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.
How Can Sales and Training Leaders Offer More Support to Reps while Spending Less?
While pharmaceutical and biotechnology sales and training budgets are shrinking, the sales force’s need for application-based training is growing. Leaders who want to meet this need without breaking the bank can put new emphasis on an old-school solution—the video/teleconference.
Five Keys to Effective, Strategic Video/Teleconferences
To be successful, the strategic video/teleconference must be designed and delivered with great care. Alliance Performance Systems’ has identified the following five keys to making video/teleconferences relevant, sought-after, and cost-effective training solutions:
- Do Real World Work
- Link to Core Skills
- Use an Experienced Facilitator
- Limit the Number of Attendees
- Expand the Reach
To find out more about each of these principles, read our article, “Training that Doesn’t Break the Bank: An Effective Alternative to Classroom and E-Learning.”
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.
Calling on new accounts with a “me-too” product in a highly competitive market puts a sales force to the test, especially when reps lack a consistent skills foundation and commercialization goals are aggressive. Sales leaders must support reps facing these challenges with a sales training system that emphasizes information gathering and strategic account planning—a system that teaches reps to boost sales with their brains, not increased frequency of calls.
Training Worth its Weight in Gold
For such a sales training system to produce results under the weight of aggressive commercialization goals, it must be rapidly embraced and adopted by the sales force. It needs to engage reps and inspire them to change their mindset about the way they do business.
Read Alliance Performance Systems’ latest case study, “Get Golden Results: Inspire Rapid Adoption of a Strategic Sales Training System” to learn how one pharmaceutical company achieved its commercialization goals via a custom combination of strategic skills training and an exciting theme-based simulation.