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Posted 28 Jun, 2017 | Posted in: Newsletter | Tagged: ,

Okay, so managing a sales team can be tough. You have a sales team that is in the field doing all they can to hit their numbers and you’re at half-time. You’re asking, “Will we be where we need to be at the end of the year?” The question you should be asking is, “Do your sellers have a wishbone where their backbone ought to be?” The latter is going to get you the results you need.

Buyers are markedly more sophisticated. They want to understand the measurable impact solutions will have on their business (value), and they will negotiate with discount demands or threaten to take business elsewhere if value is not clearly communicated. Sellers who attempt to negotiate without tools and training are left feeling they are stuck in the middle between an aggressive procurement officer and internal teams trying to protect margin.

So, what’s a seller to do? Well, imagine a sales team who could uncover and communicate value and prepare for and even relish tough negotiations? Negotiating with Backbone initiatives have equipped sellers with a framework to communicate their value to customers with greater clarity and confidence. Sure, Backbone adds a layer of complexity; something else to think about in the sales process. However, more importantly, the Backbone mindset helps sales appropriately respond to the tricks the customers play to get additional discounts and narrow down your margins.

Are you looking for a way to resolve the discount dilemma? Here are some highlights we can share from a recent forum of executives who reinforced their sales teams with Backbone. Hope these help:

  • Protect price:
    • Sales teams win deals at their price
    • Executives are aligned to reduce internal pressure to close the deal on price and they get the right deal
    • Often redirects poorly thought-through RFP’s into opportunities to win the business based on your value
  • Equipped to do the job:
    • Sales finally gets the needed tools, insights, and tactics to deal with people in procurement who are always playing games to get lower prices
    • Salespeople implement more effective sales approaches to meet the different needs of customers in a way that protects prices and preserves value. It gives them a laser focus on prioritizing customer hot buttons
    • Cross-functional, customer-facing teams can better identify areas where internal people are misaligned on objectives and tactics
  • Increased confidence:
    • Customer facing teams are discovering and believing in their own value again
    • Selling teams save time and effort by not pursuing business they don’t have a chance to win
    • More and more salespeople understand that using discounts to close a deal is a short-term approach that gives up profits unnecessarily

Negotiators, procurement, and others often don’t know how to respond to Backbone tactics, and, in many cases, are tipping the field in the salesperson’s favor. We had one procurement person who got so flustered, she actually agreed to a much higher price, because she didn’t understand how to respond to the tactics used by a seller with Backbone.

Lastly, Backbone focuses the seller on a deeper understanding of the value of their products and services, making them feel good about what they are selling.  So that despite what the buyer says, sellers realize the business need for their solution is real and they can have confidence in positioning their solution in the mind of the buyer.

Thanks to our Tannis Ashworth and Chris Mitchell as well a highly appreciated but unnamed sales executive for providing inputs to this article.

Reed HoldenWritten by Reed Holden

Dr. Reed Holden is a Founder and Coach at Holden Advisors.

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