When all the hand waving and hollering is over during a robust forecast review the reality is pretty simple if you have the courage to face the truth:
Those questions ring in my ears today just as they did 26 years ago.
A lot has changed in sales as we have migrated from a Seller Centric environment to today’s Buyer Centric world.
A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same.
I was at the “Age of Infinite Wisdom” as I called it, 34 years old, full of quick answers, yes to everything, I was a Mile wide and inch deep in all my accounts.
I bragged that I had 10 years of Sales Experience.
What I quickly learned, at the Start up that I had just joined that was destined to become one of the first software only companies to a billion dollars in revenue, was that I had one year of experience, repeated 10 times!
I was constantly looking at things the way I wanted them to be not the way they were.
That was until my “Sea Gull Manager”, that is what I used to call him, showed up:
You know the type of manager who would:
· Then before flying out of the room and relieving himself all over your office in general and specifically targeting your forecast -
The last words from the “Seagull” of course were always something like:
Believe it or not I started to like this guy.
For the first time in my career I had someone looking for the TRUTH in all my opportunities. He would actually help me create a Real Forecast rather than my usual “Hope-Cast”.
Yes it was tough answering all kinds of embarrassing and truth revealing questions.
However it taught an aging salesman that if he wanted to remain relevant then he would have to :
It was MY Forecast and I had to own it.
He enabled me to understand that the quality of the forecast was reflected in the Quality of the questions I asked myself and eventually my Customers.
Little did I know we were on the way to defining MEDDIC which has organically become one of the Best Qualifications systems available to anyone who has the courage to use it.
In future Blogs maybe we’ll discuss what the Steady Diet of ground glass and rusty razor blades can do to toughen up a Sales rep who had a propensity to wear Rose Colored Glasses and Happy Ears.
As a MEDDIC sales training/coaching company, we were looking for a native mobile CRM that we could configure for clients with our MEDDIC qualification process. We had adopted the salesforce1 platform as a starting point and that worked, but there was more we wanted to be able to do without additional custom programming for our MEDDIC Meter app.
Perhaps a bigger issue was that we wanted to allow our clients the capability to configure their sales process to the prospects buying process and still apply our MEDDIC qualification methodology. Since 40-50% of the buying process is complete before prospects contact a sales person, we thought the CRM tool should not only take that into account but be able to adapt to the prospects buying process during the entire sales cycle without back end configuration and programming.
A colleague of ours suggested we check out iSEEit as they were posting some interesting and well written blogs on MEDDIC. Rizan Flenner, co-founder and CEO, showed us a demo and my first impression after the demo and running the trial software is – This is the kind of technology we were looking for- native mobile CRM is a game changer.
The things we like most:
· A Simple, lightweight and Mobile design theme
· Designed by sales people, for sales people
· A perfect fit for the High Tech B2B Complex sale – this is the world of MEDDIC
· The capability to define and map milestones specific to the opportunity in the tool at the right sales stage by the sales rep.
Those milestones can be defined by/with the prospect to reflect their buying process and customer verifiable outcomes
· A strong capability to connect all the information about a contact – social Media, etc
· A strong capability to create tasks and manage tasks and connect tasks to other sales team members
· I was inputting contacts, creating milestones, tasks, and forecasts all without any formal training – very intuitive
I strongly recommend taking a look at the iSEEit web page and getting a demo. If you know MEDDIC, you will see what I saw. If you or your sales force does not know MEDDIC, but want to learn it, check out our contact us page on salesmeddic.com.
While Scuba diving on the Honduras Island of Roatan, I was reminded once more of the power of a common language while doing very important things that in this case, can mean the difference between a great time or a life threatening situation.
The Roatan Divers shop staff has a multi-lingual element- The Dive Masters know Spanish, French, Swedish, Japanese, and English. Divers come here from all over the world. Currently there were people here from Spain, Puerto Rico, USA, Canada, Germany and France. While explaining the dive plan and checking the guest’s fluency - all the dive masters spoke a common language – in this case English. Then the common language goes one step deeper - into a Dive language of signs – low on air – I am ok- out of air- etc – are all hand gestures trained divers learn so they can communicate underwater where things can happen quickly and it’s very important to communicate effectively.
Transferring this to sales opportunity/forecast qualification shares some common themes
Here are the Top 5 sales qualification languages I have found that exist today. There may be more and I would welcome knowledge sharing in the comment section. Some morph into sales processes but that is another topic as well I can discuss in another article.
My experience tells me that - #4 is actually the most widely spoken! As a sales manager, how many times have you asked a rep about what’s happening at an opportunity or account and finding your ear hurting and your cell battery getting low some 20 minutes later? The problem is two fold – you should be asking specific questions around a common language so the rep cannot jump into a stream of consciousness and the rep needs to be trained on a common language for your inspection questions so they have done the work to know the answers before you call them. Then your session turns into a coaching call and a very efficient one at that. Just like the “I am ok” sign lets the dive master know she can keep going and finding cool things ( think revenue) for you to look at.
