Walpole Partnership’s Guest Author Series – Post No. 7

 

Ever wondered what goes on inside the ‘Magic Circle’?

We love to bring different perspectives on how to engage with clients, and today it’s our pleasure to introduce Lee Warren, magician and sales guru, who offers us his advice on how to get a client’s attention. Disclaimer – No ladies were sawn in half in the production of this article…

How to be attractive in six letters – emotional persuasion in tech sales.

People in tech sales love facts, and data, and content. They adore describing processes and systems. The more detailed they are, the more they love them: ‘Our hypo-automative facilitated system is engineered to strategically position best outflows against demand…’

The trouble is. Facts don’t ‘sell’. They only tell.

My background is as a magician and mind-reader. One of the first things a magician learns, is that if you’re going to ‘sell’ a trick, you have to get people to care about what’s going on, before you start the trick.

Facts, content and data, on their own, tend to be unpersuasive. You can argue with facts. They’re easy to forget, and they’re often difficult to repeat to other people in a meaningful way.

So truly great salespeople in tech don’t just use facts, they also use emotional engagement with buyers. They ‘hook’ people’s interest – right from the start of their communication.

We live in a world where people don’t want to be ‘sold to’ any more. Our clients are busy, and already have too much to deal with. Selling to people by bombarding them with facts makes you the same as everyone else – forgettable, bland and self-interested. Our clients don’t want someone who will ‘sell’ at them. They want to deal with someone who understands their world, builds trust, and creates a relationship.

How to get emotional engagement

A handy acronym I use with all my clients is ‘HAM PIE’.

‘HAM’ stands for Hearts And Minds’ – if you want to be truly persuasive in sales, you have to get an emotional connection to your message early in the process.

‘Emotion’ here doesn’t mean hugging all your prospects, or bursting into tears! It means that when people hear you talk about your service or product, they’re thinking something like ‘This is interesting/relevant/a good use of my time/valuable/fun/provocative/different…’

This ‘hook’ is what makes it easier for people to listen to, and believe, your main pitch.

Many people start ‘selling’ too early, or they make the sale too much about themselves:

‘We were established in 1998’

‘We are the leading…’

‘Our unique service is…’

‘We’re amazing at…’

But no one is interested in you – they’re interested in themselves.

‘HAM’ reminds you – get the emotional connection first, then pitch.

Don’t talk about what matters to you – talk about what matters to the client or prospect. Don’t say what you want to say – say what they need to hear. Don’t just talk – ask questions, create a conversation.

For example, instead of saying ‘We were established in 1998’ you could try ‘We know from our briefing call that stability is very important to you. Well, we were established in 1998, which means that we’ve seen the highs and lows in this business…’

You need to have people ready to listen before you say anything they need to hear!

‘PIE’ stands for:

Pictures

Interest

Enthusiasm.

These three words are great tools for getting an emotional connection when you describe your service or product.

Pictures can be metaphors, stories, analogies, case studies, testimonials, easy comparisons, and so on. Most of us find visual images easy to understand, and easy to remember. It’s a strange quirk of the human mind – if we can understand and remember something easily, we tend to believe it more.

If you use ‘pictures’ in your sales, your messages will be simpler, more persuasive, more memorable and more believable. Even better – you become more referable and more competitor-proof.

‘We are the Netflix of finance software’ is more compelling than ‘We have a range of on-demand, self-selected options across a broad range of financial software applications….’

Interest should be obvious, but is so often forgotten. Your sale should centre on what is most interesting to your prospect – what matters most to them? The answer to this will rarely be your systems and processes. It will usually be the result of your systems and processes. Few people are interested in your ‘award-winning multi-phase implementation protocol.’ They are interested in ‘We can have this up and running in a fortnight, with no downtime.’ Your sales pitches should focus around answering the ‘what’s in this for me’ thought bubble most prospects have hanging over their heads!

Enthusiasm is a key word in sales – the first person to convince in any sale is you. You have to be enthusiastic about your own service or product if you want to persuade others.

One of the best ways to build enthusiasm for your sale is to focus the value of what you do, rather than how you do it.

When I coach clients on improving their sales pitches, I ask them to drill down to the real value of what they do. You can find an exercise for helping you do that here.

