When considering your sales process, you need to think about the most desirable outcome. Improved conversion ratio and accuracy in forecast and pipeline management? You can do this by aligning your sales process with the customer journey and creating clearly defined content. Refining your sales process and particularly your sales planning activity will:
- Increase your number of clients
- Optimise your selling process
- Change your positioning
- Find an unexploited niche
Platform Thinking (PT) is an approach to plan sales and negotiation activities for an individual Sales Manager or the whole team. Practicing Platform thinking raises 3 key questions:
- What customer segment is really attractive to us?
- What does our current negotiation or sales process look like?
- What are the arguments for our clients to continue working with us?
The primary objective of practicing Platform Thinking is to increase personal or team effectiveness. Platform Thinking is a powerful tool for planning sales activities, resource allocation and calculating stability factors, utilising Buying Platform, Working Platform and Market Platform. It can also be extremely valuable when you want to:
Customer segments and their atrractiveness
Not all Sales Managers have to make this choice –other company departments make this prioritisation. But reflection on this topic can be very helpful for Sales Managers: what clients bring the highest value to our organisation and why? After all, clarifying the customers segment where your company’s Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) can be utilised with the greatest returns shows where you have the most attractive customer sector. An understanding of the following topics can make sales teams more effective:
- Our company’s Unique Selling Points
- How to use them
- How to transform them into arguments
- Whom to approach with them – company, role, position, psychological type
So, a quite simple decision – “Who are our clients?” – can initiate a rather serious process; how to prepare our sales staff to find and select the right customers, and how to approach them.
Platform Thinking helps to focus your resources where they are absolutely necessary, and to save spending money on unnecessary activities.
What does our current negotiation or sales process look like?
The next step in PT is to understand how to start and continue negotiations. Many companies today establish very specific rules about for negotiation processes. Usually they employ the standard five- or seven-step selling processes as a base, sometimes with modifications, such as some other steps accepted by the industry. Work like this is normally carried out internally by the Sales Manager based on strengths and weaknesses in negotiation process that everybody should be aware of.
- Where are we at maximum risk?
- Where we are safe?
- How can I as a manager support subordinates in this process?
- Do we have any tool that describes our position in the negotiation process?What does the action planning in it look like?
These simple questions have a major impact on the daily activities.
Find out more about how Platform Thinking can transform your approach to sales planning and negotiation.