GUEST: Darren Stordahl, VP of Sales and Marketing at FMT Consultants
Darren was hoping to address two things in his company:
FMT had fundamentally different options, solutions, and approaches that were available to their clients. With a small sales team, the variations were impossible to match making it difficult to grow as a business.
2. Customer Alignment:
A sales team member that is confident and clear on what they are saying can actually execute independently. Darren wanted to end the confusion in how to move through each engagement. By cutting out all the different practices, the sales team would have one efficient and proven method to be successful.
Hoping to address these two issues, Darren chose ValueSelling as FMT’s new sales methodology.
He felt confident that ValueSelling would:
- Allow the sales team to engage the client better. Engagement is fundamental to their business, and this method put more emphasis on connection.
- Give them the means to collect important information from their clients. ValueSelling is a customer-centric approach to business that puts a focus on listening.
- Minimize the tricks and techniques in sales and instead focus on finding that genuine conversation with each client. It would give his team a structure they could follow while still being able to personalize it to their own styles.
But getting internal buy-in can be an even bigger hurdle to jump than choosing a new method. So how do you it successfully?
“There’s compliance and there’s pretend compliance and then there’s commitment,” Darren said.
There’s no magic bullet, but here are three things that helped FMT get internal support:
Show them it’s not working:
FMT didn’t rush into adopting this new sales method or force it upon the consultants. They began by talking to other folks that had been using the ValueSelling method. Not only did they have to get their team to recognize there was an issue in their current method, but they had to spend time understanding the repercussions of not changing.
That pre-engagement and the pre-commitment period was crucial in allowing FMT’s team to understand why ValueSelling would be the best method to help them scale. They were persistent in the need to adopt this method.
Get them comfortable with new words:
In the beginning, a new set of vocabulary was intimidating for the consultants. You’re changing the way they’re used to engaging with their clients and making money, and these brand new terms come with an expectation of fulfillment.
But repetition can help.
Darren using the new terminology consistently helped make that transition more seamless. In the pre-engagement period, he continuously talked about things like defining a qualified prospect and QP formula. New words they would all soon adopt.
VP of Sales and Marketing at FMT Consultants
Spend time in the pre-engagement period:
Differentiation in the podcast space is a necessity.
Without it, your voice will dissolve amongst the noise.
When we asked Simon how his team advises clients on being different, he had this to say: “No one can fake your personality and your voice. Once people connect with that, it’s authentic. And that is something that comes across really well in audio format.”
From there it tends to come down to what the market is doing:
- Find a niche within a niche.
- Always focus on your audience and not your expertise.
- With authenticity in place, grow it out from there.
1. The B2B space is almost impossible to differentiate through your product or service alone. In the eyes of your client, it’s not going to be apparent. The real differentiation is your perspective and your talent. And the best way to do that is audio and video. With audio, people don’t get distracted as much as with video. It gives them an opportunity to really get to know you.
2. People are less inclined to speak with you unless you provide them with something they perceive to be valuable. Go into podcasting, keeping this in mind whether you provide them value through offering them exposure, a free marketing platform or the chance to develop their thought leadership!
3. Relationships are the name of the game. If you develop a platform through the right medium, where you can build key relationships at scale than you’re bound to be very impactful. So long as relationships continue to be key in the B2B world, building them at scale will be vitally important. Cultivating the right podcast presence allows you to do that.
When we asked the best way to reach him to learn more, Simon’s simple answer made us smile – “Invite me to a podcast.”
VP of Sales and Marketing at FMT Consultants
So if you’re hoping to adopt a new sales methodology at your company, make sure you’re thinking about these three main takeaways from someone who’s done it successfully.
Make it a part of the DNA:
ValueSelling works and uniquely aligns the sales team with the customer. But you need to understand how the process works; you also have to take the time to get comfortable with the new language. And really this goes for any sales method you choose.
FMT added the ValueSelling method into their internal CRM so their sales team could have the resources readily available as they move through an engagement. Through this, they have a way to find really good, accurate information really quickly. Getting into the CRM made the method a part of the documented structure of the business; a part of the company’s DNA.
Training and repetition is everything:
Consistent training makes everyone more successful. Training isn’t something you do once and then forget about. Once you get to a certain state, you should take your team to the next level and work that for a while, then do some corrections and go to the next level again.
FMT looks for the tools that help move the method forward and work within that method- until everyone can see that it works. It may take a few times, but it’s worth the effort.
If you get your team on board the right way, the training becomes requested. All FMT does is show everyone the value of the methodology and then they request it because they can see that it works.
They show them how it helps one make better decisions and engage clients more deeply. They teach them the value at the initial level and then keep going deeper. When your team sees it in action, they get excited because it streamlines their work process as well.
Whatever new sales methodology you’re thinking about adopting, it’s possible to get the internal buy-in that will make the transition smooth sailing.
This post is based on an interview with Darren Stordahl, VP of Sales and Marketing at FMT Consultants. To hear this episode, and many more like it, subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience Podcast.