This is the second post on sales call planning. You can read the first post here: The Purpose of the Sales Call.
Once you have identified the purpose of your sales call, you can start to make some decisions about whom you need in or on that sales call. Again, there are two groups of stakeholders to consider here.
Who Do You Put on the Field?
You start by identifying the members of your team for two very important reasons.
First, you have to create value for your dream client in order to have a successful sales call. You need to bring your team members that are—or may be—necessary to creating that value.
You might need people from your technical team or your information technology departments to both understand the client’s needs and to talk about what is possible in the way of a solution.
It could also be important to have members of your operations team join the sales call so they can speak to what they do for your existing clients (as well as being there to listen and understand the client’s needs).
Sometimes you need members of your management team on a sales call for different reasons. Maybe your client needs proof that you and your company are committed to helping them achieve the outcomes and management’s presence will prove it.
The people that actually do the work of executing for your clients can create value for your dream clients during a sales call, and this is why it is important to include them.
Another reason you might want some members of your team to join you is that it enables a smooth handoff of the all of the tasks, duties, responsibilities, and outcomes. It is a tremendous benefit to have your team members attend sales calls to gain an understanding of the outcomes for which they will later be responsible.
Perhaps even more important is the buy-in that is created when you include your team in the sales process. This doesn’t only extend to your operation team, either. It’s amazing how much more your management team will own the opportunity when they have been included in the sales process. They’ll also help to ensure that you succeed for your client.
You need to execute later, and your team’s attendance on sales calls can help you understand your client’s needs, create value for them on the sales call, and later ensure that they understand and own the outcomes that you sold.
Sometimes, you alone are the value creator. That can often be enough.
Inviting Dream Client Stakeholders
One of the ways you can improve your sales results and the outcomes of your sales calls is to make certain that you have the right people from your client’s company in attendance. It’s pretty easy to find your one receptive sponsor and go deep into the sales process before realizing just how many people you actually need to win and succeed for your client.
There are all kinds of stakeholders to be considered, and you can read about them here: Gatekeepers, End-Users, Management, Professional Buyers, and Executive Management. You can also read about how to do a stakeholder analysis to understand your role in creating value for each stakeholder group and their expectation of you here.
The first question is, “Who do I need at the table in order to be able to achieve the outcomes of this sales call?”
If you need an understanding of your client’s needs, then you may need to meet with all of the stakeholders that are going to be affected by your solution later. You might not need or want them all in the same sales calls, but you need to start by knowing whose needs you are trying to collect.
If you are trying to build consensus around a solution, you might need buying committee members and executive management in a sales call for a pre-proposal discussion of your ideas.
Your purpose, the outcome of your sales call, will determine whom you need from your client’s team.
None of this is easy, and none of it is written in stone. You will have to make decisions about whom you need at your sales call and when you involve them in the process. You have to be thoughtful, and you have to consider your longer-term strategy. Answering these questions will help:
Who From My Team?
Who from my team do I need to attend this sales call?
What value will I expect them to create for our dream client?
Are they prepared for the sales conversation, and do they know and understand their role?
How should I prepare them?
Do I need someone at an equal level of authority from my client’s team to make their attendance beneficial?
Who From My Client’s Team?
Who needs to attend this meeting?
Who will be affected by a decision to move forward?
What needs with they have that I need to meet early in the sales process?
Who has the ability to share the information with me that I need?
Who do I need in order to advance this opportunity?
What are the commitments I need to be prepared to ask for and obtain from these stakeholders?
Can I do enough on this call to earn the right to ask for those commitments?
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