The right sales messaging tools and training can bridge the divide between high level strategy and what gets communicated in customer conversations. Resulting in your “big ideas” turning into real results. But how do you effectively package the actual words your sales channels should communicate in customer conversations? The discovery questions that will demonstrate insight? The stories that a customer will find compelling? The model to draw on a whiteboard that will illuminate the customers’ real situation and define a roadmap for solving those problems?
What is sales messaging? That's a good question, but a better question is, how can sales messaging bridge the divide between high level strategy and the actual words that salespeople are saying in customer conversations? If you answer that question, your growth strategy, your big ideas, will turn into real results.
Here's a recent scenario. VP of marketing for one of our strategic clients was asked by the senior leadership team to drive the shift to an integrated solution message across product silos, and at the same time enable the sales team to shift to industry specific conversations versus delivering a generic message. As he looked out over the sales organization there were a number of challenges that were pretty common. Number one, inconsistency, no one's telling the same story. Number two is lack of confidence. Lack of confidence to go deliver industry message, tell the complete story, engage at the executive level. Number three is just a small percentage of the team actually get it and know how to have the right conversation with the right audience in the right way. How do you clone those top performers? Finally, it's just bandwidth. A lack of bandwidth to create all of the content, all of the tools, the playbooks, the training programs that are required to enable the sales force to move forward with a new strategy and get there faster. What we find is a need to get really clear on the type of sales messaging that's required to bridge this divide between high level strategy and the sales conversation.
When I say sales messaging I'm talking about the actual words a salesperson would say in a meeting, in person, or on the phone. The questions that they are going to ask that will demonstrate insight. The stories that they'll tell that a customer would find compelling. The whiteboard model, they're going to literally draw on the customers white board or flip chart, or napkin over lunch. How do you build, how do you package, and how do you deploy the content and tools in such a way that sales will actually use it, that three years later it's still being used and the content staying fresh, it's continuously being updated, and sustaining the playbook and the tools and the training has become institutionalized?
It starts with the right approach to the playbook structure and picture a salesperson and they're going to their playbook and it's digital. They're going to a web app, they're going to an iPad app, and in one or two clicks, they're getting to exactly what they need to see and read to get ready for a meeting, what they're going to show in the meeting, what they're going to talk about, the stories that they'll lead with. We found it's a best practice to build the content around three areas, what to know, what to say, and what to show. The what to know, that's really all about who do I target? What's the ideal customer profile? What are the objectives and challenges of the individuals we're targeting and what should I sell? The what to say, that's really all about, "I'm going to be in the meeting, what insights will I lead with? What specific questions am I going to ask, what customer stories, what talk tracks?" Then there's the what to show and the what to show is really, literally, what I'm going to draw on the customers whiteboard or a napkin over lunch. It's what I'll draw on the web meeting if it's a virtual meeting and I'm drawing on my screen. Building around those three areas is what makes it practical for a salesperson, something that they'll come back to over and over again.
Once you've completely the playbooks and they're now full of great content, you're ready to deploy and deployment looks like customized training, training on how to deliver the message. It could be face to face training. It could be DSG's helping you deliver virtual training. It could be that we create a course for managers who will then go train their sales people but the key is that sales reps are learning how to master the message and they're practicing the messaging and use of the tools and content with their peers.
So the final step is sustain. Sustain is all about how do you reinforce the messaging and keep the content fresh. The best way to keep the content fresh is to continuously talk to your best sales people every month and find out exactly what's working and what's not working, what are they saying in conversations, what have they tried that doesn't work, how are they getting the meeting, how are they leading successful conversations and then pushing out that insight to the digital playbook, pushing it out through team webinars, pushing it out through ongoing training events, pushing it out to your new hires that are coming on board in those boot camps. What you want to picture is an evergreen play book. It's not a static playbook that gets created once a year and revisited on an annual basis. It's an evergreen play book, that every month and every quarter, you're adding the latest greatest content.
If you're interested in seeing a real sales messaging playbook or looking at how other organizations are building a sustainable messaging framework that becomes institutional to their organization, how they maintain this kind of messaging, we would be happy to share that with you. Reach out to us, we'll set up a call with one of DSG's principals and through a web meeting we'll share what we're seeing and what we're learning through ongoing engagement with our clients. Thanks for joining.