In order for your sales force to deliver successful Customer Review meetings, you need to determine whether or not your sales force is ready for the program? The two key areas you will need to asses are customer knowledge and sales skills.
What knowledge does your sales force have today regarding their customer’s business i.e. current challenges, priorities and initiatives? If an Account Plan or similar document is maintained for your core and most strategic customers in your organization the information can be found within those pages. When there is little or no knowledge of a customer’s business the sales force will need to obtain that information through thorough discovery sessions with key executives to document each individual’s challenges, priorities and initiatives, as well as the ability to deliver recommendations based on the information gathered.
Does the sales force have the ability to call on executives and have business level discussions with them? If they aren’t strong in this area you will need to leverage your sales leaders to provide the coaching and the tactics necessary for their sales team to engage with executives. An example could be utilizing your current customer relationships to get referenced up to an executive who can provide the business insight they are seeking.
Is the sales force focused on selling transactions or do they provide solutions to their customers? For those organizations that don’t solution sell today the implementation of an Annual Customer Review program can be an accelerator to sales transformation. The Customer Review document that is created for each customer revolves around the solutions your company can provide to solve your customer’s biggest challenges. The Customer Review is not an opportunity to sell a specific product. In my experience this is a significant mind shift for a sales force that is focused on selling transactions and not the customer’s business.
In my next blog, I have interviewed an executive that leads a $1 billion sales force delivering Annual Customer Reviews. Learn the challenges they have faced with their program.