Commercial Lenders and Zebra

Every commercial lender has a vested interest in their B2B customers / borrowers being successful in their businesses. If sales start dropping off, loan repayment may become difficult.

So what can the lender do except follower their lending guidelines and at some point pull the plug?

But we have a solution that is far more effective and much less painful. We introduce to those companies the ZEBEAselling methodology which has proven over nearly 2 decades that it can turn things around or boost existing sales efforts of companies across the industry spectrum.

Let us set up a demo for you or your bank’s commercial loan team and let you decide if we can help your customers. Then, we agree on the best way to do that and we work together to help them and you.

Call to set up your demo!

Want to know more about Zebras?

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C-Level Decision Makers

C-level executiveC-Level Decision Makers. One of the key attributes we assign to a prospect identifies access to the key decision makers in a prospect company. We call this person, or persons, “Power”.

Without their buy in, a sales person will have a tough time closing a sale. And without knowing what their critical business issues (CBIs) are, the sales rep will have a tough time even getting to them to have the discussion necessary to get the buy in.

At Dewell Consulting, we teach the Selling to Zebras methodology which trains sales teams in the various things they need to know and do to get to Power. But times are changing and now those decision makers at the C-level don’t make many large decisions on their own. They want buy in from other key players: COO, CFO, CMO, VP of Sales and others.

So we train the sales rep how to approach these various decision makers or other stakeholders so that all their issues, CBIs, are being addressed to insure their buy in.

But how do you get to those key players when they have multiple plates in the air and have multiple people approaching them with supposed solutions to their problems?

Back on 2013, when Selling to Zebras had been teaching how to do this, another great mind was talking about the same thing. His name is Brian Rapp and he was writing on the http://behaviorchange.net website.

His article entitled “C-Level Decision-Makers: 5 Ways to Reach Them” is still valid today. And I “stole” the image from his post so I want to attribute that at least to his post or to him whichever is appropriate.

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Repeatable Sales Process for Success

Repeatable sales process evolved. Nick Frost from Mattermark (https://mattermark.com/) wrote on an article on their blog and published it on Medium (https://medium.com) addressing the need to change sales processes in order to achieve success. It is a good article which outlines what many sales teams may see as a radical change to their present process. What is exciting for me is that what Nick is presenting is very close to the ZEBRASelling methodology which has been so successful over the years.  You can read his article here (https://mattermarkdaily.com/the-three-main-elements-of-building-a-repeatable-sales-process-49749a600697#.x43iwvw0b) and then below was my comment.

I love to see this kind of evolution in thinking of the sales process. I, too, was a sales person and sales manager who thought that if you throw enough mud against a wall, some of it will stick. Not too successful with that! However, our closing rates of around 15% were no worse than the B2B industry standard today and I was doing these 30 years ago.

What is so interesting to me about this article is that it covers most of the Selling to Zebras methodology that I have written about on this blog           (http://dewellconsulting.com/index.php/whats-zebra/) that has been working well for almost 2 decades now. Nick points out that in the qualifying stage sales people can get off track because by nature they tend to rate their prospects highly even without really qualifying them. They want to keep their prospect list full and their forecast full since they believe activity is the key to success.

Nick also says that the sales teams need to pare their prospect list down by 50% — that will scare the beejeezus out of most sales teams. I actually like to apply the 80/20 principle here and say that only about 20% of the prospect list is ever going to be a customer. But those 20% will generate 80% of their sales quota.

What Nick is calling for, as we do, is to change the culture of the sales organization. We both are saying to the sales team and their managers and to the C-suite, you can do better; you can close more sales with higher pipeline flow through rates and higher sales $ values if you simple change the way you approach the process. Tough to do since change is a 4-letter word to humans in general and sales folks are human after all 🙂

In closing, I recommend that everyone on the sales and marketing teams in companies serious about achieving great success read “The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson of the Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB). This book will change how you view the sales game completely!

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What is “Buying in the New Normal?”

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, coined the term “the new normal” to describe the current sales environment. He says, in the “new normal,” traditional complex sales approaches no longer work; sales levels, margins and average deals sizes are down and sales cycles are longer with many ending in non-decision. Prospects are spending less and even consolidating and in some cases eliminating suppliers in an effort to save money. Selling in the new normal doesn’t work the way it did in the “old normal”.

So to differentiate, I’m going to coin the phrase “Buying in the New Normal” to describe a 180 degree shift in the way we look at the interaction between a product or service vendor and the ultimate user. In the old terminology they were the seller and buyer and sales teams always thought in terms of selling to a customer.

Buying in the New Normal

But the new normal has to rethink itself. The focus has to be on the process of buying. The seller has to see only the process of buying by his customer. To do that, he has to know why the customer buys, what they need, what they want to do with the product and what their motivation is to make the buy.

When they do that they come to understand the real issues that drive their customer’s buying decision. They’ll discover the critical business issues (CBI) that have to be satisfied by the seller and their product or service. The most important CBIs will be found at the C-level (what we call “Power”) and not below. This is where they will uncover the executive-level problems felt at their prospect’s organization and determine how their product or service addresses them.

Most companies sell products and services based on the day-to-day problems that they solve and their features and benefits. But this is a mistake. The people with budget authority in your prospects’ organizations don’t evaluate products and services based on day-to-day functionality. They make buying decisions based upon executive-level problems that are solved. This is especially true for high-value products and services with complex sales processes.  C-level executives “buy”, they don’t get “sold” to. Continue reading “What is “Buying in the New Normal?””

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