How to Sell To Procurement (AND WIN!)

Ray Makela is an author, speaker, and business executive with 25 years of management, consulting, and sales experience. At Sales Readiness Group (SRG), Ray oversees all client engagements and the delivery of sales and sales management training programs.

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Ray explains the steps we need to take to sell to and win over any B2B procurement team.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Ray Makela
Sales Performance Consultant

Resources:

Transcript

Ray Makela:

Procurement is one that seems to be getting more and more important these days. It’s even more challenging. And I think to start with, we need to treat procurement as a stakeholder. Here’s the flip side of that. The last thing procurement wants, is to have to go back to the business stakeholder and tell them they blew up their deal. So, the more we can get that air cover, the support from the sponsor, and also understand what those criteria are going to be, I think the better off we’ll be. Again, not to say that it’s easy.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation, I’m Will Barron, host of the Salesman Podcast… world’s biggest B2B sales show, where we help you not just to hit your target, but really thrive in sales. If you haven’t already, make sure you click that big subscribe button below. And with that said, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Ray Makela:

This is Ray Makela from the Sales Readiness Group, CEO and Managing Director. And for those who don’t know a bit about Sales Readiness Group, we are a sales and sales management training company.

 

The Difference Between Selling to Procurement and Selling to Mid-Management · [01:05] 

 

Will Barron:

On today’s episode, we’re diving into the negotiation tactics that you need to use with procurement, and then some of the dirty negotiated tactics that procurement teams are using on you, from procurement to sales professional. Let’s jump right in. How is selling to a procurement team officer, however, their titled, how is that different to selling to someone who is in at mid mid-management, for example?

 

“We need to treat procurement as a stakeholder and not just an afterthought at the end where all of a sudden, we’ve got this hoop to jump through. But we really need to work to understand their priorities, understand what they care about, and understand what that process is going to look like.” – Ray Makela · [01:35] 

 

Ray Makela:

And it’s a great place to start, and this is a fascinating topic. We teach a sales negotiation course and workshop and programme, and procurement is one that seems to be getting more and more important these days. It’s even more challenging. And I think to start with, we need to treat procurement as a stakeholder. So we really need to… not just an afterthought that at the end, all of a sudden, we’ve got this hoop to jump through, but we really need to work to understand their priorities, understand what they care about, understand what that process is going to look like.

 

Ray Makela:

And so I think when we’re selling to maybe a mid level manager, it’s all about the features and the specifications and a little bit about pricing maybe, but how is it going to help their job, how’s the user experience, where we really need to think… and we’ll dive into this in more detail, we need to think about procurement’s there to protect the organisation. They’re there to manage risk in the organisation and they’re there to drive the best deal for the company. So they have their objectives as well, but they’re very different from our either mid-level manager or from our senior executives that we’ve been trying to sell the business value and the ROI to. So we really have almost three categories that we need to consider in putting that deal together.

 

Understanding What Procurement Really Wants From Your Product or Service · [02:35]

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense. And in the spirit of sales and empathy and understanding the people that we’re dealing with, so we can add value to them, if their goal, I guess, on paper, is to mitigate risk for the company, what does that look like on an individual level? What is the specific goal of a person… I don’t know whether they are commissioned or they have bonuses, what boxes do we need to tick for them to keep them happy in a complex B2B transaction?

 

Ray Makela:

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting, and I’ll start just with a little anecdote or story here. I asked that question of one of our longtime clients and I was down there meeting with some of the stakeholders and got an opportunity to meet with the head of procurement. And I asked her. I said, can you help us understand what can we do to be an even better partner? And it was one of those, I thought, Hey, just be good to make a kind of call and see where that went. And she said, in 20 years, that was the first time a vendor had asked her that.

 

Ray Makela:

And in fact, I learned that it wasn’t just about beating us up over price, really, she wanted partners that were going to deliver, without a lot of headache and heartache and a lot of antics. She wanted ethical companies that she could trust and work with. She wanted a good value, but not necessarily the lowest cost. And she wanted to make sure that we were going to be successful. In other words, if we were entering in or continuing this relationship that we were doing well enough that we were going to continue on and we continue to have a multi-year relationship there. And I always kept that in mind, going back to say, well, here’s our proposal. And here’s how we’re helping to meet those objectives, even though sometimes it feels like they just put us on the spreadsheet. And it’s down to the cost per widget, and they’re going to beat us up over that price. There’s a bigger picture that we need to consider.

