Ask A Sales Leader: Lisa Nash
Lisa Nash has been a top performing salesperson in the Life Sciences industry for over 20 years, working successfully in a Major Accounts capacity with some of the largest pharma and biotech companies in the world. In the article she wrote for us below, Lisa describes her dedicated approach to the use of sales process, and how this helps her to meet her customer’s business objectives.
The role of a sales professional is ever changing, especially as customers evolve in their procurement practices and organizations are fluid due to mergers and acquisitions.
It is important for sales professionals to also be fluid and able to adjust in order to keep up with these dynamic changes. How can you stay focused and ensure success in an ever-changing environment?
By having a defined sales process.
Let’s consider a couple of scenarios. As a sales professional, your territory changes or you take on a new role within the organization or with a new organization that offers an incredible opportunity, but you need to start over. This requires you to assess the opportunities and establish relationships all over again. How do you hit the ground running and be able to impact the bottom line and increase your sales?
By utilizing a sales process that you have learned, tweaked, implemented and tweaked again until it becomes yours. No matter who the customer is, what their purchasing process is, or what their needs are you can be an immediate resource to them if you follow a process.
Our customers go through training, they belong to organizations, and they learn, tweak, implement and tweak again until they have their own buying process. No matter the supplier, the products, or the technical requirements the professional buyer follows a process.
By using a defined sales process, we match up to the buyers’ process so that as a team we accomplish our mutual goals.
As a sales professional in a new account you must first identify who the key players are and determine their roles and goals. Each person on the team plays an important role, so understanding the dynamics early on is very important. They have different goals and measures of success, and you need to understand how to interact with them in a way that matters to them.
Second, the sales professional needs to determine what the key objectives are whether they are in reaction to a process breakdown that requires immediate action or if it is a long-term complex project. By understanding what the customers “pain points” are and their desired outcome, you can formulate potential solutions keeping in mind who your key players are, the role they play, and what success means to them.
Notice, we still haven’t sold anything because we are in discovery. We want to make sure we completely understand where our customers are coming from before we offer a quote for anything.
At this point, you introduce extended members of your team who can assist with establishing credibility for your organization and demonstrate how your team can help them. Along with your extended team, you fine-tune the potential solutions and begin to develop a proposal that is aligned with your customers’ expectations. Keep in mind, each member of the customer team has different needs.
Once you present the potential solutions, be sure to include a suggested timeline of follow up action items with items for both your team and the customer team. Once you have completed this step, you move to the negotiation phase. At this point, you clearly understand what the customer needs and your customer clearly understands the value your organization can offer as a trusted partner and advisor.
You keep working through this process until it is a win-win for both parties. And, if at any point, one of the key players goals have not been met, you continue to work through the process until they are happy with the outcome.
Sounds easy? It could be and you can be successful. The key is to plan, ask questions, understand your customer and follow a defined sales process. Have your customer’s interest, as well as your organizations interest in mind before making any assumptions about the sales dollars at the end.