A sales leader from a mid-sized, U.S. based SaaS company recently asked me: “How should we measure the effectiveness of our ‘sales experience’?” My ‘auto-pilot’ reaction was to ask a few diagnosis questions and pressure test some Challenger basics. I can’t answer how to measure an experience if I don’t understand the experience being measured:
- “Does your sales messaging lead with insight (instead of solution features/benefits)?”
- “Are your sellers appropriately assertive when it comes to driving the buying process (rather than simply trying to build relationships)?”
- “Are your managers consistently coaching to all of this?”
Her answer: “Yes, we’ve got the broad strokes down and everyone is bought in. But…we struggle with consistency in our day-to-day execution.”
She went on to explain that it feels as though – with customer budgets tighter than they’ve been in over a decade, and new stakeholders from procurement and finance playing a more prominent role, – the performance bar for sellers has been raised every step of the way.
In fact, the experience she was trying to measure and improve was actually a series of experiences related to steps in a sales process. There was an experience that sparked interest and created top-of-funnel demand. There was the experience of influencing stakeholder group buying decisions (or just securing access to the right stakeholders to begin with). And there was an experience to defend economic value in late-stage negotiations when confronted with 11th hour requests or demands.
Our recent Challenger research confirms her concern; it shows waning customer access and, perhaps more worryingly, diminishing seller influence.
Access: Sellers are spending less time on customer-facing activity (avg. 19.4 hours per week, down from ~25 hours per week pre-COVID)
Influence: Of the information sources rated most important by customers in terms of influencing their decision-making, ‘sellers’ ranked fifth, behind peers, SMEs, colleagues, and independent research.
The good news? We know that sellers who lead with insight to disrupt customer status quo, build strong business cases for change, and articulate and defend the economic value created by their solution(s) are much more likely to drive long-term customer loyalty and account growth. The sales experience those sellers deliver pushes them to the top of the decision-making source list differentiates their brand/solution and makes a customer much more likely to make a purchase decision.
But, as the earlier example highlighted, sales leaders must first break down and analyze the experiences in their sales process to plan a development strategy.
Challenger introduced TEMPO in 2020 to help sales leaders do just that. TEMPO is a guide for when and how to apply the Challenger approach and better your sales experience in each stage of a common sales process.
So, are your sellers showing up in the moments that matter?
Challenger’s new TEMPO diagnostic tool can help you answer that question.
When you click to access the tool, you’ll be asked about different stages of a typical sale. Rate your organization’s proficiency in delivering a powerful experience and the importance of that experience in your overall sales strategy. Your ratings will automatically generate “Experience Scores” across each of the five TEMPO stages along with recommendations for where to focus to derive the greatest benefit. A high “Experience Score” is a flashing red light, worthy of extra attention. If you have a need, you can download more detailed guidance and recommendations for action with our set of TEMPO eBooks, aligned to each of the five TEMPO stages.
If it’s important for you to get your sales experiences right in 2021, we hope this tool and the accompanying guidance is helpful. Please contact us if you want to discuss more.