 

Will Barron:

So Ray, it’s interesting because I’m actually going through some of this at the moment and I won’t kind of bore the audience or yourself with it, but essentially I have been kind of going back and forth for a brand. They came to me, they want to sponsor the show, with the podcast, for two years. Essentially, they want to get the upside of… the audience is growing and they want to kind of secure the pricing slot, now. It went really well dealing with the CMO of the company, got passed down to essentially some of the lower level marketers, who will be able to kind of interface with some of our content, put it in front of their brand, in front of an app product they want include in, just give it an extra layer of value to the salespeople that’s using the app.

 

Will Barron:

And then… I’m going to say it again. I got pushed onto… at this point now, everyone’s happy. I thought the deal was done. And I got pushed onto a procurement officer. And even the word pushed then is almost a negative word to be put on them. The first thing that I noticed in the initial questionnaire that they sent over, which is all automated, it seems to be a lot of questions trying to suss out whether I’m going to be around in two years or not. Clearly, this is a small company. There’s no employees, it’s all freelancers that I hire, and on that front, and it almost seems that… and with a conversation, I’ll be able to explain the longevity of what we’re doing and where we’ve come and where we’re going and all that good stuff, but on a series of questions, it is very difficult to put across that.

 

How to Negotiate with Procurement and Win the Deal · [05:42] 

 

Will Barron:

So this kind of outlines what you’re describing here, Ray, of, they want to mitigate risk, and they’re there to help the company. And there’s, there’s more things going on than just the price, which is one… I wanted to kind of unpack with that anecdote. So if there’s more to it than price, and we’ve asked the question of what’s a win for you, how can we make this a seamless kind of partnership, I think it was the word that you used, what are they then going to do to negotiate with us? Because it’s been my experience that by the time I get to procurement, I thought I’d done all the negotiating. And then it seems to start all over again.

 

Ray Makela:

Right. And it’s not to say that even if we ask these questions that it’s going to be smooth sailing. Or that they don’t have an objective still to drive the best deal for the company. So they’re probably still going to get down to cost discussions, terms and conditions of the contract. So we need to be prepared for that. I think what treating procurement as a partner and a stakeholder does is, hopefully we can get in front of those things. So I like to make sure we’re asking those questions of our sponsor very early on, Hey, can you introduce us to procurement? Can you tell us what role they’ll have in this opportunity and what decision factors or what criteria they’re going to be using so that maybe we can have some of those discussions in advance and say, oh no, we already discussed that… this is what we agreed to.

 

“The last thing procurement wants is to have to go back to the business stakeholder and tell them they blew up their deal. If the business stakeholder really wants to get the deal done, and then procurement has to say, “well, we couldn’t get to an agreement,” now they have to go back to ground zero and go through all of that again and they don’t want to do that.” – Ray Makela · [07:09] 

 

Ray Makela:

Because here’s the flip side of that. The last thing procurement wants is to have to go back to the business stakeholder and tell them they blew up their deal. If the business owner or stakeholder really wants to get the deal done, and then procurement has to say, well, we couldn’t get to an agreement, now they have to go back to ground zero and go through all of that again, or go to their second tier partner and they don’t want to do that. So the more we can get that air cover, the support from the sponsor, and also understand what those criteria are going to be, I think the better off we’ll be. Again, not to say that it’s easy.

 

Questions that Uncover How Procurement Makes Their Decisions · [07:45] 

 

Will Barron:

What questions should we be asking to very specifically understand the criteria that they’re working against… and two parts to this, is that criteria a bulleted list that for 99% of business that they’re dealing with is the same, or is this a negotiation… is this a conversation or are we working against kind of a checklist?

 

Ray Makela:

I think it really depends on the size and the maturity of the organisation and how large of a role procurement plays in that. Sometimes it is just a matter of checking off… they want to make sure that you’re a real company and that you have some insurance capabilities in place to cover any issues that may come up. But I think that’s, again, why we need to ask early, can you help us understand the decision criteria? Can you help us understand if there is a scorecard, what is it? And I think the most sophisticated, and kind of taking it all the way to tender and RFP type situation, that they may give you every criteria with a weighting, even… we’re going to give 50 points for this and 30 points for that. Well, great. Now we know, at least, how they’re going to be calculated, but oftentimes when we ask that question, what our sponsor will say is, well, that’s a really good question. We haven’t thought about that.

