Full disclosure: Tim Sanders is one of my favorite people on the planet. The first time I saw him give a keynote speech, I was about to take a bite of chicken for lunch and wound up holding that fork inches from my mouth for an hour afraid to move a muscle. I was captivated and mesmerized by him.
While I still think his New York Times bestselling book Love is the Killer App is one of his best, Dealstorming is right up there and solves a major problem that most sales people have today. My full interview with Tim Sanders is available here:
What is Dealstorming? In his book, Tim Sanders defines Dealstorming, "to organize and lead a cross-functional team to work together to solve a significant sales challenge through highly structured meetings and project work." The idea originally came to Tim Sanders via Stan Woodward who in 1997 was the VP of business development for Audionet (which later became Broadcast.com). It was Stan Woodward who said:
"When you're stuck, look for help. Even people who don't commission on the deal are here to help you, especially those who will deliver your promises. Don't just rely on your sales manager for all the solutions. Go wide if you have to. Don't go down alone. Gather a team, put your brains together, and make it rain!"
That stuck with Tim Sanders for years to come and using the advice from Stan Woodward, Tim Sanders discovered that he could increase B2B sales by as much as 70% using the principles behind Dealstorming. His book combines his personal stories with a masterful step-by-step instruction ranging from how to qualify the deals big enough and worthy of Dealstorming through picking the right team members to the all important research and briefing process all the way through to the pitching and closing process.
"Sales Genius Is A Team Sport". In today's complex, data-driven and multi-layered decision making sales process, there simply is no room for a "lone wolf" going out there by him or herself. There's just way too many variables and opportunities to get it wrong. Moreover, the time to bring in the team responsible for the execution of the deal is while the deal is being pulled together - not after the sales has been made. In the old days of selling, the sales person was left to make his or her own recommendations often with less than accurate assumptions and even promises that should never have been made.
The alternative is about bringing the right deal team together early in the process so that you can be sure you're solving the right problem for the prospective customer and have though through all their needs before you pitch your recommendation and submit your proposal.
"Although ideas came from individuals," Tim Sanders writes in his book, "solutions emerged as the result of the group's collaborative efforts to improve them into a workable plan. We were harnessing group intelligence to create unexpected by effective plans. As it turned out, sales genius didn't come solely from individual sales reps, my researchers, or me. Sales genius, I discovered, is a team sport."
It's Time to Rewrite the Sales Playbook. Think about this for a minute. You screen your calls both at work and at home. You filter out the SPAM emails that you don't want. You have gotten REALLY good not seeing advertising you don't care about nor being sold by someone you no nothing about. Right? So why would you think that doing the same thing that worked even a decade ago would work today?
Let's agree that there is a lot more complexity today in B2B sales. Tim Sanders writes, "...prospects have abundant information at their fingertips to assist them throughout their buyers journey." In fact, you might argue that there's too much information out there. "Sellers today face not only higher deal complexity and increased variability but also better-informed customers who are engaging suppliers much later in the purchase process," he says. "Customers on average have completed nearly 60% of their purchase decision before having a conversation with a supplier."
In other words, before a prospect agrees to speak with you, they've already done a ton of homework and are already leaning in a particular direction. If you haven't implemented a content strategy that puts you squarely into your ideal prospect's consideration set, you may not even get the opportunity to pitch your solution.
"Your Network Is Your Net Worth" Tim Sanders summed up the whole problem eloquently when he explained that "Sales builds silos" and that's the opposite of what you need to win. "You'll lack key insights that affect the value of what you sell, how profitable it will be, how it will resonate through the prospect company, and, most important, whether you can actually deliver on what you sell." His bottom line is that, "when it comes to problem solving, your network truly is your net worth."
My recommendation to you is to pick up not just one copy of Dealstorming, but consider purchasing several copies for your team. This way, they will have a deeper understanding of why they are critical to a successful B2B sales process. If you're lucky, you'll knock out a few internal silos and also deliver substantially better solutions to the problems your potential customers have. Happy reading!
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