropriate option - it is then displayed on the main contact screen for easy and immediate viewing.
Once you have created an Org Chart you can toggle the Sales Profile view on/off by simply tapping the Profile icon. Simple as that. You don’t need to create the Org Chart, and now you don’t need to create the Sales Profiles. Org.ly does them all for you, automatically. Then of course, you simply export them for inclusion into your account plan and wait for your management to be blown away by your knowledge.
Don’t forget to tell them - Org.ly sent you!