Solutions-focused Sales Training Grounded in the Real World

Our Experts:

Matt_Web1nikkifisherMatt Leary and Nikki Fisher, Principals at Solutions Insights, have created and delivered highly-customized solutions sales training, mentoring and coaching programs that have shortened the sales cycle and increased sales effectiveness for companies in a wide range of industries including telecom, high tech, professional services, and manufacturing.

Our Approach

Selling solutions IS different.  And it is often the weak link in any solution transformation.  You can develop customer-driven solutions and laser-targeted messaging, but if the sales organization isn’t prepared to find the opportunities and close the deals, much of that investment is wasted. Our singular focus on solutions gives us unique insights into the most effective ways to ensure sales can contribute fully to solutions success.  And our real-world approach means we aren’t satisfied until your solutions produce the revenue and bottom-line impact they were created to deliver.

Our unique approach to helping organizations measurably improve their ability to sell solutions is based on four key principles:

Selling solutions is too important to employ a cookie-cutter approach. Our training and mentoring programs start with a detailed assessment of the competencies and capabilities of the front-line sales teams and their management. Only then can we create a customized approach designed to improve knowledge, enhance sales skills and create lasting behavior change.
In addition to being based, as much as possible, on solution-specific selling scenarios, our training programs often involve actual customers as part of an experiential learning activity. This not only makes it “real” for the sales reps but, without exception, customers have responded very positively to the opportunity to help the sales teams become more effective partners.
Our experience — and the latest research on sales force development — have repeatedly shown that training programs that include periodic reinforcement and follow up yield substantially better results. Consequently, more than half of the sales training programs we develop involve follow-on mentoring and coaching as well as refresher workshops.
Over the last few years, many sales teams have been trained on some form of “consultative selling.” Most of these programs provide a good foundation for a customer-focused, problem-driven approach. But selling solutions requires more. To effectively sell a solution and build lasting relationships, the sales team must acquire an additional set of competencies, many of which are new or a significant expansion of their current role.

Based on our work with a large number of clients, we have identified the following areas of additional competency that are necessary to effectively sell solutions:

Sample Offering:

Below are sample offerings and topics covered in training, mentoring and coaching programs we have created and delivered for our clients:

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Fundamentals of Solutions Selling – Introduces junior sales teams to the core elements of selling solutions. Traditionally a multi-day program supported by follow-up coaching and mentoring.

Laying the groundwork

  • Understanding the customer buying process
  • Attributes of successful solutions sellers
  • Proven approaches to selling solutions

Developing core skills

  • Preparing for an important call
  • Managing the important call

Leveraging relationships and presenting value

  • Building and leveraging key relationships–roles, politics, styles and relative power
  • Building a customer-centric sales value proposition
  • Preparing ideas

Introduction to Selling Solutions for Non-Sales Teams – Designed to help solutions, services, product, operations and delivery teams successfully participate in and add value to the overall process of selling solutions.  Delivered as a series of courses or workshops, often in conjunction with other group learning activities.

  • Storytelling concepts for sales to build awareness, interest, action and loyalty
  • High-performance consultative selling including creating, positioning, pursuing and closing the solutions opportunity
  • Building successful engagement plans
  • Leveraging the knowledge and skills of non-sales team members
  • Using the customer’s planning cycle to accelerate sales
  • Executing and measuring the plan

Major Account Team Training, Mentoring and Coaching – A customized program that focuses on the skills, approaches and effectiveness of top account teams.  Involves pre-work, document evaluation and pipeline reviews as well as specific follow-on activities for each key account.  Generally also includes ongoing mentoring and coaching of key account teams.

  • Degrees of separation from the customer
  • The role of the organization in sales
  • Introduction to team-based selling
  • Effective account and action-planning

Major Account Team Training, Mentoring and Coaching – A customized program that focuses on the skills, approaches and effectiveness of top account teams.  Involves pre-work, document evaluation and pipeline reviews as well as specific follow-on activities for each key account.  Generally also includes ongoing mentoring and coaching of key account teams.

  • Understanding the market perspectives
  • Understanding the customer situation and imperatives
  • Reviewing and mining people, politics and customer culture
  • Mapping the solutions portfolio to customer issues
  • Charting aspirational, Big Bet and core opportunities
  • Value approach and differentiation planning
  • Internal orchestration for successful pursuits
  • Attack, execution and delivery planning
  • Large Account metrics and governance

Other Learning Programs that we have provided for clients include:

  • Sales Manager Leadership Development
  • Sales and Marketing Collaboration Coaching and Development
  • Sales Enablement Team Coaching and Development

Recent Solutions Sales Training, Mentoring and Coaching Clients:

To find out more about how we can help you ensure that your solutions are sold by a motivated and effective sales team, contact Matt Leary (email: mleary@solutionsinsights.com) or Nikki Fisher (email: nfisher@solutionsinsights.com).