Get Your 4Cs Right
Get Your 4Cs Right
We are here to make money
Businesses are there to make money. Making money is all about sales. At the center of sales are the deals you win. Focus on the deals, win them, make more sales and succeed in your business. Though this may sound like an easy proposition, a lot of hard work needs to go into a business to make this formula work.
An excellent way to successfully implement the deal winning formula would be, is to break it down and understand each of the areas. 4Cs serves as a great way to overcome this challenge.
In this article we look at how each of the Cs will help businesses successfully implement the winning formula.
The type and quality of the information pertinent to a prospective deal lays the foundation for a successful sale. Without effective data, informed decisions cannot be made. Therefore, Connecting to a prospect and collecting customer data is vital.
This starts with building and maintaining prospect profiles. These profiles will include name, contact, birthday, hobbies and interests, as well as engagement details such as the preferred communication method and records of other interactions with the business.
The ultimate goal of a sales engagement with a prospect is, to complete a successful transaction, i.e. create a deal, propose it to the prospect and close it. Once the existence of a deal is identified, connecting and collecting data about the deal always keeps the sales person and the team refreshed about the deal. The more relevant and refreshed the data is, the more accurate the decisions will be.
Every business is unique. Apart from the obvious parameters such as the size of the deal and closing date, identifying other types of information about the prospect and the deal immensely helps the sales team, business and the management in decision making.
To establish such a template, initially, individual sales team members can be asked to list down the important parameters they think that are important to record about a deal. Afterwards, a team discussion will help evaluate all the proposals and agree on a common template.
Is Collaboration just ‘Water cooler chatter’?
Many studies have shown the essential role of casual conversations in the workplace. Those informal interactions in fact help teams build rapport and keep them in the know-how.
However, studies show that formal collaboration improves productivity at workplace and increases overall sales team achievement.
A way to formally collaborate
What does collaboration do? It drives innovation success and helps teams achieve goals in less time. Why does a sales team need collaboration? Can’t individual stars drive success? As a recent study led by Ning Li, of the University of Iowa, shows, a single “extra miler”—a member of a team who frequently contributes beyond the scope of his or her role—can drive team performance and outcomes more than all the other members combined.
While unplanned and informal collaboration might help in winning certain deals, a formal collaborative mechanism will drive a business to achieve repeatable success.
Introducing a collaborative culture and a formal framework for collaboration becomes easy and well accepted when sales team members get fully immersed and make it a natural part of their daily workflow.
Breaking down the physical barriers at the workplace which disrupts communication between different departments such as sales, products, marketing and making informal seating arrangements is a good start. However, with today’s increasingly global and mobile sales force, use of carefully selected technological tools that empowers collaboration is essential.
The right tool should help the sales team collaborate on data about the deals.
Similar to establishing a template to store data about deals, an online environment will help sales team members ask questions, delegate work and most importantly keep everyone updated so a coordinated effort can be made towards winning deals. A good example would be, a sales representative visiting a prospect, updating meeting information swiftly via the mobile app and immediately he or she gets tips from the manager at the back office about successfully closing the deal--all within the collaboration environment. Teams working collaboratively with a repeatable process achieve sustainable growth closing more deals.
We have now covered Connecting to the prospect and the deal and Collaboration on the deal. This section is all about Controlling the deal.
A prospect has the final say in deciding whether or not he or she is going to buy from you. This decision making process that takes place inside the prospect’s mind is totally out of the seller’s control. However, the process of leading up to that decision is completely within your control. The objective is to take control of that process; to be more precise, take control of each stage of the process rather than worrying about the end goal. This doesn’t mean the ultimate goal is ignored or forgotten, it’s always kept in mind, however, focus is given to take control of each of the stages.
Activity based selling
By taking control, winning a sale becomes the outcome of a cascading chain of controllable activities. This excellent approach to winning deals is called ‘Activity based selling’.
This is the opposite of results based selling that most of the sales people tend to follow. In results based selling, their effort and energy is focused just on the result rather than the actions that lead up to the result. This is a natural tendency. However, with some discipline and determination a salesperson can start focusing more on the deal in each stage. You take control of each stage and the actions taken at the right time in each stage throughout the process gives successful results.
Pipeline and Stages: Activity based selling in action
A deal is taken through a series of stages before it is closed. Though at a higher level these stages may seem common, since every business is unique, it’s essential that these stages are identified and agreed upon. Individual members of the sales team can be given the task of coming up with the stages they think are the best. Then, a brainstorming session with the whole team and the managers can determine the ideal stages for a particular business.
After the stages are defined, key selling activities can then be identified. All the salesperson needs to do now is take control of these activities. Controlling each of these phases gives the salesperson and the team confidence. Completing a phase as planned gives the team confidence to plan and complete the next phase, ultimately leading up to a successful deal closure.
Now, we have followed the first three Cs of Connecting to the deal, keeping deal information refreshed, Collaborating and Controlling the deal upto the closing point.
In the book ‘How To Close A Deal Like Warren Buffet’ authors Tom Searcy and Henry Devries looks at Warren’s decision making characteristics. After discussing a few ways of closing deals, Searcy and Devries writes an important take from Buffet:
“Don’t Negotiate Until it’s Time’
You now have controlled and gone through all the sales stages, understood the prospect, presented the solution, collected all the information and history about the deal. You and your team also have built up the confidence in you by completing each of the sales stages successfully. By this time, having taken the prospect through a convincing sales process he or she would also be willing to see a closure of the deal that will mutually benefit both parties.
Now it’s time to approach the prospect and seal the deal. Of-course, if you are aware of some of the sale closing techniques, they will become handy at this stage.
Cloud based online CRMs such as BuzzFlow gives users an easy and practical way to practice the 4Cs. Having a customizable form with custom fields helps businesses maintain the right data about deals. CRMs like BuzzFlow encourages collaboration through features such as the discussion board and tasks. Finally, to practice the 4Cs it’s important to have customizable visual pipelines and stages to manage and control your activity based selling process and finally close more deals successfully. BuzzFlow is one good example of a CRM that helps you practice this effortlessly.