By Pat Hinds,
Recently I was on a sales call to review sales force automation requirements of an energy service company that supplies infrastructure to energy producers in Western Canada. The company has two lines of business:
• The first is supplying standalone “products” that are integrated as a component of a more complex solution.
• The second is the “service” the assembly/fabrication of all the components of the more complex solution including that standalone product they resell.
The VP of sales asked to meet with me to discuss his requirements for a customer relationship management application. He gave me a tour of the operations and gave me examples of the primary lines of business. During the tour he told me that the “service” component of the business had a 4 million dollar back log of work and at this point they could not book more orders. I was surprised that he would call me in to discuss sales automation when it sounded like he had more sales than he could provision.
I started to probe question around the reason he would consider a CRM solution if the company had a back log of business and he told me that it takes months to provision the assembled/fabricated products; as a result there is the need to focus on the standalone products to meet sales targets. He indicated that the customers they sell fabricated products to are different than the service products and he feels a CRM will help them manage the two different types of relationships.
The things that I learnt from this sales call are:
• Better call preparation – after the call I went back to the customer’s website and they did a good job on the website of defining the difference between “products” and “services”. When I went on the call I had to learn this info while on the call. I wasted a lot of time on the call due to the fact I was not better prepared; all I needed to do was spend more time on the customer website.
• Set a goal for the call – the goal of every call should be to define the need of the customer; in this call I spent too much time on the CRM features/benefits and not enough not enough time on what the customer needs. I had done a good job of setting up a demo, but not a good job of relating the features back to the customer requirements of how it would help him sell more products. All I needed to do was set a simple objective of trying to find out how sales automation would help them sell more services and products.
Differentiate yourself from the competition by using sales2.0 to be better prepared for your sales call and set call objectives that are customer focused instead of product focused.