By Justin Ashton, Sales Director - Development and Retention
Sales, and particularly B2B sales, used to be a question of knocking on doors, turning up and presenting whatever it was you were selling, hoping that the person you were presenting to was interested enough to purchase. Old school closing techniques were the mainstay of sales training and inquiry management was not very sophisticated.
Being in sales for a very long time, I have seen a lot of changes to the way we sell and much bigger changes in the way people buy.
Now it is much more important to consider the purchase journey of a prospective customer. Opening doors is still part of the job but using tools such as LinkedIn Navigator has taken some of the legwork away.
Ultimately, I would rather a prospect approach us through having a great reputation and a strong online presence. This could mean that the pre-selection phase of the job is done and great companies can then begin to interact with a prospect on a more meaningful level.
Typical steps in the purchase cycle would be:
- Identification of a business need
- Consideration of possible solutions, vendors and partners
- Research on identified solutions
- Budget gathering
- Meeting with preferred vendors
- Shortlist and internal socialization
- Objective selection of solution and partner
- Solution and Project scope detailing and agreement
- Commercial agreement
- Internal approvals – multiple stakeholders and approval workflows
- Contract agreement
- Launch planning
- Ongoing support
- Project evolution
Within the ENTERTAINER Business team, we always try to keep these steps in mind and first meetings are a chance for us to really listen and learn more about the company we are working with, as well as explaining what we bring to the table.
We should leave these meetings understanding the overall need and objectives the company wants to achieve, Project Sponsor and key stakeholders (often CEO, CFO, IT, Marketing and HR), the process of decision making, the outline budget constraints and the timelines.
Using this approach, we can come away and return to present the right solution for that client, fitting their budget, timelines and most importantly, their programme objectives.
The ENTERTAINER team can offer a range of products and solutions, from volume purchases of the consumer app, customer branded versions with tailored offers for a specific target customer or employee (often as rewards or campaigns), through to bespoke solutions where loyalty is the main objective, incorporating sophisticated behavior triggers, deep analytics, AI-powered communications and more.
It is very important that our sales teams understand and can explain in simple terms the range of solutions available, to educate and advise the client on the right solution.
We are fortunate to have team members who are subject matter experts in certain sectors, namely Finance & Banking, Telco, Travel, Retail / FMCG and Employee Rewards.
The SMEs will work with the salesperson to ensure the solution is a perfect fit within the client’s industry and give them the competitive edge they need. Product teams are also involved from an early stage, ensuring a smooth transition into the later development phase.
Once the high-level solution is acceptable to stakeholders, we would then work with the client to fine tune the details – project delivery, content of the programme, marketing support and areas of responsibility.
From there, it is a case of close communication with the company to navigate commercials and contracts, creating a win-win for both businesses.
Within the ENTERTAINER, we manage all our opportunities and customer relationships using industry leading software, logging all the steps in the process, notes, contacts and more, to ensure nothing is forgotten. It allows us to measure our salespeople against set KPIs, ensuring they are best serving their potential and existing customers.
My expectations from my team are simple:
- Customer first approach
- Effort and diligence always
- Excellent product knowledge
- Always look for a win-win
- Great communication and teamwork, both internally and with the customer
- Accurate records and notes
- No surprises
I am proud that my team apply these traits daily and work hard to find the best loyalty and rewards solutions for each and every customer.
Sales is not an easy mission and the positive energy these guys bring is infectious. It translates into great sales results, with 2019 shaping up to be a fantastic year of achievement.