 

Ray Makela:

And I think, you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet you haven’t really thought about how you’re going to choose your partner. They’re just, at the end of the day, going to go with who they feel better about, or at least they haven’t formalised that criteria. So I think, again, asking that early so that maybe we can help shape that criteria. We have a list that we provide. If we get that response and say, well, here are six or seven things that we typically find are important when our clients are choosing a provider like us, these might be helpful for you, and we know how to respond to those. So that’s helpful as well, right, getting ahead of the game a little bit.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve used this example on the show before, but I’ll use it again, just because it’s so simple and seamless, but in my medical device role, we won a tonne of business on getting in early, getting the surgeon, the end user, on board, and then getting the procurement team on board and getting them to set up the RFB, the tender… because most of these deals were the NHS and UK, I think is over 80 grand, they have go to tender on paper, technically, even though it’s a wash, we know that we’re always going to win, because we would set up the tender principles on the back of our product.

 

Will Barron:

There was… all the nerds listening to this, will understand this. Most people who are not nerds may not, but there’s two different types of monitor technology. There’s progressive and there’s interlaced. One progressive… so you hear 10 ATP or 4k… it’s all progressive, now. At the time, the competitors were using an interlaced technology. There’s reasons why with the technology that was in the end of the endoscope. It could transfer data quicker and there’s better refresh rates. And there plus and minuses for both sides… really didn’t matter.

 

Why You Need to Satisfy Procurement’s Needs Early on in the Deal · [10:54] 

 

Will Barron:

But we always put it in our… when we helped procurement teams put together the tender process, we always make sure that there was a good old P in the description of the product and just locked people out. But for context for the audience now, what does getting in the early with procurement look like? Is this… we prospect, their qualified, we ask them what their sales process is. And then we get procurement involved? Do we do a demo and then get procurement involved? When you say early Ray, what does that look like for a complex B2B sale?

 

Ray Makela:

I think it really depends again, obviously, on the size of the deal and how long this whole process is going to take. I think at the part that we’re investing resources, doing a demo, maybe we’re doing somewhat of a customised solution, we’re there into the finalists, I think there we need to start asking those questions. I think what often happens is we wait until they love the demo. They like our proposal. They’re really happy with us. We go into that mysterious stage called negotiate agreement or whatever you call it in your Salesforce, right? And then we’re surprised because there’s this six week or six month process to hammer out the agreement. That’s too late. So yeah, I think once we’re engaged… we’ve qualified, we’ve identified that it’s worth expending resources of the organisation to chase this deal. We should start thinking about procurement at that point.

 

Common Negotiation Techniques Used By Procurement · [12:09] 

 

Will Barron:

So I want to turn this on its head slightly at the moment, because what we’re doing here is setting up the ideal scenario where the procurement person is a complete legend. We’ve got on really well with them. We’ve got access to them. We can ask them questions. They sudden answer the questions. That’s the first hurdle, to hear back from these individuals. And they tell us what we need to hear. We translate all our contents into content they can put into the RFPs that they can put into their tender processes, we win the deal, everyone’s happy. Clearly this is not the case 80, 90, 100% of the time. What do we do when… say that we’ve done a demo… I think this is a good place to kind of jump into a real life scenario here, we’ve done the demo. The end user loves it. Perhaps the decision maker, the buyer, the person who technically has the budget, likes it. We’re now engaging.

 

Will Barron:

And I use… you can use the word then, negotiating with procurement and it’s becoming a pain. We feel like they’re trying to trick us, manipulate us. There’s things that they’re making us do, which we perhaps don’t think is necessary, what are the tactics they’re using? If we were listening to a procurement podcast, what tactics would they be using on what it was, to trying to get the best deal and screw us down to get the best kind of deal, service, and contract for their organisation?

 

Ray Makela:

Right. And I think that is a great question to ask because we should think like that procurement person. We should, again, try to think about, they’re doing a job. They’re they’re not bad people. They’re fulfilling a role, but they are teaching and learning these tactics to get the best deal possible. And it will include things like they want to control and commoditize the responses. So they want to take all that effort we’ve done to create this beautiful value proposition and say, no, no, no, just tell us cost per widget, or cost per hour or whatever that turns out to be. And you put us on a spreadsheet and then often what happens is it ends up being an apples to oranges comparison because saying, well, we can get this overseas for half the price. Well, but that’s not the same solution.

