The Difference Between Sales Negotiation Training Programs That Work and Those That Don

By: Rachel Clapp Miller on January 15th, 2019

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The Difference Between Sales Negotiation Training Programs That Work and Those That Don't

Categories: Sales Negotiation

You're seeing the signs...

  • Your account teams are negotiating price versus value
  • Your losing margins and leverage in negotiations
  • Your reps are green and they're negotiating with very experienced buyers
  • Your teams have difficulty managing customer tactics
  • Your internal process is slowing down negotiations

You need a sales negotiation strategy. Before you start calling vendors,  there are two critical factors you need to consider. These points will help you find a sales negotiation training that will actually work for your organization.

1. How is the Training Nuanced for Sales Negotiation?

Negotiation can apply to a lot of different situations. While it may be cool to bring in an expert hostage negotiator to talk to your sales reps, that type of training may be difficult for them to apply in their day to day roles. Sales negotiation must be specific and customized for your selling environment.

Sales negotiation isn't just a tactical exchange between two people right before the deal is signed. That's far from reality for the majority of B2B salespeople. Not understanding the true nature of a sales negotiation causes many to believe that any type of tactical negotiation training will help their sellers become more effective negotiators when they must respond, in the moment, to customer tactics. However, a sales negotiation has many unique characteristics that require a sales-specific approach to improving a seller’s negotiating effectiveness. A salesperson must continue to manage the value of the current relationship and understand the significance of creating successful future outcomes and conversations. Sellers can try to negotiate through the moment, but if there is no strategy and process aligned to larger account interests, they won’t know where to go when the immediate tactical negotiation ends.

There are training organizations out there that tout their negotiation experience. If their negotiation experience isn’t related directly and exclusively to sales, we would caution you and encourage you to shift to a sales negotiation solution. Without a focus on sales, you won't produce the results you're looking to achieve.

2. How Does the Training Involve Non-Sales Professionals?

Most sales negotiations involve many members of the customer-facing team from multiple functions. You need those teams to be coordinated.

For example, Presales typically negotiates areas of focus for the POC (Proof of Concept). Services typically negotiates SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) for the implementation. Customer Success frequently negotiates details and timing for the roll-out and Account Management is charged with negotiating upsell and renewals. Even senior leaders that interact with the customer in critical moments negotiate.

If you only train your sales team on your negotiation process, you're missing out on opportunity to dramatically improve your process. If account teams are not on the same page, an individual who doesn’t know the play could radically alter the entire negotiation strategy. Remember, in sales negotiations you're trying to also facilitate the ongoing relationship throughout the customer engagement.

Sales leaders can sometimes focus their negotiation training and coaching efforts on using tactics or tricks, without providing the necessary connection back to the overall sales and customer engagement processes. Negotiation is not successful if you damage the customer relationship getting the deal/agreement done. Negotiation success demands a process, organizational alignment and clear direction on what a great deal looks like for your organization. It is too important to leave it to chance.

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