What if there isn’t a sales process? What if instead of a single process, there were processes that better served the prospective client and the sales organization?
What if there isn’t a buying journey? Maybe there are buying journeys, taking into account the different needs of different individuals and groups?
What if there wasn’t a methodology for some part of client acquisition because there were methodologies that provided a range of approaches and better ensure a specific outcome?
What if instead of locking salespeople into a one size fits all approach to every engagement, we unlocked them and provided them with an understanding of the choices available to them and how to better make those choices?
What if instead of treating all clients the same, or trying to anyway, we developed theories instead of a single theory as to why and how they should change, theories that better matched their circumstances?
What if instead of things being black and white, we enabled people to work effectively in the areas that are the many shades of gray that reality produces?
Shades of Gray
It would be much more difficult to teach salespeople how to look at a client acquisition through the lens of multiple processes but having choices would likely improve their results. There is already more than one path to the customer verifiable outcomes that underlie so many sales processes. There also seems to be greater certainty that we have closed gates to stages even when we achieve these outcomes.
If the experts are correct that there is an increasing number of stakeholders in an average deal, then there are undoubtedly multiple buying journeys and not a single journey. There are different stakeholders at different stages along any path, and there are groups outside of the recognized paths already. If it’s difficult to teach and train people to understand where people are on their journey, it’s likely more difficult to win by believing everyone is together in the same place and at the same time.
More methodologies can be cumbersome and confusing. However, more choices as to how to engage provides the ability to match the approach to the circumstances and context.
One of the reasons many salespeople struggle to produce good results is because they commit to an approach they believe (and have been taught, trained, and coached) is correct for all circumstances. When the one right way doesn’t work, the salesperson needs additional choices that would allow them to take further action.
We make a mistake when don’t teach, train, coach, and develop salespeople to recognize different patterns and identify the range of choices available to them.
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Filed under: Sales 3.0