David Jefferson, JI Management Consultants, Bedford, January 2020, www.ji-mc.co.uk
This book is about achieving ‘best practice’ within a sales team. Every sales process that ‘works’, is really just where you are, on a journey, ideally getting a little better every year. Every sales professional, every customer/purchase decision influencer, every product, every marketplace and every deal/close is unique. There is no absolute ‘best’ sales secret that makes every practitioner successful. In this book you will find thinking tools, disciplined language and managerial scenarios that will help you to evolve. In this instance, ‘best’ refers to the real practices that are most effective in your type of enterprise. It goes by the name of ‘B-PRIME’.
There are many sales books and points of view on how to achieve personal sales success. They should be read in conjunction with this book and as value-added knowledge. The focus of this book is Best-PRactice Implementation MEthodology (‘B-PRIME’ for short). This is a different kind of book addressing the issues faced by teams charged with nurturing sales relationships, closing deals and recruiting/developing advocates from amongst happy customers. The index is comprehensive and quite granular. As you might expect, there are items like ‘prospects’, ‘funnel’, and ‘pipeline’. There is also stuff you don’t normally find in an airport book-rack sales book. A discussion on ‘snake-pit’ is one such example.
It’s about continuous improvement of the functioning of a sales team. It’s about repeatable, shareable and proven processes… and it’s about cultural evolution. The definitions and the proposed language of selling are important contributions helping you to build your own communication assets for bringing your team together. There’s language for management and language within the team to make for clearer sharing. Clear, succinct language of selling fosters ‘team thinking’ and team-driven evolution of more effective behaviours. Unsurprisingly, making it work needs a bit of the right kind of leadership here and there.
Building the relatedness that supports a close is an art-form. It depends on highly developed and shaped intuition. Some people just have it; some need to grow into it. It’s an asset that is nurtured by success and failure alike. Do it right and you are supporting someone struggling with the buyer’s journey. Do it wrong and the thought that takes shape in your prospect’s head is something like, ‘I hate being sold at’. Developing successful relationship skills, empathy and intuition attuned to the kind of enterprise that you are in, is an evolution towards best-practice.
Early on we encounter two graphic discussion-focus tools to help this evolution along; ‘Perception-Point Canvas’ (illustrating that folks are all different), and ‘Value Proposition Canvas’ (for exploring how people who influence a sale perceive value). For a team, this helps flesh out what everybody thinks they know; and then adds a few new thoughts. It’s also useful as a catalyst for collaborative work on finding an innovative deal-close approach on a difficult pitch where there are many deal influencers. This is crunchy stuff for such an early position in the book (might be good to read it twice). Understanding this informs later sections. About a third of the way through the book you get to GDPR and ‘Poison Pool’… and you will realise that this is no ordinary sales book. There are process ideas I have not encountered before, though I have read many sales books.
In the middle we encounter the idea of purchase decisions emanating from facts or emotions. This further explores some of the issues encountered in the ‘Canvas’ discussions. Yes, we all know that human beings are driven by emotions. Developing the sensitivities to respect someone struggling with a purchase decision and support them through the ‘decision’ process is a learned behaviour, so diverse and complex that nobody ever knows it all; but the best performers never stop learning. People who are curious recognise that purpose-driven relationships with commercial win/lose dimensions, bear little or no resemblance to the type of conversations we learn to handle early in our lives or possibly experience in a pub.
With suspects, prospects, leads, pipeline, web visits, call rates and such there is a lot to measure. There are complexities and metrics that make the data handling task difficult, not to mention GDPR. Towards the end I encountered a section called B-PRIME Part 2. It is interesting to note that the use of a spreadsheet is not recommended. People I speak to agree; they are generally of a mind that it is virtually impossible to configure the necessary GDPR processes in a spreadsheet.
The use of a CRM system is specifically not mentioned, in this section, though acquiring a ‘specialist software’ system is recommended. So, when you are searching for a data platform and are confronted with an infinite array of choice (CRM’s?), you may discover that some don’t work. As someone struggling with the ‘buyer’s mind-set’, you may experience what this uncertainty feels like at first hand. Don’t miss the learning opportunity! Draw the Canvas.
Let’s take as a given, the assumption that you are involved in sales in some way. Is there something you are searching for to support you in making your world of work just a little bit better? Reasons to read... 1, 2, 3….
…And a few more that you may discover when you recommend this book to a colleague.
As a final note, here is the author’s core message; “The world, and particularly the business world is changing all the time, it changes every day, just by a small amount, so make sure that you are changing with it.”
The original review in PDF form is available for you to read, distribute and share.
Thank you, David, for such a comprehensive and insightful review. I believe having a process that fits your business, tailored to its needs is the best way forward. The reason the book came into existence was to help businesses do better and to gain an advantage over their competition.
To implement this or other techniques and system into your business, contact me to today.