Part 3 – Presenting Your Value Proposition

By: Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

This is a hypothetical business presentation used to demonstrate how everything you’ve learned in the first two parts of this series on Value Propositions comes together in a business case to win your opportunity. Let’s approach this slide by slide.

You’ll notice on the title slide that the name of the customer is displayed prominently.  This underlines the fact that this presentation is about Cloud Communications and not about you. Please note that in the lower left hand corner of the slide, we’ve listed all of your personnel who will work on this opportunity. This demonstrates your commitment to collaboration, which is a huge executive value. Continue reading

Selling to Sam in the Service Unit

By: Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

First a refresher on two key definitions. Business Units (BUs) are the business segments that are managed on a P & L basis that sell a product or a service to an external customer. At the other end of the spectrum, Service Units (SUs) are managed as cost centers and their mission is to serve their internal customers, the BUs. A list of SUs might include Marketing Research, Purchasing, Finance, Human Resources, Training and Development etc.

The words to highlight and underline in these definitions are “P & L” and “cost centers.” In short, BUs make money, SUs spend money. In an economic downturn, the SUs are under constant unremitting pressure to quit spending money, to reduce costs and do more with less, or face the prospect of being outsourced. What does this mean? It means that Sam, the Purchasing Manager is seeing a lot more empty cubes in his work area. Continue reading

Critical Success Factors in the Strategic Sale


By: Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

Did you know that over 50% of executive decisions and initiatives fail?  (See Business Think in my book list at right.) Business initiative failures are the norm, not the exception.  There are a lot of explanations for this – executive hubris, focusing on low priority issues, poor execution, inadequate resources, etc.  But my guess is that there’s usually one common cause; the failure to understand and address Critical Success Factors – those things that absolutely must happen to make the initiative succeed. Continue reading

Success Metrics in the Strategic Sale

By: Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

A quick apology.  My intention was to make this a weekly blog, but during the past two weeks, I’ve led Workshops in Manchester, Newark, Dayton, Chicago and San Francisco and finished up a string of 24 virtual sessions.  Too much work, too little time; but a good problem to have.  I’ll do my best to get back on a weekly schedule. Now let’s talk about success metrics.

During the discovery phase of the strategic sale, there are four pieces of information that we absolutely must understand before even thinking about crafting a high value solution: Continue reading

Breaking out of Vendor Jail

By Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

Timing is everything. Where you decide to enter the purchase process sets your level of relationship, who you get to work with, your opportunity to create value and even your chances for shaping the deal.  Here’s how it works. On a strategic initiative, the strategic purchase process breaks roughly into three segments:

  1. Early Stage: The client’s organization experiences a number of pressures, problems and pain that create a need or desire for change. Then something happens that forces the executive to take action, for example, a new governmental regulation, the emergence of a new technology, the loss of a major customer. The executive responds to this compelling event by launching the initiative. his first step is to set the statistical measures that will be used to measure success post implementation; e.g., a fifteen percent increase in revenue, After these success metrics are established, as the final part of his due diligence, the executive defines his critical success factors, those few items that if not addressed, will cause the initiative to fail. Continue reading

Selling in the Land of Carpet

By Kurt Ernst | Sales Readiness, Inc.

In previous posts I’ve given my opinion on selling transactionally. Over time, I’ve come to see the transactional sale as a mutually manipulative, fundamentally dysfunctional process that sucks the soul out of the best salespeople and their customers as well.

If you’re with me on this, you’re already started your transition from the transactional to the strategic. Here are some critical success factors in achieving that change:

  • Service Unit Managers (purchasing agents, etc) are under constant unremitting pressure to do more with less or get outsourced. This fear-based environment leads them to treat purchasing initiatives transactionally.  If you don’t want to sell on the basis of how fast, cheap and easy you are to do business with, you must trade these lower level customers in for Director level or above business unit members who’s habitat is the land of carpet. Continue reading