It's important in sales that we mean the same things when we use sales notions and vocabulary. If that is not the case, we spend a lot of time talking about different things and not finding common ground. That is why I am defining all the terms used in the team right here.
Sales Process describes the steps an interested company/person needs to take(“Active stage”) to in order to sign a contract and close the deal “Closed Won” (or Closed Lost). If you want to go from Zurich to Munich, you will need a map. The sales process is that map. It shows what steps you need to get from Zurich to Munich.
If the sales process is the map to go from A to B, the qualification/sales methodology is the GPS. Whenever you feel you got away from the optimal course in the sales process, the qualification methodology provides you with a framework on how to get back on track. Known qualification methodologies are SPIN, BANT, MEDDPICCR, SNAP Selling, Sandler Selling, Challenger Sales, Triangle Selling, etc.
The “ideal customer profile” defines the companies as well as the people whom you can help solve a pain or reach a goal. Companies are usually defined by industry, size, geography, technology usage, growth metrics, and other specific factors. People are usually defined by their title, how long have they been with the company, seniority as well as influence.
Marketing and Sales establish customer profiles with certain challenges and business or personal pains that can be solved by your technology or services. These are called "personas" and in order to build a persona profile, you need to explore “Pains”, “Goals” and “Responsibilities.” These are not easily visible attributes as defined in the ICP.
A sales opportunity is a qualified prospect that is very likely to become a paying customer.
In case you had the first meeting and did not find any pain/gain nor were you able to book a follow-up meeting (booked means it is in the calendar), you have no more opportunity.
A contact person whose title fits the description of our defined persona and whose contact details are available in the system is called a lead.
If a salesperson establishes a relationship with the lead, the lead is converted into a contact. As a rule of thumb: contacts are the people with whom we had already had some contact (or planned it) and leads are the people that we haven't contacted yet.
Generally speaking, there are only two reasons for buying: 1) to solve a pain people experience or 2) to reach a goal they need to reach. Pain is experienced 3x stronger than gain (found by several studies). That's why we should be focusing on solving pains first before mentioning gains.
Describes the way people do their jobs. The description of a use case usually sounds very boring and is mostly used by tech people to really understand how people work and whether technology can really make that process simpler with fewer steps, for instance. Example: The salesperson takes notes during the call. After the call, those (mostly) hand-written notes are typed into the CRM and an email is sent to the customer.
With enterprise deals, a quantifiable business case is a must. Otherwise, we will not be able to sell expensive software. People buy emotionally but need a quantifiable justification especially when other stakeholders have an important influence on a deal. That is why with deals >$50’000 you need to be able to calculate a business case. This can either be “time saved on note-taking” for salespeople, which also translates into more revenue. Every minute a salesperson saves on doing admin tasks, they can spend selling.
An Economic Buyer is the one spending the money for the technology or service. Forget about the term “decision-maker” because, in today’s world, one person doesn't decide everything anymore. Decisions are complex and many people have a say in them. However, despite the fact that the economic buyer is a singular role, they are not always the most important people in the company. With many deals, champions are more important than economic buyers because they help you convince the stakeholders, sometimes even without you being in touch with the economic buyer.
A champion is often the most important person in a deal. They have two attributes: A good network within the company and therefore a lot of influence as well as a very personal interest in your technology and services to be implemented. Often, they want to get a promotion by successfully implementing things that change the business fundamentally.
People whose opinions are important to the people in the buying center. As written above, there are several people who have a say in a decision. Think about what happens when we at Unique want to implement a new sales tool. CSO would want to have the opinions of some salespeople as well as the CEO. Even though sales tools are part of the CSO's budget (the economic buyer) he/she doesn't decide alone.
People at the client organization responsible for orchestrating the last steps of the buying process are called procurement managers. They usually make sure that the legal, data protection, and project team and the economic buyer all come together and negotiate the contract terms. They also usually want to get a lower price because that's often what they are measured against.
Usually it takes several steps to get to a decision with a future client: Discovery, Demo, Business case calculation (scoping), involvement of the economic buyer, involvement of all stakeholders to decide together, paper process, negotiation, data protection & legal review, etc. It is crucial that we know all these steps with our clients so that we can guide them.
Later in the sales process (usually before a decision happens), there are some clearly-defined decision criteria on which the client will base the decisions.
There are always some risks that a deal will fall apart. The obvious one is competitors, another one is time. Time is not a salesperson’s friend. Imagine you worked on banks in 2007 and it took a few months longer to close them. Then the crisis happened and probably all banks stopped buying overnight. Something similar can always happen in case we do not close customers quickly. We always need to know the largest risks with our prospects by directly asking our champion.