Jonathan Farrington interviews Jay Mitchell, founder and president of Mereo.
JF: When a selling organization is struggling to achieve sustainable revenue performance, the first focus often goes to those on the front lines — the salespeople. For decades, sales training has been prescribed as the fix. Yet, you’ve made the bold claim that modern sales trainings are incapable of truly resolving an organization’s real issues.
JM: Sales training and sales enablement sessions are well up our alley. In fact, we recently conducted successful enablement for a client that has since experienced a monumental lift in both pipeline expansion and sales cycle acceleration. But sales training alone will have minor lasting impact without other pieces of the revenue engine examined and finely tuned.
If we are discussing sales enablement specifically, we see modern sales training touching well on the sales process and related buyer/seller activities, and the techniques for selling. But sales enablement is a three-legged stool — and sales training has historically addressed only two.
Where current sales training programs miss the mark is with value messaging, where sales can communicate to prospects and buyers (1) the value proposition of a solution and (2) corresponding differentiation. Too often, those fundamental ingredients to a win-win with a client are kept in marketing’s and somewhat the product team’s arenas. They are trumpeting the messaging as kingpin — with the idea being if they can get their sellers to use the exact script they fed them, then everything will go splendid. But this is not how sales interactions go. Conversations between buyers and sellers are fluid. This is a major mind shift for organizations to overcome.
JF: What would you say are other major issues at play often within these struggling or stagnant organizations?
JM: One of the major issues that continues to plague B2B selling organizations is a failure of alignment. Many times the sales, marketing and product teams are not communicating — or where they are, it is not on the real go-to-market pillars that power sustainable revenue performance. For example, there is no agreement on the target buyer profile. Similarly, each department might be prioritizing a different route-to-market. Or the sales enablement strategy, as we saw before, is not realistic.
And this is a recipe for a bitter dish. Because if the product team launching and managing solutions is not on the same page with the marketing team developing messaging and generating leads around those solutions, and both in turn are not aligned with sales who are bringing the solution value proposition directly to the buyer — there will be lost opportunities to create value for a buyer.