Archive - November 2000
Why Does Skilled Internal Selling Matter?
While effective internal selling doesn’t directly produce the big flashes of revenues that external selling can, it does increase efficiency and ensure that more external sales
happen—two outcomes that can have a marked impact on your company’s bottom line. By outfitting your sales professionals and managers with the skills they need to effectively propose new solutions for customer needs that your company is not currently meeting, you can help your organization:
- Capture and mine more revenue generating ideas,
- Strengthen relationships with current customers, and
- Generate new business.
What is Skilled Internal Selling?
First, let’s explain what Skilled Internal Selling isn’t. It isn’t inside sales. Skilled Internal Selling is effectively proposing an idea—the use of one of or a combination of your company’s products, services, or other resources—in a new way that will benefit both the customer and your company. The skill is in making sure the idea is proposed effectively, in the language of the executives who have the power to approve it. This means your sales professionals and managers must be able to:
- Confirm the idea is aligned with your company’s strategic goals,
- Include the revenue/expense justification for the investment,
- Detail the broader competitive impact of the solution,
- Provide a strategic profile of the account,
- Utilize credible benchmarks and estimates,
- Address the concerns of all business functions that will be involved, from marketing to legal,
- Understand the criteria decision makers will use to evaluate the proposal, and
- Identify appropriate stakeholders to build cross-functional support for the idea.
Who Benefits From Skilled Internal Selling?
While you, your company, and your customer all benefit from streamlining and standardizing your internal selling process, the one-day Skilled Internal Selling training solution itself is targeted to sales professionals and managers at or near the customer level. These are the individuals in the best position to identify unmet customer needs and formulate solutions to meet those needs. This program provides them the guidance they need to get those ideas proposed and approved.
What are the Results of Skilled Internal Selling?
A growing startup in an innovative healthcare marketplace implemented Skilled Internal Selling after recognizing that many good ideas were hidden behind bad proposals and that turning bad proposals into reviewable proposals utilized too many resources. The program helped the company take advantage of more revenue-generating opportunities. Today, the company is a leader in the marketplace and is known for having a sales force of strategic thinkers.
Decades of research from our work with top innovative global biopharmas reveals best-in-class sales professionals do certain things very effectively…
…we call these “strategic behaviors,” and our research shows these behaviors are the most valuable differentiators of top-performing reps.
There are actually more than a dozen strategic behaviors, but our researchers have identified the six that, if adopted by middle-of-the-curve sales professionals, can have the most immediate impact on performance.
The Issue: According to Gallup, only a third of healthcare industry workers know their company’s mission. And even fewer understand how their company operates.
Employees who lack this critical business knowledge are frequently sales professionals. They rarely receive the training they need to understand their organization’s business drivers. As a result, they become underutilized resources.
The Solution: Alliance Performance Systems has developed a series of solutions designed to ensure employees at all levels, but particularly sales professionals, are fluent in how their company operates.
Sales professionals who gain this “Organizational Fluency” do much more than meet their job descriptions. They exceed expectations by:
- Becoming effective mission and brand ambassadors,
- Evaluating alternatives to make better decisions, and
- Ensuring the culture of the business matches its strategy.
In short, employees who gain organizational fluency deliver maximum ROI.
The Issue: To differentiate in a crowded marketplace, science-led healthcare businesses must train their sales professionals to deliver customer value.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done. Successfully delivering customer value takes a research-based sales training system that:
- Emphasizes the key behaviors of top performers
- Integrates a common framework and language into the organization, and
- Is expertly customized to both the organization and the industry
The Solution: Achieving Sales Excellence
Achieving Sales Excellence (ASE) builds on extensive sales force effectiveness research to help your sales professionals and your business deliver the customer value that extends far beyond the product. The ASE system is customizable and scalable and has helped leading companies in and out of the healthcare industry win customers and boost results.
The Issue: Negotiators Often Move Too Quickly to Leave Money on the Table
The pressure of negotiating large, complex sales often drives sales professionals to make mistakes that shrink margins. Though they have received negotiation training—usually based on Harvard Negotiation Project principles—and have developed a strategic plan, these sellers still give in on price or terms too frequently during a negotiation. Why? Because they have not learned how to use economic leverage to achieve a win-win negotiation.
The Solution: Inside Edge Negotiation
Alliance Performance Systems’ work with Fortune 500 companies has revealed that sales professionals who base their negotiation strategies on what we call economically leverageable positions (ELPs) are more likely to protect profit margin. We’ve joined forces with Inside Edge, Inc. to develop a negotiation-training program designed to provide guided, strategic practice that emphasizes identifying ELPs for real-world customers. This powerful program is called “Inside Edge Negotiation.”
To learn more about Inside Edge Negotiation, read our latest case study: ”Using Economic Leverage to Successfully Negotiate a Price Increase.”
The Challenge for National Accounts Managers
While typical biopharma account managers are experts at identifying customer needs from a clinical perspective, they are less skilled at identifying customer needs from financial and organizational perspectives. As a result, they miss critical opportunities to align your organization’s solutions to the problems your customers really want to solve. These missed opportunities translate into lost revenue.
The Solution from Alliance Performance Systems: GearWorks™
To capture this revenue, organizations must help national account managers develop a big picture understanding of their customer’s business. And the training provided must be more than a humdrum introduction to financial concepts. Sales professionals need a comprehensive business acumen, organizational fluency, and financial literacy development solution that is built on research-based best practices and that also engages them in hands-on, active learning. This solution is GearWorks™.
Read “Using Business Acumen to Secure Competitive Advantage: How GearWorks™ Can Drive Sales at the National Accounts Level” to learn how Alliance Performance Systems can help your sales professionals secure competitive advantage by leveraging all opportunities within an account.