For another viewpoint - Here is a very good explanation on the importance of common qualification language from ForceManagement - a recognized leader in sales transformation.
"Standardized qualification criteria ensuring good qualified opportunities is dependent on having a common language around the criteria used to determine qualification. Whether you use MEDDIC or some other qualification language, it’s imperative as a manager that your sellers understand the necessary criteria for determining whether an opportunity is qualified or not." Click the blue link for the entire page on the ForceManagement web site
Below is a quick assessment of the other 4 common qualification languages out there today:
LSLD: Many experienced sales VP’s attract their core sales people from previous working relationships - so they know each other. Once the sales team grows, the lack of a formal common language starts showing up in inconsistent sales performance. Territories get blamed, reps get fired, all kinds of bad things happen when the root cause could be a lack of common qualification language across the global sales force.
While scuba diving, it is very important to have established a common language before you descend into the underwater environment. I feel it is also very important to have an established global common language for forecast qualification before you have a forecast call with your reps. It could mean the difference between hitting your number or ending up in a hyperbaric chamber wondering what happened.
CALL TO ACTION
If you would like to discuss our MEDDIC workshops built on a common language for High tech B2B complex sales environments, let us know via our contact us page. NOTE:MEDDIC is overkill for commodity tech products and simple mature sales environments(non-disruptive technologies).
If you use another language successfully - keep doing it and drive commonality into your on-boarding process for every new sales rep. Please share your thoughts on any common language you are using effectively so we all get a little smarter.
B2B sales qualification and the squishy part of the buying cycle
I recently read a blog post on linked in shared by David Brock from Partners in Excellence. The post was titled the squishy buying cycle and did a good job of adding more understanding to the complex B2B buying cycle.
Many of the companies we speak with have well defined sales processes mapped to a buying process but tend to treat the squishy part in the same manner as the firm or linear parts. For example, they apply a percentage closed to each stage of the sales cycle they have defined but fail to take into account that the linear % closed numbers only apply accurately at the beginning and at the end. The middle, up to the paper work in progress stage, is squishy, as the article points out and does not behave the same and therefore cannot be measured accurately with a % closed number for quantification.
We have found that by embedding our MEDDIC solution qualification process into our client’s sales process, we can apply a common language for opportunity inspection to the squishy part of the cycle. Once the opportunity is moved into the paper work in progress stage, your are out of the squishy stage and can manage that with due diligence on the defined paperwork work and sign off process.
If you don’t have a common language in your sales organization for opportunity qualification during the squishy part of your prospects buying cycle, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can have a live discussion to see if we can help you.
In the complex B2B sale – Top technical resources are the golden goose, but which opportunities do you take the goose too?
The top technical resources in your organization are highly sought after by your sales team. All too often, a top producer's revenue is the result of a technical resource’s skills, both technically and in communicating confidence to the prospect. Combine superior sales talent with this “Golden Goose” and that team's positive business outcomes tend to dwarf the rest of your sales forces efforts.
Largest opportunity or best qualified?
Do you take the goose to the largest revenue opportunity or to the one that is best qualified? How can you really tell? Sales reps will tell you anything to get the goose to nest on their opportunity and maybe produce golden eggs.
Let MEDDIC be your guide, let’s explore some decision factors
1. Technical resources are expensive so having them work on any opportunity should require some due diligence.
2. The only way you know an opportunity has a specific revenue potential is through a meeting with the economic buyer or through meeting with a tested champion. Managers must inspect and engage. Sales reps are too close to the deal and they selfishly want the goose on their opportunity.
3. The size of the prospective company is also a factor, but large companies can also grab your goose and keep it locked up for months.
How does MEDDIC help you quickly see where to take the goose?
1. A CIS MEDDIC solution opportunity view can show revenue potential, the total MEDDIC scores, Economic Buyer and Champion scores, etc so you can look at all the information on one screen.
As Vp of sales, you still need to make the call, but now you have much better qualified information.
The MEDDIC acronym was developed at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) by the sales development team of Richard Dunkel and Jack Napoli. PTC had the reputation for one of the most successful sales organizations in the high Tech Industry. A true world class sales organization for the B2B complex sale.The M in MEDDIC stands for Metrics - so here is one: After the sales teams adopted the MEDDIC qualification process, sales grew from $300 million to $1 Billion and PTC met or exceeded every quarters revenue targets for 20 quarters in a row.
When the founder of Continuous Improvement Solutions, Jack Napoli, left PTC, he continued training sales reps in the MEDDIC qualification process. The Holy grail of accurate forecasting, something that was in the DNA of PTC, is driven by applying the principles of MEDDIC to each opportunity. This is a sales rep enabled process now available in your CRM system and designed for Mobile platforms.
Anyone that worked in the PTC sales organization lived the intense forecast call sessions with PTC's sales management team.Those sales reps appreciated the value of MEDDIC and it's qualification accuracy.There were two types of sales reps at PTC, rich and new. Sales reps competent with MEDDIC stayed in the game.
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