All business have to find their own competitive edge in today's markets. In my previous articles I have written about the need to consider sales attitudes and motivations as well as the power of excellent customer relationships.
Over the last few months I have been trying to find a way to summarise the key points I have made to business sales teams during training sessions and I would like to offer a summary of those thoughts here.
The Triple P Model: People, Process & Product
There needs to be a focus on the people delivering the sales and marketing message as well as the people receiving the message. The ideas we need to consider here go far beyond that of sales teams and their agenda or clients and their needs.
Managing the dynamic relationships between sales and marketing teams is one thing, but when we consider the complex and changing relationships between sales people and their clients it becomes far more chaotic.
Sales and Marketing teams need to be able to effectively communicate a companies values and value messages above and beyond the features and benefits of the product. This means that these values not only need to be fully understood, but they need to drive the behaviors of the teams. These behaviors will link directly to the next P in our trilogy.
Every step of a sales process needs to be clearly stated and understood. In a number of businesses I have consulted for it has been clear that even when there has been an agreed process the 'behaviors' which are defined by that process have not been consistent. A Sales Manager may present the idea to their team that the best outcome from any sales meeting is a diarized further meeting, but conveyed through their attitude and team feedback that 'in reality' the sale needs to be 'closed'.
The sales idea of 'always be closing' is, I would suggest, not the most effective strategy for longterm relationships with clients.
It seems to me that there are cultural differences between the UK and, say, the USA in terms of ideas about professional salespeople. In the UK we seem to be living in the shadow of 'feature benefit' selling, especially in the Business 2 Business sectors rather than enjoying the longer term idea of 'selling through relationships'. Now I may be wrong in this perception, but in the light of some recent conversations with sales teams it is a point of view I find being reconfirmed. Perhaps the current economic climate has resulted in panic, short-term selling behavior?
The final P in our trilogy is the thing which most sales and marketing teams are clear about – the product they are selling. They can articulate its value; define its key features and outline its benefits. This of course is as it should be.
The key question here, of course, is that 'product blindness' can lead the sales and marketing teams to gloss over any potential mis-match between client and product and, in the longterm, fail in their delivery value of meeting a customers need.
The Triple P Model will allow business to review their sales and marketing values and processes in order to define the training and development needs of their teams. I maintain that the three P's of People, Process and Product result in business drive of Profit.