‘HAM PIE’ is not magic, but it does give you everything you need to know to be a more persuasive, emotionally connected salesperson. Give it a try in the real world, and good luck with your next sale!

Lee Warren has been a professional keynote business speaker since 2010, and has spoken in more than 20 countries around the globe for hundreds of world-class businesses. He uses his background in magic, theatre and business to create seminars and talks that are ‘business cabaret’. He is a member of the Magic Circle and was described by Prince William as ‘absolutely amazing’.

Delivering CPQ in Russia

Another project we’re excited to be working on at the moment is located in Russia. We’re helping an enterprise company in the industrial sector implement Oracle Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Cloud. We’ll let you know more about the project when we can, but we’re enjoying working with Borlas to deliver a great CPQ solution, fully integrated with Oracle Sales Cloud for this prestigious client.

What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You – No. 9: REDUCTION IN ADMINISTRATION

 

During the ‘What CPQ can REALLY do’ series, we’ve taken a deeper dive into the real benefits of implementing a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system, and we’ve looked at how CPQ can help from the perspective of a number of different stakeholders including finance, marketing, order management and other teams.

However, I can’t help but return to the salesperson’s point of view, as the sales teams are the ones who use CPQ on a regular, if not daily, basis. If a CPQ system doesn’t work well for salespeople (or channel partners) then it will rarely be a successful system for the company. So in this post, it gives me no end of pleasure to discuss how a good CPQ solution can deliver a benefit that is close to the heart of so many salespeople, and that benefit is a reduction in administration.

Show me a salesperson who craves more administration and I’ll show you someone who is almost certainly not hitting their target. Admin is an anathema to most salespeople, and trying to avoid doing lots of admin might have been one of the main reasons they moved into sales in the first place.

There are five main ways that implementing a CPQ system can save administration time:

1) Rekeying Information

CPQ is generally integrated with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and so it is straightforward for all the account information, names and addresses etc, to be passed seamlessly from CRM to CPQ. In return, once the deal is in a CPQ system, the products, prices and status of the deal can be automatically synced back into CRM. This reduces the need for careful updating of two separate systems, and it also reduces errors.

2) Forecasting

In most organisations, forecasting is frequently dealt with in a whole team meeting where each person in turn states what deals they are bringing in this week or month, and the value of them. It’s often necessary to treat forecasting like this so that a sales manager can inspect the deals and make their own judgement on whether they’ll really happen or not. I’ve seen this process reduced significantly in organisations that are disciplined in the adoption of CPQ. By putting the detail of a deal into a CPQ system, and seeking approvals for non-standard elements in advance, salespeople and managers are more collaborative throughout a deal’s lifecycle, building confidence in, or having it challenged in a more productive way. If the customer requirements change, all systems get updated and managers have more confidence in the data in the system. It’s a much more straightforward process all round.

3) Quote/Proposal Creation

Of course, a CPQ system will offer a major reduction in the administration required to generate a quote or proposal document. All deal information can be used in well-branded templates, allowing the time taken to create an accurate proposal to be reduced from sometimes days to minutes. A sales person can spend their limited time crafting a personalised cover letter that will have impact, rather than trying to collate information on the detail of the product or service, or searching around for the prices and facts of a deal.

4) Automated Approvals

We’ve mentioned before the beneficial effect on approvals that CPQ can bring, and for many salespeople, chasing around after people to say ‘yes’ to a deal is a time-consuming and unnecessary overhead, which sometimes means you need to return to the office to find people who are hiding behind voicemail or not responding to emails! Having a transparent and automated approval mechanism can highlight when approves are holding up deals, and it can also breed a culture of support for salespeople if implemented correctly.

5) Order Processing

Finally once the salesperson has done the ‘easy’ bit of what they’re paid to do – getting the customer to say ‘yes’ and to sign the order – they then have the challenge of getting the order processed. Without CPQ this can be a manual system, sometimes preparing internal order paperwork with more information, and having to double check everything is correct, when really you should be out drinking champagne to celebrate. A CPQ system that is integrated with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or order management can provide all the information that the downstream systems require, fully validated and error free, all at the press of a button.

Overall the streamlining of administration and moving it away from frontline sales can only be a good thing for an organisation. I’ve heard sales people refer to themselves as ‘the highest paid admin clerk’ which is both sad and frustrating. Take the tasks away, systemise them, automate them and let CPQ free your salespeople to sell.

