With competition tougher than ever for many salespeople, we’re not only challenged with getting into conversations but also being relevant. As many businesses begin to recover from a year of shutdowns and supply chain issues, they’re looking for partners that not only offer a great product or service, but also those who can guide them into a quicker recovery.
Doug Jenkinson is very familiar with a volatile market – his company sells to the airline industry, a market that was hit especially hard by COVID-19. To ensure his salespeople came out of the gate running when pandemic restrictions began to ease, he’s systemized how they remain relevant to prospects and keep up to date on market changes. This makes them more valuable than their competitors who are simply focused on selling products.
Interestingly, this also means his salespeople do more listening than pitching – but what they hear is often worth more to the team than anything they could have said in a sales pitch.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Doug advises we start the process of differentiating by defining our strengths instead of examining our products and services. That means starting with our employees rather than product spec sheets. It’s employees, Doug explained, that have the most up-to date information from prospects and clients about exactly what makes your products and services better or different than competitors’.
Once employees and salespeople provide their input, Doug says we still need to hold off focusing on the products and services we sell. Instead, we should examine our prospects to ensure what we think makes us different is actually something they care about. Selling something prospects don’t know they need is a much tougher sale than reaching out with a solution to a problem prospects are actively struggling with.
R – Repeatable: To ensure we’re keeping up to date on our strengths and how they’re serving customers with the needs they have today, Doug reviews his team’s sales approach daily and ensures that the points his salespeople are communicating changes at least as fast as their prospect and customers’ lives.
I – Improvable: Because prospects, customers and markets change daily, our outreach, messaging and differentiators need to be continually improved to meet our prospects where they are today and will be tomorrow, not where they were when we set our sales strategy at the beginning of the year.
To improve how we communicate what makes us, our products and services better, Doug recommends asking salespeople how their current messaging is working with prospects and customers and share any challenges, compliments, or comments about competitors with the entire team. A single salesperson who hears something useful will only be able to improve their own messaging. When salespeople share what they hear from the field, it benefits the entire team and also allows for team-wide updates of how they’re communicating strengths in emails, marketing materials and conversation scripts.
M – Measurable: To ensure the way we’re communicating unique strengths is making an impact, we first need to ensure we’re gathering up to date information. That means checking to ensure salespeople are logging comments they hear into their CRMs and that those comments are being reviewed by leadership. Second, we should measure whether those customer comments and market shifts are changing the stories we’re telling our prospects.