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Guided Selling

Increasing sales effectiveness, deal-by-deal.

Ian H Smith

As our name implies, at Being Guided we help you to increase sales effectiveness, through applying Guided Selling. This is especially relevant to the high-value, high-touch sell - business or consumer. Our Value Proposition is a combination of Technology and Coaching - applied as Sales Enablement.

In a high-value, high-touch sell, the buying and selling cycle will vary but the cost of the sellside getting it wrong and committing 'pilot error' at a crucial Stage is rarely recoverable. With Guided Selling it is a focus on achieving Right Action, Right Person, Right Time.

The Power of the Outsider

At Being Guided we see Sales Enablement as requiring a highly-experienced, outsider sales professional to operate as an unbiased but supportive Coach to make the optimum Sales Method work - Deal-by-Deal. This also means enabling auto-updating of Records within a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Object-by-Object, Field-by-Field.

Technology

CRM systems, such as HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Salesforce, are great for recording historical events and data: Opportunities (or Deals); Leads (or Enquiries); Campaigns; Accounts; and, Contacts.

However, a CRM system does not guide buyer or seller, it just records data - before, during and after key Actions or Events - it does not prevent pilot error at crucial Stages of the buying and selling cycle. As illustrated above, Guided Selling solves this problem.

At Being Guided we extend CRM systems to enable Guided Selling. This is built on three Design Principles: Meaningful Journey; Fierce Reduction; and, Progressive Disclosure. As Design Principles, they apply to any digital Service Design, but they are especially relevant to the high-value, high-touch sell - business or consumer.

As an integral part of our Design Thinking in Sales Method, you will see the constant prarallels drawn from both the world of a designer and the world of a sales professional. Curiosity and empathy being two examples of common characterists required for both professions.

Embracing Existing Best Practices

If you are already using a sales method, such as MEDDICC or similar, we can embrace the language and meaning of this established best practice by customising Design Thinking in Sales. This commitment to customisation is a key part of how we achieve high User Adoption with Guided Selling and its related CRM system implementation.

Design Principle #1. Meaningful Journey

In the context of the buying and selling cycle, a Meaningful Journey should be designed as a set of Opportunity (or Deal) Actions and Events, marked with Stages that evolve from initial Enquiry to a Closed Won (or Closed Lost) outcome. As the name implies, the Journey must be Meaningful to both buyer and seller. 

It may be appropriate to create several Meaningful Journeys to distinguish between different levels of Value Proposition or Problem-Solution complexity. In some cases, a sufficiently high-value, high-touch sell may even require a per-Deal Meaningful Journey Design.

Design Principle #2. Fierce Reduction

The Actions, Events and Stages should be shared with both buyer and seller, with a common understanding of what represents progress through one or many Routes between each Stage of this Journey. This is also where sales effectiveness requires commitment to simplification: applying Fierce Reduction to the process, to eliminate everything that could distract buyer or seller.

Design Principle #3. Progressive Disclosure

In a high-value, high-touch sell - business or consumer - it is also important to enable a gradual building of the conversation related to the Value Proposition. By applying Progressive Disclosure, it may be better to have more Stages in the Meaningful Journey, balanced against the simplifying of Activities and Events with Fierce Reduction. 

CRM System Integration

Built on a Tangle.io-based extension to popular CRM systems, such as Salesforce, the Guided Selling becomes a custom app that delivers follows the Meaningful Journey directly inside the CRM User Interface and Opportunity (or Deal) Record, as illustrated above. The Canvas may be designed for either the lefthand or righthand one-third section of the Salesforce Record Page or take two-thirds or the entire width of the Lightning Page Design.

When integrating Tangle.io-based Guided Selling with other CRM systems, this may be achieved in a similar way, making use of a Google Chrome Plugin and creating a Side Panel with the Tangle.io-based Guided Selling app extension. This is illustrated below in the example with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM. This works, conceptually, in a similar way to the Salesforce Lightning Canvas.

Coaching

To create the right Guided Selling app and enable a meaningful increase in sales effectiveness, Coaching is key to achieving sustainable, measurable outcomes. This includes a profound shift of what is usually biased, and unreliable: Deal Forecasts. With our approach, it is buyers who validate the Forecast, as illustrated below.

15-minute Coaching Slots

At Being Guided we offer Deal-based Coaching in 15-minute time slots, making the tangible link between Guided Selling and the real world Engagements with prospects. Coaching in live, real world Deals enables the refinement of the Meaningful Journey, Fierce Reduction and Progressive Disclosure that makes sense in the Tangle.io-based extension to your CRM system.

Coaching delivered by an outsider (who is deeply experienced in the high-value, high-touch sell) is far more effective than engaging corporate Sales Enablement Managers, who have little to no field sales experience and are inherently constrained as fellow employees of the sales professional. Challenging the sales professional in short, sharp affordable online meetings is a great way to applying Continuous Improvement in sales.

Discovery and Validation

Coaching enables unbiased Validation of assumptions made by the sales professional. As illustrated above, Design Thinking in Sales is a way to enable Mutual Value Discovery as a win-win Validation between buyer and seller. It is the first Stage of Design Thinking in Sales - Empathy Mapping - where buyer and seller establish sufficient receptivity, rapport and trust.

In turn, it is this increase in trust that leads to buyers - not sellers - ultimately determining a true, reliable Forecast for CRM-based Reporting.

Summary

Longer-term, it is this Continuous Improvement loop between Technology and Coaching with Guided Selling which drives measurable increases in sales effectiveness in the high-value, high-touch sell - business or consumer. It becomes Right Action, Right Person, Right Time

 

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