Last week, the U.S. Patent Office granted Butler Street the registered trademark for the following:
If we solve our customers’ problems…we’ll solve our own®
This quote, originated by Butler Street Managing Partner, Mary Ann McLaughlin, says so much in so few words. It has become the Butler Street mantra and truly is the genesis for sales. (And when we use the term sales, we mean any time you need to influence thinking).
Solve our customers’ problems…when we say customer, we mean anyone for whom you can create value. For example, if you are a staffing company—you really have two sets of customers—client and talent and it works nicely for both.
If we solve our customers’ problems…we’ll solve our own® It is powerful and self-explanatory. Think about it for just one minute….
According to research from CSO Insights, we are now failing more often than not. We believe it is largely because the sales force is not solving their customers’ problems. Perhaps it’s because they are not set up for success?
We consistently find three big mistakes that companies are making when it comes to their sales force:
Lack of focus
Lack of marketing alignment
Lack of training
Fundamental, yet often overlooked. Executing consistently on these three strategies can ensure consistent growth:
1. Focus: having a segmentation strategy for value creation is key. When leading a consultative sales force, it is important to understand that your ability to solve customers’ problems/challenges and create new opportunities is everything. Therefore, your ability to amass knowledge and experience is what creates value for your customers. Heed the saying “you can’t be all things to all people”.
At Butler Street, we focus on staffing and print. We know both industries well and that is where we invest our marketing dollars. At Standard Register, we focused on financial and healthcare markets. At one time we had 17 of the top 25 banks in the U.S. outsourced with us and primary contracts with 4 out of 5 largest healthcare GPOs. How is that for focus?
2. Marketing alignment: Marketing must act as an “insight generation machine” that feeds the salesforce with quality teaching material that customers will find compelling. They should be generating compelling case study after case study of how your products/services help customers identify new opportunities to cut costs, increase revenue, penetrate new markets, and mitigate risk in ways they themselves have not yet recognized
3. Continual investment in learning: there is no such thing as a sustainable competitive advantage in terms of a product or service. Your only sustainable competitive advantage lies in your people, and their ability to learn faster and change faster than the competition. The ability to change requires an ability to learn. Your company must become a learning organization where continuous investment in the development of your people in an effort to help them solve customers’ problems is a top priority. All of the great companies have made significant investments in this area.
Whether you are a CEO, VP of Sales or an individual sales rep, ask yourself how well you stack up in the areas of focus, marketing alignment and investment in learning. We all have a finite amount of time and a finite amount of capital. We must make tough decisions and as we saw in last week’s blog, inaction may be the biggest mistake of them all.
At Butler Street, we help companies and their people grow®. We do this by breaking very complex issues into bite-sized chunks so that your company can learn and grow. Our proprietary approach Diagnose. Develop. Perfect® enables us to work with companies to create a “system of reinforcing activities” to ensure new methodologies stick and provide the proper ROI. We’ve been an integral part of helping our clients grow 4X market. We would welcome the opportunity to help you. Click on CONTACT and let’s arrange some time to talk.