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Customer Value Mapping (aka Business Value Mapping)

How to Make Marketing and Selling Easier

By Michael J Webb

(pdf of this article)

You know the drill. A new product is launched, one that does something useful and performs well. Millions of dollars in development and people’s careers are staked on its success. There are even some customers who positively love it.

But it doesn’t sell—at least, not enough. Sales presentations don’t lead to deal-making. Special sales training fizzles. Sales and marketing begin blaming each other. Everybody loses.

(more…)

Customer Value Mapping (Business Value Mapping)

How to Make Marketing and Selling Easier

By Michael J Webb

(pdf of this article)

You know the drill. A new product is launched, one that does something useful and performs well. Millions of dollars in development and people’s careers are staked on its success. There are even some customers who positively love it.

But it doesn’t sell—at least, not enough. Sales presentations don’t lead to deal-making. Special sales training fizzles. Sales and marketing begin blaming each other. Everybody loses. (more…)

Oh, Now I Get It!

Ahhh! Vacations are great.

I had only half of one in the last two weeks and now that I'm back things still seem brighter and happier than before.

The highlight was spending time with my wife and kids. (My daughter is in high school, my son is a senior mechanical engineering student at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.)

One of the evenings, sitting around the picnic table with his sister and mother and me on the deck of a cabin we rented in Chimney Rock, NC, my son was talking about his work.

(more…)

What Sales Process Behavior Charts Can Tell You

Dear Readers,

Thank you for the excellent remarks about what process behavior charts can tell you from last week’s blog post. For convenience, I have reproduced the image here (with interpretation below).

Figure 1 - Sales Process Behavior Charts

Figure 1 – Sales Process Behavior Charts

Mark Allen said:

Looks like while they are closing, they are not also prospecting…and unfortunately I see B2Bs do this frequently. This is by far one of the single biggest headaches that drives CEOs crazy as it adds a degree of variability that hits home where it hurts…in cash flow.

Bingo!

(more…)

Need More Traction with Prospects?

Why Prospects Don’t Understand Your Value -
And What You Can Do About It

All too often businesses launch products, promotions, and proposals that do not achieve their goals.

When that happens, cost of sales goes up and confidence goes down. Everybody has to work harder.

Years ago I saw that happen multiple times at a company I worked for, and figured out how to solve the problem. Initially, it helped me tailor sales training materials to the specific environment clients needed. Then, it expanded to an organizing principle for value propositions that was needed by product managers and marketing managers. I wrote a popular article about it:

(more…)

How to Design Your Sales Process to Help Customers Buy Now

Everyone’s attention these days seems to be riveted on sales.

And rightly
so, given the economy. Recently I received inquiries from several
people working with a large organization that is very concerned about
its sales process. Seems the CEO is having difficulty telling Wall
Street where next quarter’s revenues will be.

No surprise there! The economic crisis affects large and small
companies: everyone needs to know where next month’s revenue will come
from.

Forecasting sales has always been difficult, but, in a threatening
market like this, the problem is compounded by the need to get enough
people to buy in the first place!  This is a scary challenge,
especially with the state of the sales process in most organizations.
Ask yourself:

  • How much thought went into the design of your company’s sales process?
  • Was your sales process designed for the kind of market we have today?
  • Does anyone really care how a salesperson got the business, so long as they actually get it?

If you are like most companies, the answers to those questions are:

  • “It wasn’t ‘designed’; someone just sort of did what seemed to work at the time”
  • “No”
  • “Nope!”

So, with the
sales process so much in the spotlight, what are you supposed to do?
How can you figure out what changes will have the right effects? How
can you get everyone to realize that improving the sales process is the
solution?

On Thursday
of this week, Robert Ferguson and I will present the first of two
initial webinars around design principles and tips you need to make
your sales flow like water – and get results fast. Part one is this
Thursday, February 19:

“How to Design a Sales Process

For Customer Value and Continuous Improvement”

Guidebook Launch Webinar
Thursday February 19, 2009, 3:00pm Eastern Time
http://www.salesperformance.com/member-services/feb-19-webinar

Visit that page now, and register for this unusual and timely event.

Part two will be next Thursday, February 26. More on that event soon.

Michael J Webb
February 17, 2009

How to Design Your Sales Process to Help Customers Buy Now

Everyone’s attention these days seems to be riveted on sales.

And rightly so, given the economy. Recently I received inquiries from several people working with a large organization that is very concerned about its sales process. Seems the CEO is having difficulty telling Wall Street where next quarter’s revenues will be.

