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The Truth About Sales Agility: Separating Fact From Fiction

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The Truth About Sales Agility: Separating Fact From Fiction

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In this rich, research-based session, Dr. Michelle Vazzana will explain both the powerful research findings on high-performing agile sellers and sales managers and the interim steps organizations can take to transform their salesforce.

In this rich, research-based session, Dr. Michelle Vazzana will explain both the powerful research findings on high-performing agile sellers and sales managers and the interim steps organizations can take to transform their salesforce.

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The Truth About Sales Agility: Separating Fact From Fiction

  1. 1. TheTruthAboutSalesAgility: SeparatingFactFromFiction with Michelle Vazzana Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder, VantagePoint Performance Tara Dwyer Webinar Coordinator, Thursday, October 20th, 2022 11:00am PDT, 2:00pm EDT, 7:00 BST Michelle Vazzana
  2. 2. VantagePoint Performance trains salespeople to be more fluent and comfortable across different situations needing different sales approaches, and they train sales managers to be better coaches and team leaders with more focus and less stress. VantagePoint can help your sales team understand how your buyers approach the buying process, learn what matters to buyers at each particular stage in the buying journey, curate sales approaches that align with buying factors as well as your organization's KPIs, and teach your sellers how to assess a buying situation. With VantagePoint, you will equip all your managers and sellers to be situationally fluent and to execute each unique interaction in the buyer’s journey like your top-performers. To learn more about how VantagePoint can help you, visit www.vantagepointperformance.com.
  3. 3. Click on the Questions panel to interact with the presenters! TO USE YOUR COMPUTER'S AUDIO: When the webinar begins, you will be connected to audio using your computer's microphone and speakers (VoIP). A headset is recommended. TO USE YOUR TELEPHONE: You must select "Use Telephone" after joining and call in using the numbers below. United States: +1 (562) 247-8321 Access Code: 921-306-192 Audio PIN: Shown after joining the webinar
  4. 4. Michelle Vazzana TheTruthAboutSalesAgility: SeparatingFactFromFiction Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder, VantagePoint Performance
  5. 5. WELCO ME! The Truth About Sales Agility: Separating Fact From Fiction Michelle Vazzana, PhD Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
  6. 6. What Is Agility? The ability to adapt behavior based on changes in the situation an individual is facing Situational Fluency is the ability to - assess and make sense of the situation - select the optimal path forward - execute that path - and continually monitor impact
  7. 7. Reduce the chances of making a viable sale by 66% Too Much Conflicting Making trade-offs is difficult
  8. 8. Customers Want Insights Giver Teller Sense Maker
  9. 9. Making Sense of Sales Agility FOUNDATIONAL Buyer Psychology and the Buying Journey ORGANIZATIONAL Linking Sales Activities with Organizational Results SITUATIONAL Buying Situations Sales Strategies
  10. 10. Common, Yet Misleading Perspectives on Sales Agility… Buyer’s position in their buying process Agile software development
  11. 11. The Sales Agility Research Journey Is there one best way to coach and manage? 1132 Sales Managers from 14 Companies How does agility impact sales management and coaching?
  12. 12. Which Business Results ​You’re Targeting Which Sales Objectives Are Necessary To Achieve Those Results​ Which Sales Activities Must Be Executed Consistently Well To Achieve Those Objectives​ Sales Metrics No One-Size-Fits-All Approach
  13. 13. Which Type of Sales Coaching is Most Impactful? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Coaching to Capabilities Coaching to Results Coaching to Activities +10% +24% Type of Sales Coaching Impact on Quota Attainment +2% +2%
  14. 14. Activities must align to desired organizational results Monitoring leading indicators reflects progress Consistent coaching aligns to highest-impact activities Sales Management and Coaching No One-Size-Fits-All
  15. 15. Organizational Agility ORGANIZATIONAL
  16. 16. Is there one best way to coach and manage? 1132 Sales Managers from 14 ​Companies Is There One Best Sales Methodology?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ Do High Performers​ Adapt to the Situation? 1500 Sales Reps from 3 ​Different Industries Does Adapting​ Improve Win Rates?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ The Sales Agility Research Journey How does agility impact sales execution?
