In your client’s evolving business culture, there is one thing that they are very short of and two things they are not:
They are VERY short of time
They are NOT short of problems
They are NOT short of people trying to sell to them
When you take these 3 factors together, how you commercially approach clients and prospects must dramatically change. We need to challenge ourselves to move from ‘information giving’ to ‘problem solving’.
What does this mean for your teams? They need to consistently:
Get smarter about how your clients make money
Spend time and energy at your clients, focused on business conversations
Be curious about your clients industry and create ideas and points of view
Measuring teams on the above and developing their capabilities to do them brilliantly is the key to creating a future proofed, client centric approach to commercial growth
The biggest barrier to most teams growing faster is that they see the process of selling, to either clients or prospects, as uncomfortable, not for them, or even as something ‘dirty’.
Changing that mindset and getting teams to see the process through a positive lens is at the heart of future growth.
So where do you start? With the knowledge that clients and prospects actually want you to make contact, BUT only when you are relevant.
What makes you relevant is the answer to one of the following questions:
Have you got some fresh ideas on how you can help with something I am about to work on?
Can you remind me about something I should be working on?
Do you have ideas on what I am missing?
The basis of answering any of the above is knowledge, about your client as a business. Building a habit of discovering this knowledge about your clients, and then using it to proactively approach them, helps your team see selling as ‘wanting to make my clients more successful'.
Develop fresh thinking
Develop an on-site strategy
Get internal alignment
Set a deadline to fix or exit
Develop a clear contact strategy
Set input KPI's on a quarterly basis
The best commercial organisations proactively manage and enjoy the tension between closing out the business they have today whilst resourcing future opportunities.
The key to this is:
Being ruthless about the clients you spend time on
Matching the right people to the right client opportunities
Getting everyone to focus their time on things that make impact
Sounds simple, but within each of the above are some tough decisions to be made, if you are going to move away from always focusing on the short term.
The key decisions you need to make are:
What you measure people on – you can change behaviours quicker than attitudes
Which clients you work on that are either unprofitable or make your teams unhappy – and put a deadline against when you are either going to fix that client or decide to no longer work with them
How to ring fence the right resource to be constantly working on future relationships, no matter what pressure delivering today is bringing
How you create a mindset that's focused on doing a fewer bigger things better
What's in it for you and your teams to engage in working this way? You have more consistent revenue, you have a longer term pipeline, happier clients and therefore a happier team.