(more…)

Got a Technical Team? Here’s a Great Way to Help Them Sell

Recently I spoke with Burke, the VP of Business Development for an engineering firm in the material handling industry.

Unlike many people in this industry, Burke has a marketing background rather than a technical one. Since he joined the firm, their business is booming, seemingly unaffected by the recession. I asked him about that.

What he told me was really useful from a sales and marketing point of view:

“When I first got here in June of 2007,” he said, “everyone told me ‘The problem we’re having, Burke, is that we’re struggling for budget dollars.’ That is what it looked like to them.

“However, I discovered that was not the problem at all.

“Our prospects are warehouse managers who have to put together proposals for projects and get them approved. Some justification is involved for both business (cost) justification, and justification for technical architectures and other decisions.

“What I learned was that we were not helping prospects assemble their information in a way that was sellable up the chain of command.

“So, I put in place a process for doing that:

  • “We take a consultative approach,
  • “We gather the information,
  • “We put the argument together,
  • “We build the PowerPoint® slides
  • “Literally, all the warehouse manager has to do is present it up the food chain and we’ve been winning a lot more often than we used to
“There are only a few people in our company who I would really call ‘salespeople.’ Most of the rest could be called sales engineers, at best. And there are lots of people who are only involved in some small aspect of ‘the sales process’ at any given time.

“So, setting up a structure to follow for handling the customer’s information enabled them to become more productive, because it helps them partner better with the customer. They now know they should be looking for business as well as technical information, and they know what to do with that information before they give it back in the form of various documents, including proposal documents. The questions, the steps, and the documents we provide help the warehouse manager ’sell’ to others within their own company more effectively.

“You need business ROI, we got that. You need rationale for the controls architecture, we got that. You need a throughput analysis, we got that. You need a time-phased projection of the project cost, we got that too. Whoever they need to talk with inside their company, we help them do it.

“We’re easier to deal with than the other guys, and we’re winning more deals as a result.”

I thought that was a great example of how sales is supposed to work. It is supposed to be simple.

Of course getting to that simplicity within your organization is not always so easy!

That’s where we can help you, hopefully a lot:

I’m proud to announce that www.salesperformance.com now is the home of the Sales Performance Improvement Forum – a website intended to help you get the insights you need to design and improve your own company’s sales process.

There are lots of new free materials, including articles, videos, recordings, and some new membership levels:

You can visit the site and surf anonymously, as you always have been able to. Then, there is the opt-in Free SPIF! Sign up, where we’ve added some videos, an “Ask You’re Question!” section and access to some of the best articles from the original website (including “Customer Value Mapping,” which Burke applied heavily).

Then, we’ve added a Professional Members area, where (for a fee about equivalent to that of a professional association) you get access to the in-depth Sales Kaizen webinars every month, archives of past webinars and conference presentations, the Print SPIF! Newsletter, private bulletin boards, and other helpful goodies for executives and consultants.

One of the coolest things is the ability for you to comment, compliment, criticize, or what ever you want on virtually every page. Check it out!

And don’t forget to check out Thursday’s Sales Kaizen Webinar:

How to Generate and Sustain a 25% Increase
in Sales Opportunities in 90 Days or Less

Sales Kaizen Webinar with Brian Carroll
Author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale
February 5, 2009, 3:00pm Eastern Time

I look forward to hearing from you!

Michael Webb
February 2, 2009

How to Avoid the Four Most Common Mistakes of Sales Process Mapping

Originally published at www.isixsigma.com.

By Michael J. Webb

Process mapping is a well-known technique for creating a common vision and shared language for improving business results. It helped one management training and development firm realize that people within their sales department had been working at cross purposes, and crucial executive-level discussions with customers were not taking place. Based on sales process mapping, the leaders reorganized their sales operations so that job descriptions and performance measures focused more on the customer. In six months, they reversed a five-year slump and earned big bonuses for team members. In another case, sales process mapping helped a large manufacturer's national account teams discover a powerful new way to coordinate with field salespeople, yielding far more new business opportunities than expected.

(more…)

What Value Does Your Sales Process Create?

By Michael J. Webb

(pdf of this article)

Most sales executives are challenged to produce better results these days. Jill Stillman, a sales executive I worked with a few months ago, seemed particularly frustrated.

“There are only 100 firms in the country large enough to buy our services. I know them all. Qualification is not my problem. What I want to know is, once I am in the account, what do I have to do to get them off the dime?”

(more…)