Top 3 Habits of Sales Teams that Consistently Win High-Value Deals
The sales landscape has changed more rapidly in the past few years than ever before. From a worldwide pandemic to emerging technologies and fluctuating economic factors, the way that buyers make a purchase decision has evolved. In some ways, these changes require new sales approaches. More likely, these changes have created a stark disparity in the skills of teams who succeed and those who fall behind.
We recently hosted three leaders of high-growth sales organizations for a panel discussion on what they've seen drive success in today's market. One seller skill that emerged as a focus area was the ability to sell in terms of business value. Here's how Boomi CRO Marcy Campbell described the evolution of the sales landscape:
Particularly in today's market, having influence with a C-level decision-maker at the buyer organization is crucial. With tighter budgets and increasingly prevalent cross-departmental buying committees, these buyers are more involved than ever before, and this change isn't going away any time soon. Still, accessing these decision-makers takes tact and skill from sellers.
Let's explore three activities that our panelists shared as habits of teams that successfully sell value to C-level buyers in today's market:
Selling Above the Line
Skip Miller coined the concept of "Selling Above and Below the Line," which refers to two different sales approaches. Selling below the line implies a sales tactic that everyone is familiar with: the approach that focuses on the product, with the seller describing features and functions and leaning on the product demo as their hero. Conversely, above the line selling is achieved when sellers are able to tie their solution to business value.
Here's how Bill Binch, described this approach to value selling in our panel discussion:
Most sales leaders want their teams to be selling above the line, but operationalizing that strategy can be a challenge. Successful sales teams drive consistent execution by aligning on a value messaging framework. A framework changes the game, because it's not a script. It's a tool that sellers use to guide their discovery process within the context of the established business value of your solution. It enables and simplifies the consultative sales conversation, which gets sellers into boardrooms and enables consistently larger deal sizes from your teams.
Leveraging the Future State
During a discussion of the challenges faced by sellers in the current market, Marcy Campbell explained that executives don't deal in the present - they talk in terms of the past and future state. Here's more of that conversation:
Sellers can have a greater impact with C-level buyers by leveraging metrics to help them imagine the future state that's possible with your solution. As a leader, enable this skill by ensuring that your organization has a solid, repeatable process for developing customer stories into strong proof points and implementing them into conversations. A strong metrics strategy requires alignment between product and marketing teams, to ensure that content being developed meets the needs of the sales teams' conversations.
Building the Negotiation Case
When sellers are able to lay the groundwork of business value, supported by metrics that outline the positive business outcome for the buyer, they reach a point of leverage in the negotiation process. Listen to how Jim Sullivan, CEO and President of NWN Carousel, describes the advantage of business case:
Many sellers shy away from negotiation, particularly when dealing with a C-level buyer or a challenging market. They may feel that they don't have the leverage necessary to push for a larger deal, or they feel the pressure that comes when each deal is so critical to the company's goals. This is why it's critical that leaders develop a strategy around negotiating early and often, utilizing the value message and metrics discussed above. If negotiation is delayed until the late stages, the seller is likely to be caught on the back foot, where they truly have given away leverage. When the business case and value of your solution is apparent and emphasized from the first conversation, negotiation becomes less intimidating.
Get Your Team Winning with the C-Suite
C-Suite buyers have a lot in common, but they also have their own individual priorities. Most teams are considering the Chief Financial Officer in their deals rights now, but depending on your solution, your team may have to influence the Chief Marketing Officer or the Chief Information Security Officer.
We created a guide that outlines the priorities and key performance metrics that each C-level role is using to measure success and make decisions right now. This guide also gives specific recommendations of skills that you can reinforce as a leader to keep your teams selling above the line, leveraging the future state and building a strong negotiation case for your solution. Download the guide here.