Here are some notes from our Tue-Oct-18-2022 Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfast Online. Three topics we discussed selling to enterprise or managing a complex sales process, managing the total cost of change you impose on a customer and paying for performance. This is not meant to be a detailed recap of the meeting, just high points with resources and tips you may find helpful.
Notes for Tue-Oct-18 Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfast Online
General Insights from Roundtable Discussion
We had a number of discussions about specific issues folks put on the table for which they received detailed advice and feedback. I only include tips here that are of a more general nature
- Mike Krupit provides this guidance for conversations at the East Coast Bootstrappers Breakfasts and it’s a good practice when trying to help others at a breakfast.
- I blogged about this on Only Share What You Are Certain Of In Uncertain and Evolving Situations
- One other approach to consider: ask clarifying questions to make sure that you understand the other person’s situation and constraints.
Books on selling
- SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
- A well thought out process for selling to business.
- Doing Discovery: The Single Most Important Element of Software Sales and Buyer Enablement Processes By Peter Cohan
- Offers a detailed and wll thought approach to software demos and how to use them as part of your sales discovery process.
- The New Strategic Selling By Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman, Tad Tuleja,
- A good overview of how to sell to enterprise.
- Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy By Zhivago, Kristin
- In particular she looks at how customers buy and suggests that there several different buying processes depending upon the importance and complexity of the purchase: low, medium, high, and very high scrutiny.
- Entrepreneurs used to selling low or medium scrutiny products often fail to appreciate what’s involved in selling a high scrutiny product.
- Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
Cost of change is often more important than price
Bill Seitz made this point in his briefing on product management last week at Lean Culture: Every change you ask a customer to make involves the loss of the familiar, the proven, and the reliable. It asks them to risk time, money, and status in an effort that may not pay off as you promised, take longer than you propose, and in the end, may not be superior to their status quo. Map the path to the “New World” in detail and break it up into small steps (“small bets’) that should each yield an incremental improvement. A customer is more likely to embark on a path where each step has a small cost and a small positive payoff than one where they must make a significant investment before seeing any results.
Put your money where your mouth is
There can be a disconnect when you are asking employees to perform a task that you consider important but they view as extras effort, a pain in the ass, or otherwise troublesome. One solution is to pay a bonus for completing the task. Two examples drawn from participants experience:
- If you need on time arrival–for example for a team to be able to start a project or shift together–you can “fine” an individual employee for late arrival but it may be more effective to pay a small bonus to the entire team for a week where every one arrived on time. You might pay an additional small bonus if everyone arrived on time for four weeks running. Obviously you need to allow for a certain number of excused absences, especially if the employee calls in advance. But this creates a peer pressure situation where a late arrival is not just costing the individual but depriving the team of a bonus.
- This same approach can be applied to a sales team f you want customer visit reports or weekly activity reports from them. Consider paying a small bonus to the team when everyone gets them in on time each week and every four weeks.
Related Blog Posts
- Why is an Enterprise Sale So Complex?
- Enterprise Sales Requires a Project Management Mindset
- Getting Work Done: Leveraging Calendars, Task Lists, and Project Plans
A collection of practical suggestions for getting work done curated from a roundtable conversation among entrepreneurs at an Oct-25-2019 Bootstrappers Breakfast.
- Chalk Talk on Technology Adoption address some of the challenges of managing the change process
- Bill Seitz on Lessons Learned as a Journeyman Product Manager