Too many sales organizations approach negotiations as a series of tactics that need to be executed at the end of a sales process. Reps negotiate without a defined strategy, that leaves them helpless when dealing with much more experienced procurement professionals. They don't know what their give-gets are and if they do, they aren't aligned to the overall company strategy. Legal is going into the negotiations blind without the context they need to effectively respond in the negotiation. Frankly, by the time the deal is done, the margin is no where near where it should've been and sales leaders are left shaking their heads in frustration.
There's a better way.
Our approach to sales negotiation training starts with a focus on sales. It's seemingly obvious, but too many organizations take a old-school approach to negotiation training that frankly misses the point. Sales leaders end up investing in a training that fails to address the unique qualities of a sales negotiation. Instead, invest in a training that fosters cross-functional alignment on what constitutes a great deal for your organization and provide the process that enables reps to establish value early in the sales cycle. In sales, negotiation shouldn't be a one-time event. It's a process. Particularly in today's customer success world, there has to be a focus on what happens after the deal is closed and the relationship that needs to continue.
Here are some key characteristics that make up our point of view on sales negotiation training:
A Focus on Organizational Alignment
Think about your own organization. How many functions are involved in a negotiation? As I write this blog, there's a negotiation call going on right now down the hall from me. I can count at least four different functions in the room. We believe organizations hinder sales results by only involving the sales team in negotiation training. It's important that you build alignment internally with anyone who could impact the overall customer negotiation strategy. If account teams are not on the same page, an individual who doesn’t know the play could radically alter the entire negotiation strategy. In our Value Negotiation workshops we pull in leaders from marketing, business development, pre-sales/solution architects, consulting/implementation, professional services/customer success, account management, legal and others. On the surface, you may think it's overkill. However, the only way to foster alignment is to bring everyone to the table to define your organization's negotiation process and teach your entire customer-facing team to build and protect value at every state of the customer engagement process.
A Mindset that Sales Negotiation as a Process
We consider negotiating to be an individual skill. However, we see negotiation as an organizational competency. It’s put into action the minute one of your sellers engages with a customer or prospect and is maintained on an almost daily basis, over the life of that customer relationship. Developing this organizational competency requires a shift in thinking and the ability to view sales negotiation as a comprehensive strategic process. It’s not surprising to see that the companies that are most effective at sales negotiation, are also very effective at sales messaging. You position the final deal by leveraging value throughout the sales cycle. It’s a mistake for a sales organization to view negotiation as a tactical skill, rather than a process driven by strategy. Their sellers influence the final stages of a deal by:
Articulating the key value drivers of their solution throughout the entire sales process
Communicating value and differentiate from the competition in every customer conversation
Being audible-ready to connect their solutions to the customer’s largest business challenge
We fundamentally believe that when salespeople execute the sales process in a way that builds value early, they have much more leverage to negotiate in a way that closes great deals.
Practical Tools that are Used Consistently
How many sales trainings have you been to where reps are motivated in the room, excited to try out new processes, but leave without tools and processes that they can actually apply to live deals?
Without adoption and reinforcement from your managers on up, your negotiation training will fall flat. We believe in delivering a powerful instructor-led training session, that is predicated on the development of customized content that ensures new tools and processes are relevant to your company. We want to ensure that everything rolled out to your customer-facing teams has cross-functional agreement and is immediately applicable after training. These tools define give/gets, anchors and multiple options that give salespeople the power to execute a value-based negotiation. Our methodology focuses on adoption from the start, so that immediately after training, your leadership teams, managers and reps understand the critical activities they need to do to leverage Value Negotiation on every deal. Practical tools are cornerstones to that behavior.
Our Value Negotiation training is made for salespeople, taught by salespeople. Our facilitators know what your reps are faced with every day because they've been in those same positions. Our training teaches these fundamentals:
An understanding of how to begin negotiating on value early in the sales process
How to confidently defuse and manage customer tactics
Ensure alignment to minimize internal negotiations
An ability to coach direct reports on Value Negotiation skills, best practices and processes.
How to create a negotiation strategy for every deal.