The series ‘What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux. Don’t miss out on further parts in this series which can be found on the news section of Walpole Partnership’s website.

Video Series Part 6: 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Implementing CPQ – Unrealistic Timeframes

 

 

 

 

Make sure you watch the sixth part of our series which shares tips to help you avoid making common mistakes when choosing and implementing a Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) system. In this video we look at why it’s necessary to be realistic about timeframes.

Walpole Partnership welcomes Lee Hasnath to the role of Strategic Development Manager

We’re pleased to announce that Lee Hasnath has joined the team at Walpole Partnership in the role of Strategic Development Manager.

Lee has spent the last eight years working with selling platforms and helping organisations work smarter through digital transformation. He also has extensive experience of ‘digital-first’ which, combined with a data-driven approach to the optimisation of sales and marketing teams, makes him an important addition to Walpole Partnership’s sales team.

Lee said: I am delighted that Walpole Partnership has asked me to join and assist them in building their business organically and I’m excited about helping their clients to be more sales-centric. Additionally they have an excellent team within the business and are fully enabled around the CPQ Solution.”

Andy Pieroux, Managing Director at Walpole Partnership said: Lee brings a new level of energy and focus to our business development team. I’ve seen first hand his tenacity and experience, and his ability to help organisations understand the potential of new technology. We’re very excited to see him develop opportunities for improvement for our future clients, helping them sell more, and sell faster with CPQ.

About Walpole Partnership:

Walpole Partnership provides expert consultancy to help your company implement a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system. We ensure that the organisations we work with are able to realise the full benefits of their investment in CPQ.

The team at Walpole Partnership have worked on CPQ deployments of all sizes, from small businesses to blue-chip corporations, in many different industries and with all the major providers of CPQ solutions.

Walpole Partnership helps you gain value from your investment, by sharing best practices that will benefit your organisation. We help you avoid costly mistakes, now and in the future, because we are experts in CPQ.

Walpole Partnership’s Guest Author Series – Post No. 6

At the start of each year it’s almost a tradition that we look forward and try to predict the future. We made our own educated guesses back in January about what the software trends would be for CPQ during 2018 and once they have all come true we’ll make sure we let everyone know of course… There’s really no good reason why futurism should be limited to January 1st or to CPQ, so it is with delight that our partners, BPI OnDemand, share their views on the future of Customer Experience.

 

The Future of Customer Experience (CX)

As we are now well and truly in the swing of things this year, it is becoming more evident that the ‘era of the customer’ continues to reign. This undoubtedly means continued change and uncertainty for organisations. Having studied the market and emerging CX technologies, here are three predictions for 2018 in the world of Customer Experience.

1) Customers will hold more power than ever

Ah yes, we do have to begin with GDPR. Whilst it feels like it’s mandatory to begin every article with this in 2018,there is no doubt that GDPR will have a major impact on businesses CX strategy. The customer has more power over their data and how it is leveraged than ever, meaning every interaction is key. But shouldn’t we be looking at this with more optimism? This change places renewed emphasis on organisations to become more creative and strategic in their content marketing strategy (if that isn’t the goal already!)

2) Organisations will take one step closer to becoming data obsessed

As customer expectations continue to grow each year, providing an intimate experience will continue to remain at the heart of every business. To achieve this, there is a substantial need for organisations to become more data obsessed. Knowing your customer’s persona and preferred means of communication gives your organisation the ability to hyper-personalise all your interactions with them, and every piece of data that organisations capture should be centred around this.

3) AI is here to stay

Don’t worry, AI (Artificial Intelligence) hasn’t replaced us humans just yet but it still isn’t leaving anytime soon; in fact, it is here to stay. Although the thought of introducing or even increasing the use of AI into your CX strategy can be daunting, it has the ability to enable deeper connections with your customers. Currently, AI has only a small place in terms of CX – it’s mostly being used for things such as chat bots for lower level interactions. However, predictions for this year show that AI will begin to gain importance. As it begins to steadily evolve, we will notice it starting to be able to hold conversations in a more natural way across even more channels, bringing in a fresh way to engage with customers.

