Your company, like most of those that participated in our recent business development survey, probably saw a decline in revenue growth opportunities over the last 9 months. No surprise there. And you might be anticipating that things will not return to pre-pandemic levels until we’re deep into 2021.
A handful of business leaders we’ve spoken with have decided to take assertive action to improve the odds capturing whatever new revenue opportunities there are. Their method of choice – provide sales training for their capture or business development teams.
You can’t get different results if you don’t change things up. But will this change really get you what you want??
Selling vs. Winning
There’s a profound difference between knowing how to sell and knowing how to win. Teams that know how to win can be expected to have pretty good selling skills. But teams with good selling skills can be ill-equipped to win.
Think of selling and winning as equivalent to knowing how to play tennis well and winning a major tournament.
Core selling skills are well documented. Prospecting. Making the approach. Asking the right questions. Listening. Presenting. Handling Objections. Closing. The tennis analogy: Serve, forehand, backhand, lob, play the net. You get the idea.
You can’t win a tournament by knowing how to serve, hit a forehand, hit a backhand, and so on. Even if you do all these things well, you must prepare with discipline for each match and each opponent. Let’s not forget about the weather and court conditions and to adjust for injury and fatigue or if your opponent does the unexpected.
Winning in competitive pursuits is a lot more like this. It requires long-term strategic thinking. Rigorous qualifying criteria before and after the RFP arrives such as:
Innovative communication tactics.
Industry-best insights and thought leadership.
Broad and deep relationships with decision makers, influencers, and supporters.
Differentiating, meaningful positioning.
Intensity in thought and approach.
And much more.
The Myth of Advanced Selling Skills
Bringing sales training into a firm in the hopes that it will improve that company’s win rate in competitive pursuits makes sense if that firm really struggles in fundamental selling skills. That same solution is not likely to improve win rates, even if the basic fundamentals are already in place.
But what about “advanced selling skills?” Won’t this make a difference?
Sure it would, if such a thing actually existed.
In 25+ years of advising companies on how to win more new business, we’ve been asked this question over and over by companies that aren’t capturing enough new business. “Please design for us an advanced selling skills program,” they say. The only response that makes sense starts with a thorough analysis of how good their people are at:
(Yes, the same list mentioned earlier.)
Sometimes there are genuine shortfalls, even among experienced salespeople. Certainly, that needs to be addressed. But “advanced selling skills?” Nah.
What the ask SHOULD be is, “please design a program for us that shows our skilled salespeople how to win.” That’s relevant, and if well executed (and taken to heart by capture teams), will yield measurable results.
Make the transition from selling to winning. Get in touch with the Artemis leadership here .