  17. 17. Research Conclusions Multiple Sales Strategies Unique Buying Situations #1 #2 #4 #3 High performers choose different strategies. Core performers use only one regardless of the situation.
  18. 18. Is there one best way to coach and manage? 1132 Sales Managers from 14 ​Companies Is There One Best Sales Methodology?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ Do High Performers​ Adapt to the Situation? 1500 Sales Reps from 3 ​Different Industries Does Adapting​ Improve Win Rates?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ How Do Buying ​Factors ​Work Together? 1150 Sales Reps from 4 Different Industries​ How Do the Four Sales ​Strategies Al ign? 1150 Sales Reps from 4 Different Industries The Sales Agility Research Journey Are there foundational competencies that enable sales agility?
  19. 19. Buying Factors Define the Buying Situation Experiences Competing Priorities Preferences Needs Financial Conditions Histories Budgets Perceptions Buying Process Competitors Size of Buying Team Constraints Size of the Problem Desired Solution Stage of Engagement
  20. 20. Five Categories Of Buying Factors Customer Dynamics Problem Awareness Competitive Landscape Solution Definition Buying Stage
  21. 21. Sales Strategy Feedback Monitor Buyer Reactions Situational Sales Agility Customer Dynamics Problem Awareness Competitive Landscape Solution Definition Buying Stage Buying Situation Factors
  22. 22. Situational Agility SITUATIONAL
  23. 23. Is there one best way to coach and manage? 1132 Sales Managers from 14 ​Companies Is There One Best Sales Methodology?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ Do High Performers​ Adapt to the Situation? 1500 Sales Reps from 3 ​Different Industries Does Adapting​ Improve Win Rates?​ 793 Sales Reps from 3 Different Industries​ How Do Buying ​Factors ​Work Together? 1150 Sales Reps from 4 Different Industries​ How Do the Four Sales ​Strategies Al ign? 1150 Sales Reps from 4 ​ Different Industries The Sales Agility Research Journey Are There Foundational Competencies That Enable Sales Agility?
  24. 24. Common, Yet Inadequate Perspectives on Sales Agility… Situational fluency is about flexing to the buyer’s position in their buying journey
  25. 25. One Factor Was Significant In All Buying Situations! Stage of Buying Journey
  26. 26. Buying Stage is Only One Factor Among Many Customer Dynamics Problem Awareness Competitive Landscape Solution Definition Buying Stage
  27. 27. How Do the Four Sales Strategies Really Work?
  28. 28. Consultative is Foundational to All Strategies 6X
  29. 29. Which Consultative Tactics Predict Performance? Uncover Needs Present Solution Obtain Commitment
  30. 30. Buying Stage is Foundational Consultative Selling Drives Everything Research Conclusions
  31. 31. Foundational Sales Agility Feedback Monitor Buyer Reactions Assess Execute
  32. 32. Foundational Agility FOUNDATIONAL
  33. 33. Three Levels of Sales Agility FOUNDATIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL SITUATIONAL
  34. 34. Common, Yet Misleading Perspectives on Sales Agility Sales agility is similar to and benefits from principles of agile software development
  35. 35. Agile Software Development and SCRUM
  36. 36. Agile Software Development and SCRUM Agile software development is internal to the developer’s environment Agile sprints are small pieces of code development which represent tiny portions of the overall project. Many different developers are sprinting concurrently on different topics.
  37. 37. How Do You Master Sales Agility?
  38. 38. Fighter Pilot Agility Enablement Determine the Best Path of Action Execute Actions SITUATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SITUATIO NAL READ INESS SITUATIO NAL FLUE NCY Assess the Situation Monitor Impact
  39. 39. Three Levels of Sales Agility FOUNDATIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL SITUATIONAL
  40. 40. The Impact Of Sales Agility ORGANIZATIONAL SITUATIONAL FOUNDATIONAL 35% More Sellers at Quota 20% More Revenue per Seller 30% Increase in Average Selling Price
  41. 41. Key Take-Aways  Agile Development does not equal sales agility  The buying journey is a piece of the agility puzzle, not the entire puzzle  Consultative Selling is foundational to other forms of agility  Agility can be trained. But buyer beware!
  42. 42. Actions to Take Read our whitepaper: The Bottom Line on Sales Agility: Separating Fact from Fiction. Available at our booth or electronically. Contact Me: mvazzana@vantagepointperformance.com Watch a Video about Crushing Quota: https://www.vantagepointperformance.com/surprising-sales- coaching-findings-from-the-research-in-your-book-crushing-quota/
  43. 43. Q&A /in/michelle-vazzana/ Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder, VantagePoint Performance Michelle Vazzana vantagepointperformance.com Tara Dwyer Webinar Coordinator, Sales Pro Central /in/dwyertara/ salesprocentral.com

