Hunting Big Sales with Tom Searcy

Posts tagged "Tim Searcy"

Team Selling with More Than Just Your Team

By Tim Searcy

I have referenced before that the CIO for Nortel made a keen observation that “companies no longer buy from companies, they buy from supply chains.”  Supply chain management is a buzz word concept that has actually had some staying power.  More of our clients are finding themselves in presentations in which they have brought in “partners” to assist in selling to a whale. Multiple- team selling can be a way in which your company can combat the “whale’s” natural fear that your organization is too small.  As in all things, the devil is in the details.

There are some good reasons to sell with partners.  There may be a set of capabilities that required by the buyer that you are not able to deliver.  Additionally, sometimes a key relationship may exist between a potential partner of yours and the polar bear (economic buyer) inside the whale.  It could be that the partner you are working with brings the necessary local office and physical proximity that the whale demands.  Finally, whales will occasionally tell you that a specific partner would make your offering more appealing to the firm.  Regardless of the reason, if you have decided that you will take on partners to sell the whale-sized deal, you need to keep some things in mind:

1. Who owns the chain? A supply chain or a multiple partner solutions needs to have someone in charge.  If it is you, the strength of the chain link and your ability to manage the chain are paramount.  You do not want to be in a position that a partner can somehow go around the relationship that you have and secure the business without you.  Contracts must be in place to clearly specify that for this particular pitch, your partners cannot compete separately or with a competitive solution.  If you are the subordinate in the relationship, it is important that you only select the very best partner to hunt with.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Sales Strategy.

The So-Called Expert

By Tim Searcy

Nothing beats the real world for reminders about sales process challenges. During a recent seminar when I asked people to name members of the Buyer’s Table, a participant chimed in with, “The idiot who thinks he knows everything and for some reason, everyone in the client company listens to him.” Of course, when we push down on this type of person just a little bit, we realize that they are the smartest kid in the remedial class. The rest of the firm turns to the only light of information they have and trust . . . one of their own. As the smartest person the client knows on the topic in question, they are trusted implicitly and completely. For this reason, the one-eyed man in the land of the blind really is king, and we better know what to do about him. We can:

1. Eliminate the expert from consideration. This almost never works unless your champion has always suspected that the expert was not that knowledgeable. Be very careful. An expert enjoys protected class status, and the attempt to eliminate them by showing them up can have consequences. The expert is on site or in the firm, and has relationships both professional and personal. The “nobody picks on my sister but me” mentality can take over and you will be shut out.

2. Ignore the expert. Sometimes this is wisest. Until you know the lay of the land, simply treat the expert as another member of the buyer’s table.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Leadership.

The Three P’s of Sales Crisis Management

By Tim Searcy

Ahh meetings—those wonderful illusions of productivity, collaboration and focus.  Meetings are the standard reaction to sales management crisis just as running an IV is the standard answer in an emergency room.

OK, you are going to have a meeting because you are in a crisis. What are you going to meet about?

Enthusiastic yelling, leading and hours of meetings will only create the illusion of problem solving.  Instead, you need information.  There are three types of information you have to get a stranglehold on right away in a sales crisis: pipeline, prospects and potential.

1. Pipeline. The pipeline is defined as the list of real opportunities for which you have credible, verifiable information including all of the following:

  • Dollars. How big is this, how soon can we see it, and how long will the opportunity continue to pay us and is there a bigger payout later?  But even more important than that is the rock solid assurance that a trigger event has occurred that will make certain this deal happens, and an unshakeable knowledge that a budget of sufficient size has been allocated to do the work. Without these, the dollars are dreams, not dollars.
  • Dates. When the deal is going to close is less relevant than when it will bill.  More importantly, what control do we have on moving the dates forward versus waiting for things to happen?  Sometimes a prospect will make accommodation or we can directly impact how quickly actions can take place by what we do.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Prospecting, Sales Skills, Sales Strategy.

“Everyone Wants To Go To Heaven…”

By Tim Searcy

“. . . but nobody wants to die.” Or, so the saying goes. This is so true for all management change. I’ve been spending time with CEO’s that are frustrated with their teams. Although everyone wants to see better outcomes, the sales leadership has been unwilling to adopt behavior change. The fact is that if a company keeps using the same tools, thinking and approach, it will get the same outcome. Change requires in a word, well, change.

If you’re implementing Hunt Big Sales’ methodologies, or the concepts originally put forth in Tom Searcy’s book Whale Hunting, and are frustrated with the pace of internal adoption, consider the following three questions:

1. Have you been crystal clear about your unwavering commitment to the new sales process? Change of this nature is not collaborative throughout the organization, nor does the decision require “buy in.” This is a radically different approach to change management, but simply assuming that you’ll be able to get everyone on board diminishes the elements needed to enact revolutionary change. The only group-think that has to be done is at the very top of the organization, and that is the firm’s commitment to begin. Now, the second step of implementation requires tremendous discussion and explanation. This is about helping people understand, “why?” In tough times like the current recession, it is possible that the reason is as simple as survival.

2. Do you have a step-by-step time line for implementation? In my client experience, it is wise to understand that everything cannot all happen at once.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Business Strategy, Leadership, Prospecting, Sales Strategy.

Don’t just shrink . . . become different!

By Tim Searcy

In the last month, I’ve visited with 75 CEOs, and there is a universal understanding of undeniable truth: things are tough out there.  Now although this is obvious, the varied responses haven’t been so obvious. 

Most reactions have come in three forms:
1. Self-denial – “Everyone else is having a tough time, but we prepared for this in advance. If we make a few cuts, I think we’ll ride this out just fine.”

2.  Panic – “We’ve pulled back on all spending, and we’re going to wait for the market to turnaround.”

[Note: I have not found one person that can tell me what the trigger point will be so that they or any of us will be certain that the turnaround has arrived.]

3. Change – “We see this as an opportunity to re-evaluate all the initiatives that we engaged in during the strong market to determine what was worthwhile, and what was truly an unsuccessful gamble.”

Big Sales-minded organizations are thinking like the third guy quoted… 

Posted by Tom Searcy in Business Strategy, Leadership.

Rules of Engagement: Social Networking

Guest post by Tim Searcy

When I grew up, social networking was code for cocktails at 5:30 PM. Now I find out that it’s code for just about anything and everything digital that brings disparate individuals and groups together: blog postings, topic-based forums and many other platforms I’m just now getting my head wrapped around.

My friend and colleague Azlin Happley sent the old timers in the office some clear rules of engagement for Social Networking, and I thought it would be nice to let you weigh in as well. She is classified into whatever the sociologists call the most recent generation, and I trust her knowledge of the technology that makes me go “WOW!”

Social networking is often about reading a lot of postings, and carefully selecting the person that you want to engage in conversation. However, instead of the blast nature of some other forms of marketing, you have to be very one-on-one when the promise is a one-to-one relationship. This means you will have to e-mail the person you want to connect with, and this is where it can get hairy…

Posted by Tom Searcy in Social Media/Email Tips.

Guest Blog: Competition is the Commodity

By Tim Searcy

I’m sick and tired of fruit analogies. In particular when I hear, “We want to make an apples to apples comparison.” GRRRRRR!!!!!!! Sometimes we spend so much time distinguishing ourselves from our competition’s efforts in order to commoditize ourselves that we forget that there are commonalities in our competitive product set. If a commodity is defined as, “when two things are being viewed as good enough,” there are times this characterization can work in our favor. In legal parlance, it is called “conceding the point.”

Posted by Tom Searcy in Business Strategy.