Dave Stein is a legend in the sales training industry and he has teamed up with Steve Andersen to publish an essential book for anyone in business-to-business selling. I just finished reading Beyond The Sales Process and its timeless wisdom is wrapped within a modernized approach achieving sales success by intelligently creating value for customers.
“The customer is the only one qualified to call something a solution. The customer is also the one who defines and measures value” Tony Hughes
Just as with the best sales leaders, Dave Stein has always advocated sales people define ‘value’ through the eyes of the customer, but this book explains exactly how to do it by researching thoroughly and then engaging on the basis of insight and value. Dave and Steve make the very important point that alignment is more important than persuasion and they highlight the core reasons for an existing supplier being replaced or a seller failing to win. Here is an excerpt from the book.
In nearly every case where a provider was replaced, misalignment existed between the client’s performance challenges and the provider’s ability to drive changes that would address and overcome them. Sales performance initiatives fail for other reasons, as well:
- The supplier/seller is unwilling or unable to understand how their customer buys;
- The supplier/seller does not understand how the customer defines value;
- The supplier/seller does not understand what is motivating and putting pressure on the customer, particularly when it comes to their external drivers, business objectives and internal challenges;
- The supplier/seller cannot articulate business value to the customer;
- People in sales, account management, and sales leader roles are unsuited for their jobs;
- There is no overall methodology, with the relevant processes in place, to drive sales excellence, or the existing methodology is not widely complied with and adhered to;
- The supplier/seller has little or no understanding of the political forces within a customer’s organization; or
- The supplier/seller has little or no understanding of its own competitors.
If you’re a fan of Challenger Selling but have struggled with how to implement the concept of engaging on the basis of a provocative insight; then Beyond The Sales Process is the book for you. This is because the book leads with strategies for truly understanding a potential customer and then differentiation through the way you engage rather than with what you’re selling.
Dave and Steve know that the very best salespeople today are engineers of value, not warriors of persuasion. These sellers research and prepare before engaging at the right level in the buyer’s organization as they create insightful conversations that lead to the collaborative creation of a business-case value.
Another brilliant aspect of the book is the concept of thinking beyond closing the sale to instead regard success as only occurring once the client is realizing the benefits of your product, service or solution… and with them being advocates for you in the market.
Beyond The Sales Process is filled with actionable insights, illuminating case studies, and it is intelligently written from academic solid ground – logical, compelling and thought-provoking. It enables any seller to create a winning sales process that goes beyond being customer-centric to truly understand the world of the customers. The most successful companies have their customers as evangelists by creating alignment and value in partnership with the customer. The book answers these important questions:
- Why should your customers engage with you before they discover your value?
- How do you create buyer alignment and remove the tension from the sales process?
- How do you create market advocates who extend your reach and influence to create greater success?