The Most Strategic Sales Problems

3 minute read

In previous blogs I described both the symptoms – the Bad Things That Happen – that point to sales problems, and the underlying causes of those problems, in Level 1 and Level 2 sales engagements.

At Level 1; if the customer purchases your product it is not going to fundamentally change their business; the impact is fairly low and correspondingly the revenue opportunity relating to this transient sales engagement is typically less than $50,000.

At Level 2, the impact on the customer of deploying a solution is increased over the previous level. The buying process is probably formal and the number of people in the buying committee has grown. The revenue opportunity has grown correspondingly and is now probably greater than $50,000.

Now we will discuss Level 3 where the impact on the customer is highest. The buying process is almost certainly formal and the number of people in the buying committee has grown again. The revenue opportunity has grown significantly and should exceed $250,000. The customer is looking for a partner to develop a vision with them so the desired relationship level is Trusted Advisor, where your engagement is almost continuous. This requires material investment of time and resource from your company and you definitely need a strategic approach with this customer.

The ‘Bad things that happen’ at this level are measured in BIG dollars. Customers leave you, your profitability suffers, and you can’t benefit from the work you have done – unless you execute strategically, continuously and flawlessly.

As you review the list in the following table, apply it to your company and ask yourself whether your organization has any of these problems in addition to the Level 1 and Level 2 problems you identified earlier.

If you checked more than a few boxes in the “We have this problem?” column, then there is a lot of money at stake. Items 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10 are bad things that you cannot sustain as a business. To relieve the pressure of these and the other items I have again mapped the evidence to the Obstacles to help you zone in on the problem areas to address.

You don’t need to fix all the Obstacles at the same time. Nonetheless, these problems, if they exist in your company, are costing a lot of money. So use the evidence points mapped to the Obstacles to assess what Obstacles are causing most disruption in your business.

Disentangling the factors behind Level 3 sales challenges and moving towards a healthier position can be encapsulated in the following strategy:

Craft an integrated approach to elevate and expand relationships, understand the customer’s business, create, measure and communicate customer success. Implement an integrated framework for the account team to build pipeline and close revenue in existing accounts.

I describe this more fully in my book Digital Sales Transformation in a Customer First World.

Most of the hard work is done. You now have a better understanding of what is working in your sales organization and where you can improve. That’s the toughest thing to do. If you don’t know what is broken you can’t fix it. It only gets better from here.

Examine Level 1 sales problems here and Level 2 sales problems here.

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