The best sales managers are able to utilize very powerful tools, a common language that everybody understands, and can understand the current situation and the obstacles lying in front of the seller – the root cause, basically. An ability to project themselves into the future and imagine possible solutions is going to bring value to the clients.
Manufacturing companies have been able to reduce their defect ratio and increase their quality by applying principles of total quality management, like Kaizen, Six Sigma, and others. These modules allow an agility which is more than needed in today’s business environment.
What if we utilize the same principles in how we manage opportunities in the sales world? What if we utilize a language, a model, and a coaching process that would enable you to save 80% of the time you spend today sifting through superficial information that doesn’t allow you to get to the heart of an opportunity and decide what to do? Well, the key is a very simple tool that we call our GPS for opportunities – PPVVCC.
The PPVVCC Way
P for Pain. Are we talking about the real issues with our client? Are they sharing the real issues? Do we know their game plan, their strategy? Have we shown enough credibility and created enough interest so that the conversation is real?
P for Power. Are we at the right level? Do we have a sponsor? Is that sponsor sharing information only with us, or is he facilitating access to other internal, external influencers?
V for Vision. Is your solution different and unique so that we obtain the credit that we’re more proactive, that we’re thinking more broadly than others? Is our solution positioning us for the long term, the midterm, or only for the transaction in play right now?
V for Value. Are we able to articulate the relationship we want to have with them, what kind of partnership we want going forward, and how we’ll support them through implementation to adoption? Are we comfortable that our pricing is justified because of the broader value that we are bringing?
C for Collaboration. Do we know what the next steps are? Do we participate in those, and are we working with the client towards a conclusion of this opportunity?
C for Compelling Reason to Act. Is there a time-bound event for action? Have they shared a compelling reason to act? Do we know the implications of inaction?
Each letter corresponds to a key moment in the interaction between the seller and the client, so the quality of the work of the seller will be reflected by the score and will allow the manager to assess whether or not we’ve made impact at a client level. This way, the manager can focus on the one simple competency or behavior to improve. And, at the same time, rejig the strategy or the activities so that the opportunity can be won.
For example, a low score for the first two P’s will mean that some preliminary conversations need to happen again. More questions need to be asked in order to assess the current start. Working on an offer at this point will not solve anything because we don’t have the winning conditions. By becoming comfortable with PPVVCC and how to read that data, managers will be able to coach in the corridor, the water cooler, or coffee machine to talk about strategic opportunities by using the same language and model and focus on the same developmental objectives. Managers will be able to manage by exception and provide their value add at the right time, on the right opportunities, while protecting the development of their resources.