We have been working with sales leaders in Fortune 1000 companies for more than 15 years. During that time alone there have been many books written on strategic account management and many training programs developed with the intent of helping salespeople become more effective when working with their top accounts. A few years ago, we were working with the VP of Sales at a large, Fortune 1000 company. This person told us that he needed a way to help make the company’s strategic account management process become more ACTIONABLE. He wanted a way to help his team THINK and ACT strategically. He wanted his team to be more proactive in analyzing the multiple opportunities within a single account and be smarter in the way they put together a strategy to win the business. This VP needed his team to be able to use the strategic account management process in a way that would help them determine where they should invest time, who they should invest time with, and which strategy would best demonstrate the company’s ability to help their customers achieve their business outcomes.
We had assumed that since this company has already implemented a reputable strategic account management process, that they had every tool they needed to be successful. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Apparently, this company’s strategic account management process wasn’t ACTIONABLE. Instead, the “process” being implemented inside this company was seen, by the sales force, as nothing more than forms, unnecessary paperwork. And while these forms were excellent repositories of information, they did little to change the way the salespeople approached their business.
The sad reality is that this company, and this VP of Sales aren’t alone. In fact, there are many companies, of all shapes and sizes, implementing strategic account management processes without achieving the intended results. Our experiences with many other Fortune 1000 companies have found that many salespeople are NOT using their strategic account management process to think and act more strategic when working with their top accounts. Instead, they are merely filling out forms believing they are being strategic in their approach, and unfortunately, their sales managers are encouraging that behavior.
Our experiences with top-performing sales people show that they know how THINK and ACT strategically. Top performers are more intentional in their strategic account planning and more premeditated implementing strategic actions. Top performers don’t just collect data and fill out forms, they know what data to collect and what actions need to be taken to successfully leverage that data. This book has been written to help you become fore actionable, intentional – more “Premeditated” in the way you approach every sales opportunity.
This book, Premeditated Selling: Tools for Developing the Right Strategy for Every Opportunity, provides you with a set of tools to help you organize critical opportunity data and ideas for how to use that data in developing an opportunity strategy. We broke this book into five segments that should fundamentally make up any sales strategy. Within these segments we identify the types of information any seller needs, provide tools to organize the information, and ideas to analyze the information and to develop a path forward. Each of the segments, although independent of each other, work together to provide a complete plan for a sales opportunity. These tools work. We’ve used them and our customers have used them. Approaching any sales opportunity without them is like taking a long drive with out a map.
While this book is intended for salespeople and sales leadership, those individuals aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the application of the concepts. Knowing how to develop the right strategy for every opportunity isn’t going to just help a salesperson win more deals, it is going to help the business manage critical functions that rely so heavy on accurate sales forecasting. Operations will have a better sense for planning, finance will have a better handle on future cash flow. Deals that inexplicably move from “won” to “lost” don’t just impact the sales persons commissions – it impacts the way businesses run.
We had a lot of fun writing this book and we are grateful for our many customers that provided us cases studies for this book. We thank companies like Boston Scientific, Time Warner, Kimberly Clark, Booz Allen, CR Bard, MasterCard, Weight Watchers, Lumenis and others. The customers we worked with provided awesome examples of both the right ways and the not-so right ways to approach strategy. We want to thank them for sharing their trials and tribulations with us and for letting us tell their story.
Download a free Chapter of Premeditated Selling: Tools for Developing the Right Strategy for Every Opportunity here.