The Quarterly Business Review – It’s All About Value
In Sandler Enterprise Selling, the sales cycle is represented by a continuous process consisting of six stages. And continuity is the key as selling to and serving large enterprise accounts through streams of transactions over time in long-term relationships really has no end. That’s the enterprise world.
The sixth and last stage in the enterprise selling process is Service Delivery. And I say “last” but, as I mentioned, the program has no end. One of T.S. Eliot’s most famous quotes shows his appreciation for enterprise selling – “To make an end is to make a beginning. And the end is where we start.” So true. For it’s after the deal is closed that it really just begins.
Major accounts are vast fields of dark, rich, fertile soil and your selling and service teams hold the seeds of growth. Constant care and attention, of course, are required to grow and to simply retain complex enterprise accounts. And a critical survival skill in making that happen is building, maintaining and growing executive client relationships.
In these relationships, the importance of regular in-person meetings cannot be overstated. Nor can the need to structure these sessions in a far different format than is unfortunately often the norm. We all know about Quarterly Business Reviews and their typical variations. Much too often, these sessions become small-scale vendor trade shows disguised as business reviews. If the true objective of such meetings is for the vendor to sell more, client executives will sniff it out quickly. These are smart people, whose intuition and ability to read situations got them to where they are. If you’re lucky enough to attract these executives to attend one self-serving session, that will be their last. And the taste that you leave in their mouths will be foul. They will remember.
In Sandler Enterprise Selling, we flip the model. We believe in Quarterly Value Reviews, not Quarterly Business Reviews and the difference is not semantics. We believe in a keen focus on twin themes – value delivered and value projected. And the message? It’s not about you – it’s about the client. And how they view the value you’ve delivered and the value they expect from you in the future.
Value. Why does it make such a big difference? If your organization is successfully delivering and you’re communicating regularly regarding your progress, client executives will welcome discussion. They’ll be clear about what they want and how they feel. If there are obstacles affecting your ability to execute, they can make them go away. But what about exposing your organization’s flaws in these sessions? What about areas where you’re missing the mark? You’ll prepare, of course, through strategizing with your client coaches in advance for the likely tough conversations. But It’s much better to have open discussions than have executives hear about your shortcomings second hand. And these sessions also position your executives to establish personal relationships with c-level clients. It’s always easier to work through issues with people you know.
The feedback these forums provide clearly increases your chances of successful delivery as open communication minimizes surprises. And regularly working issues together in executive discussions breeds partnership. The candid conversation also facilitates real-time communication between sessions. People who know each other are much more likely to reach out to get issues resolved promptly.
But the real magic in Quarterly Value Reviews is that in keenly focusing the discussions on client value, new business opportunities invariably present themselves. Candid conversations with true decision-makers often present fertile ground for new business.
So, change your frame of reference from you and your offerings to the client and their value. You and your organization will reap the benefits.
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