Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How Do Men and Women Sales People Compare? (And What Can We Learn From This?)

Here is a terrific article that analyzes some intriguing differences in the way that men and women engage with customers.  There is some very insightful material here:

I love the comment, “Silence is not the same as listening” (wish I had said that!).

Monday, March 27, 2017

[Warning:  Shameless Self-Promotion Alert!]  Great Demo! Public Workshop May 3-4

Our next West Coast Great Demo! Public Workshop is scheduled for May 3-4 and will take place in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Sunnyvale, CA.

Registration and additional information for this Workshop can be found at  

Public Workshops are excellent opportunities for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires. They are 1.75-Day Workshops, with the first day focusing largely on core Great Demo! material and the second ¾ day addressing more advanced topics and techniques. 

We’ve found that these sessions are most productive when there are two or more participants from each organization – and best when a combination of sales and presales participants are present (singletons are also fine). This helps to mimic real-life interactions as much as possible, both when preparing demos and delivering them in the role-play sessions.

PS - If you do decide to register for San Francisco Bay Area Public Workshops and are coming from out of town, you might want to make reservations now at the hotel where the Workshop will take place or nearby, as hotels tend to fill up quickly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Critical Business Issues vs. Problems/Reasons

In Great Demo! Workshops we often note that customers will be willing to live (for a long time!) with the problems they face, but are motivated to address these problems when the problems put a goal or objective at risk.  Accordingly, the best way to define a Critical Business Issue is in terms of quarterly, annual, or project-based goals or objectives that are at risk.  These are what often drive people to make a change (and buy some software).

However, many sales teams have a hard time distinguishing between Problem level issues and Critical Business Issues – and too often, they list the former as the latter (which can then contribute to a “No Decision” outcome).

To help differentiate between the two, ask, “How is this person measured?  How does he/she know, at the end of the year, that he/she has been a success?”  The answer often is a Critical Business Issue for that person. 

Contributing to the confusion is the fact that most people operate at the Problem level and only think in terms of Critical Business Issues when gently pushed…  Here’s an example (and good practice for working with real prospects):

Ask a sales person at your company, “What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job today?”

Most sales people will likely respond with something like, “Well, I don’t have enough good leads – and I’m spending too much time on administrative stuff…”

That answer is at the Problem level – not a Critical Business Issue… 

You then say, “Mm-hmm, mm-hmm…  Tell me, how are you measured?  How do you know at the end of the quarter or year that you have been a success?”

The sales person realizes, “Oh, yeah – if I make quota…!”

That’s the Critical Business Issue.  Which is more important and valuable to this sales person:  getting enough leads/less admin stuff, or making his numbers?  (I’d say the latter).  Which would cause him to take action – worrying about too few leads or realizing that he is waaaaay below quota as he moves into the last month of the quarter?  I’d say the latter, again!