Sales Process: I’ll Take the Barbacoa Please with Pinto Beans and Brown Rice
I love Chipotle. They’ve got a great story. Their food is tasty. And most important they make it easy for me to buy from them.
Several years ago my wife and I alternated between taking our kids to Chipotle and another mexican fast casual place in our hometown. This other place was also ‘corporate’ – at the time, like Chipotle, it was either owned by a big parent company or had big parent investors (neither one is owned by a big parent company today).
However, more times than I care to describe the other joint failed to get our food right. I think the main reason had to do with simplicity of operations and the focus of the entire strategy – the place that kept getting my meal wrong wasn’t simple to order from and didn’t have simple operations. Chipotle has both. This sounds so easy and yet it’s so hard to do.
Simplicity is also the key to getting your sales teams to adopt a sales strategy and change how they sell. When your strategy or sales method is simple it’s easier to learn. When it’s easy to learn it’s easier to use. When it’s easy to use you’re more likely to use it. When you use the new sales method repeatedly you’re more likely to get good at it.
A simple sales method is also easier to coach to. Think of it as having fewer moving parts and therefore fewer ways to screw it up. Sales managers can more easily stay on message and focus when it’s all simple.
So what does a simple sales method look like? A simple sales method could be as straightforward as BANT – budget, authority, need, timing. That’s brilliant isn’t it? My friend Brian Dietmeyer has a simple, powerful negotiation method. No one has a monopoly on simple but there are some methods that take the prize for being downright over engineered and overly complex. They claim that a complex sale needs a complex sales process. I disagree.
Customers tell us that our BuyCycle Funnel is simple. The Commit Funding stage is the pivotal stage where the PFA chooses to no longer live with the problem. Whether or not the PFA has committed to that is simple yet so powerful. If they’ve Committed Funding your strategy should focus on persuading the customer to buy your solution. If they haven’t Committed Funding your strategy should focus on finding a financially compelling case for the problem.
Another simple context is for running meetings. What’s the purpose of this meeting? What outcomes are we focused on getting? What’s the agenda? Who’s keeping us on task? Who’s keeping us on time? Ok, let’s go!
Chipotle has made it simple to eat well and get through lunch in a reasonable time. You pick the style (burrito? salad? bowl?), then rice or not, then beans or not, then you pick the filling, then salsa, then toppings. AND, in case you’re delirious from the smells or distracted by that lousy meeting you escaped from before lunch they remind you what to do at each step.
VPs of Sales or CEOs, Presidents, or others considering how to get your sales organization to adopt change and improve sales performance: Keep it simple. Stay on message. Don’t let up.