I’m especially fixated on business development (BD) and sales right now, because one of the companies I work with is in transition and working to crack this nut. While there is a lot of overlap between BD, sales and marketing in the types of companies I work with, I don’t claim to be a sales guru. That’s why I have so much respect for Tony Hughes and other professionals I’ve been talking to lately who really know how to break into, manage and grow large enterprise accounts. More than that, they know how to teach other people to do it and coach them during sales situations, which is a real skill in itself. I’ll be introducing you to more of those people soon, because I’ve yet to run across an organization that has really mastered this type of selling across its sales organization. They may have rainmakers who have mastered it, but the rainmakers are usually naturals (“unconsciously competent”) and are, by definition, the exception rather than the rule. It’s also tough skill to transfer, so people like Tony are worth their weight in gold, especially when you are talking about average deal sizes in the millions, if not higher.
As a start, it’s worth sharing Tony Hughes’ “Value Quadrant for Professional Sales.”
Many models talk about delivering customer value, but they don’t talk about how your sales activity should also be delivering value to your organization by uniquely positioning you and your company as an influencer with the customer who can solve their business problems, reduce risk during the process, and take them into the future. It’s easier for a sales person to be positioned in that upper left quadrant when the overall company story is one of clear, differentiated, problem-solving value (which is where the Apollo Method for Market Dominance comes in). But stellar sales people can get by even without that. And often they play a role in helping to define that theme for the entire company by talking to customers and finding the patterns of common problem areas across companies and feeding those back to the strategy and marketing teams.
There is a nice walk-through of the model on Tony’s website. On the surface, the labels in the box seem obvious and intuitive. But read his explanation for some nuances that are very important. This matrix offers a nice starting point for shifting your sales and business development organization toward truly delivering distinctive value to customers.