Notas del editor

  • Change defensive – highlight that everyone agrees with us. A complement – imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. We love that the industry at large has adopted our perspective on the importance of situational fluency.
  • Increases in thought leadership, data and analytics mean that customers are exposed to a high quantity of credible, high-quality information

    Having great messaging is no longer sufficient. It is a necessary ingredient in a broader approach. Any claim that a supplier can make will sooner than later be made by your competition as well.

    The impact of this information-rich environment – where customers have to sort through mountains of seemingly relevant information – is overwhelming to buyers.

    54% of customers feel they encounter too much high quality, credible information.
    44% of customers said that the credible information they encountered was conflicting – adding to their confusion.
    55% said that this made it difficult to make trade-offs between vendors and their capabilities.
    This reduces the likelihood of making a viable sale by as much as 66%.

  • There are three primary ways sellers inform customers.
    Giving: primary strategy is to respond to customer requests for information. More is better.
    Telling: Sharing seller’s perspective with an aggressive and specific point of view based on extensive personal experience and knowledge (most like Challenger) Seller-out view.
    Sense making: Guiding customer to evidence, helping customers sort through various and possibly conflicting information, and prioritizing simplicity over comprehensive detail (market-in view)

    The most effective agile sellers into today’s environment have to look at the larger landscape the customer is facing. This takes sellers longer and is initially harder from a sales perspective. However, sellers that take this broader view increase customer confidence and enjoy larger deals with higher staying power. In fact, one of our software clients reported that sellers that take this broader approach to sales agility enjoy contracts that are almost double what sellers that take a more parochial view.


  • The notion that situational fluency is about flexing to the buyer’s position within their buying journey – and that orienting effort toward different buyer personas is accurate, but inadequate. We’ll examine this first proposition as we unpack our sales agility research journey.

    This second proposition – that sales agility is similar to agile software development is just plain wrong. It is intuitively appealing, and attractive because it doesn’t require evidence to support it – yet it is still wrong. We’ll examine this false premise when we examine how to acquire sales agility.


    There are better, more relevant questions we should be asking…. Such as….

    How does sales agility manifest within sales organizations?

    Are there different levels of sales agility – and if so – how do we know? What is our evidence?





  • This is why research is so vitally important. When we entered into these research projects, we had some intuitive appealing hypotheses that were not supported by data. We thought the highest performing managers would coach more. Wrong.

    We thought capability coaching would be highly correlated with quota achievement. Wrong.

    Doing the research and looking for quantitative evidence forces us to look at reality, not our desired version of reality.
  • If agility means adapting behavior to the situation an individual if facing, then organizational agility involves adapting market facing sales behavior in ways that support company goals and objectives. In other words, adjust selling motions to align with desired business results.
  • This sounds complicated.
  • Make it into an impact story
    What happens if you are not agile?
    Orgs that drive standardization do so at the expense of agility
    Spent lots of money doing lots of things. All kind of investments that are not leading to better outcomes. Not working. Are you getting more out of all of you’ve already done. How do you help them leverage tools they already have.
    What is tying all of this together? What is the secret sauce? It is agility.

    These three levels of agility tie in all of the investments you’ve made into a workable approach to adapting. Could tie in their tech stack.

    Lots of tools are available. You will hear about lots of new and great tools, but how do they fit into ongoing sales execution. Lots of cool new stuff, but how does it all tie together. Could dump more tools and not see results. How do you use it.
  • Pull in more about buyer psychology – what it is and why it matters
  • This is confusing. Can be simplified, visually simpler..
  • You’ll notice that I use the word Agility, not agile. Sales agility is not the same thing as agile development. We’ll examine why.
    These three levels of agility tie in all of the investments you’ve made into a workable approach to adapting. Could tie in their tech stack.

    Lots of tools are available. You will hear about lots of new and great tools, but how do they fit into ongoing sales execution. Lots of cool new stuff, but how does it all tie together. Could dump more tools and not see results. How do you use it.
  • You might look at this series of sprints and think – yeah, okay, that has a lot in common with sales – why not.

    What you would be overlooking is that software development is a very tightly defined process – primarily internal – with a beginning, middle, and end for each stage. It implies high control over the development environment.

    Agile selling involves an important variable that is NOT within the seller’s control – the customer.

    In agile software development, the vision belongs to the software developer. In agile selling the vision belongs to the customer.
  • Independent, small achievements that are within the control of the developers. Whereas selling agility is all abou taking disparate information and helping your customer make sense of what that means for achievement of their goals.

    The idea that these two ideas are created equal is potentially disastrous. We’ve been very specific in talking about sales agility, not “Agile.”

    Sales agility starts big and narrows it down. Agile software development starts small and then brings it together later.

    Point that “software development” in agile is small portions, different topics, independently.
    Selling is the opposite – where we have to look at all of the pieces, see how they fit together, and help our customer make sense of them.


    You might look at this series of sprints and think – yeah, okay, that has a lot in common with sales – why not.

    What you would be overlooking is that software development is a very tightly defined process – primarily internal – with a beginning, middle, and end for each stage. It implies high control over the development environment.

    Agile selling involves an important variable that is NOT within the seller’s control – the customer.

    In addition, agile development team members work independently on very small portions of the larger project. This is exactly the opposite of how real sales teams work “together” at each stage of the sales opportunity. Again, the idea of development sprints paving the way for sales sprints just doesn’t jive. They are conceptually misaligned.

    In agile software development, the vision belongs to the software developer. In agile selling the vision belongs to the customer.

    In fact, there are customer dynamics at play in today’s selling environment that make this idea of individual sprints obsolete.
  • Why does this matter.
    This should be personal – what does it mean to me? What can you do today?
    Sales tips:
    Start fostering an agility mindset in their org. Start asking questions about the buying journey, what their likely objectives are, what do you know about their broader environment
    Shore up your consultative sales skills
    Engage your top performers on how they are executing sales tactics beyond consultative selling
    Ensure that salesperson activities are directly aligned with KPIs and sales results.

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