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Silicon Valley Sales Group, Inc. | Santa Clara, CA

Brian Sullivan

“In the dark of the night, every cat’s a leopard.” This old Indian saying provides great insight into enterprise selling, because it reminds us how important it is to identify the information that matters most about our key competitors… We must know them, prioritize them, and account for them. That means conducting a truly effective, and customized, competitive analysis. Unfortunately, most research sales teams do in this area falls far short of the mark.

The Sandler Enterprise Selling (SES) program, based on David Sandler’s revolutionary selling system, organizes the enterprise selling cycle around a six-stage, continuous process. SES provides a number of special tools throughout its six stages to help organizations land, keep and grow long-term clients, and we’ve added a tool to the SES arsenal – the Quarterly Value Review, or QVR.

I taught the subject of “Personal Selling” as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Maryland for twelve years. The academic-industrial complex required the use of a textbook in class, and occasionally, I used it, often to point out the crazy ideas that Ph.D.’s who write textbooks have about the business world.

There are several significant challenges that sales representatives and sales teams face in selling into complex enterprise accounts. One of the most daunting is that enterprise sales cycles can be long and drawn out. Months and years can pass while pursuing an opportunity with an enterprise organization. And as the time passes, the doubt, uncertainty, risks, and costs add up. And this draining of resources goes beyond the financial.  The human assets applied to an enterprise pursuit and the overall energy of the selling organization are also casualties over time.

As sales managers, we’re all familiar with the conversation. One of your sales reps is making the case to pursue an opportunity and you question why. “It’s a big deal” is the response, “It’s right in our power swing”. Or perhaps, with candor entering the room, “I really need to win this”. And these are all reasons, of course. But what do they really mean? What’s the real business sense for your firm in pursuing the deal? And what’s the business risk?

Recruiters and managers know how difficult it can be to fill an open position with a good hire. A variety of obstacles conspire to make finding the right person seem like searching for a diamond in a big pile of rocks. Once you find that perfect hire, get them off on the right foot by spending some time strategically plotting your onboarding process.

If your selling process ends with a close, you're doing it all wrong. "What!?! That makes no sense," I can hear you saying. "Closing is the ultimate success." All true. But you can close more (how does 80% sound?), see fewer clients and, best of all, make even fewer presentations. In the process, you'll feel more essential to your clients, more motivated, and more in control.

Sales meetings can help you win more business, but if not handled well they can cost you time in front of prospects. 

Understanding the importance of various accounts helps sellers sort customers and prepare for the next appropriate step in a relationship with the client.

A good manager understands that disciplining employees is part of the job, but a great manager recognizes that discipline is not synonymous with punishment. To prevent future problems in the workplace and improve your management skills, implement these respectful employee disciplinary steps.