BPI OnDemand are an award-winning consultancy specialising in all things related to Customer Experience. For more information about what they do, visit www.bpiondemand.com

Walpole Partnership welcomes George Sharpe to the role of Digital Marketing Specialist

We’re pleased to announce that George Sharpe will be working with Walpole Partnership in the role of Digital Marketing Specialist.

George has worked in a variety of digital marketing roles over the last ten years for companies including Apple, Universal and Ticketmaster. Working for these organisations has given him cutting-edge experience when it comes to mobile and digital technologies. George will use this experience and his impressive skill set in his position at Walpole Partnership.

George said: “I am thrilled to be working alongside Walpole Partnership and super excited to support their growth in the UK and beyond.

Andy Pieroux, Managing Director at Walpole Partnership said: I’m very pleased to welcome George to head up our digital marketing strategy as we expand and take our message to a wider audience. George brings an amazing breadth of global digital marketing experience at the very highest enterprise level, and we are extremely fortunate to benefit from that. With George’s assistance we’ll be able to help more people understand and benefit from the power of CPQ.

About Walpole Partnership:

Walpole Partnership provides expert consultancy to help your company implement a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system. We ensure that the organisations we work with are able to realise the full benefits of their investment in CPQ.

The team at Walpole Partnership have worked on CPQ deployments of all sizes, from small businesses to blue-chip corporations, in many different industries and with all the major providers of CPQ solutions.

Walpole Partnership helps you gain value from your investment, by sharing best practices that will benefit your organisation. We help you avoid costly mistakes, now and in the future, because we are experts in CPQ.

What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You – No. 8: ASSET BASED ORDERING

Our series of deep-dives into the real benefits of implementing a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system has covered many general topics so far. Now, let’s take a look at a slightly more niche, but great potential benefit of one of the newer features of CPQ – Asset Based Ordering (ABO).

ABO, which is sometimes referred to as Subscription Ordering, is a powerful capability that really extends the reach of CPQ. For businesses that sell subscriptions, recurring licenses, support agreements or modular solutions it can allow these transactions to be handled effectively beyond the initial sale and gives great scope for managing renewals. Critically it also provides the capability for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities to be captured, delivering enhanced revenue and profit for those who implement it well.

First, let’s understand exactly what ABO is. To take a B2C example, imagine that at home you have a fixed telephone line contract with your national provider. You’ve had this for several years. Then your old TV breaks down so you go out and buy a shiny new 60” 4K HDR TV. Naturally you want great content to watch, and your phone provider also offers digital TV services, so you call up and you add a basic TV package to your contract. Three months later you receive a letter advertising the start of the new football season and your football mad son pesters you in to adding on a ‘Sports Package’ to your TV contract. You agree a discount with your provider based on extending your original contract for a further 12 months. A year later you see that another provider is offering a great deal. You call your provider up and either they agree to terminate your contract, or they offer you a discount for a renewal.

ABO allows the provider to use their knowledge of what services you have and your contract status at any time so they can offer you an appropriate product, service or contract. It can also calculate any adjustment to pricing. Finally it can also issue the correct instructions to supporting systems so that they can move, add, change or delete (MACD) the records for each asset. In the earlier example this might show as an ‘add’ for the TV service, a ‘change’ to add the ‘Sports Package’, another ‘change’ to the contract length, and finally a ‘delete’ should the contract be terminated.

The key benefits of working with an ABO capable system is the ability to manage all these transactions in a sales facing system. Traditionally contract changes such as these were a back-office maintenance process, disconnected from the sales or service teams who face the customer. For industries like telecoms, it’s invaluable to have this information linked in to the sales tools and ABO provides a crucial advantage in terms of giving a customer the right deal at the right price.

The benefits aren’t limited to telecoms companies either. Any organisation that sells subscriptions, license contracts or support agreements can benefit. Software companies, facilities management companies and maintenance providers are all examples of the type of business that can use ABO technology to its maximum potential.

Finally a good CPQ system should allow ABO to draw information from different sources – a CRM opportunity, an ERP system or an asset database. By using all this information and being smart about the logic of how it drives buyer behaviour, ABO can be a fantastic asset to many organisations.

The series ‘What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux. Don’t miss out on further parts in this series which can be found on the news section of Walpole Partnership’s website.