 

Ray Makela:

So we should just anticipate that’s going to happen. And one of the things to respond to that is, we need to work really hard… and so this is going to go back upstream, but really hard with our sponsors, and ideally with our coaches, if we have an internal advocate that maybe is giving us access to information, maybe they’re providing support for us, they’ll even review our proposals. Those people can be invaluable. So we want to work with them to say, no, this package is unique. And so you can’t compare us with an offshore solution or some other commoditized offering because this is what the business needs. And, in fact, it wouldn’t be a good business decision to go with a… either break it up into parts, or go with a commoditized… because this is going to provide the best return on investment.

 

Ray Makela:

So when we teach value selling, we teach actually quantifying the value and being able to present that and say, no, let’s talk about what this is going to do for your business. This has such a better ROI. Let’s not get into the details to break it up. But the value of this solution is that much more compelling. The better we can do doing that, now we have air cover and I’ve had cases where procurements going down this path and we call our sponsor up and say we’re getting a lot of pushback. This is getting really difficult. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to get this deal done. And the sponsor comes in and says, look, we want this deal. And kind of smooths things over. So we may need to have… and the better we can develop those executive sponsorships, obviously the better they’re going to help to get the deal done.

 

How to Get Your Sponsor and Procurement Operating Under the Same Wavelength · [15:47] 

 

Will Barron:

I’ve very literally had that happen of… imagine big burley, Yorkshire, plays rugby, surgeon… one of the best colorectal surgeons in the country, if not in the world, in his scrubs, in his clogs or whatever you call them, the rubber shoes that you wear in theatres, throwing his jacket on and marching over to procurement, banging on this dude’s door, with me in tow. And I’ve like… I’m in a suit looking kind of sheepish behind him, dragged me into the room and demanding that this procurement officer kind of changed his ways and thoughts and opinions on things. And it wasn’t that I was doing particularly anything exciting with the selling, it was the product was more efficient and better for patient safety. And so he wanted to spend that little bit more to get the more up to date product.

 

Will Barron:

And again, it wasn’t nothing special that I was putting across, or messaging that I was sharing with him, and this is what I want to dive into on this of what do we need to do to get the advocate, the sponsor… how do we coach them to be able to engage with procurement and put their points across, if that makes sense. What do we need to… do we need to give them a spreadsheet of, this is the quantified value of the product versus the competition. This is why we need to use it. How do we coach them to do a better job, because clearly they’re probably not as good a sales person as what we are.

 

Ray Makela:

And it is true that trying to have somebody else sell for you is always a little bit unnerving. But this is interesting where even though we’re talking about the end of the sales cycle, kind of negotiation and closing, but it goes all the way back upstream in our sales process. The better job we can do, asking questions to uncover the sponsor’s real challenges, and the impact of those problems, and how our solution is going to provide unique value, we can arm them with that information. And so even though you were kind of downplaying your role in your example saying, well, it was the product. It wasn’t really me. No, you had created a preference in that doctor’s mind about why you were the best solution for what they wanted. And obviously he was a strong advocate of that.

 

Ray Makela:

So I think we need to really work hard to develop those win themes. Here are these two or three things that our solution is unique, and reiterate that. Maybe we bulletize it. Maybe we put it in an email or a presentation so that they can go and say, well, no, you can’t compare it with this other solution because that’s an apples to oranges, and we only need apples here. So I think that can be really helpful. And being able to create that advocate because they have a strong preference for what it is we’re offering,

 

Effective Sales Negotiations Tactics to Use with Procurement · [18:29] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes sense. So super practically for the audience, they need two free bullet points that separate them from the competition. And most of us will know who our competition is at this point of doing demos, having conversations, being physically in an account or on the phone. So it’s just two or three bullet points that we say, this is why we’re different. Hint, hint, if you need to have a conversation and you’re on board was, this is how you need to kind of pitch it. What do we do then… because I’ve had this happen as well, when we are perhaps, again, towards the end of what we originally conceived as the buying process. And then the procurement team says, okay, great. Now, no more speaking to your advocate, no more speaking to your sponsor, no more going into the account, no more phone calls, we’ll take it from here, Will. We’ll sort the rest of it out. What do we do in that scenario, because clearly we don’t want to lose control out of information, things going back and forth and people’s opinions, if we don’t have to.

 

Ray Makela:

Right. No. And again, I think we should anticipate that that’s going to happen. And that is procurement wants to control and really take any… well, they want to prevent what we were just talking about from happening, right, which is they get overridden or they have other influencers. So that’s again, partly why I want to understand when that may happen or if that’s going to happen. Certainly in more of a government or public sector, that’s more likely, and they’re going to say this is the sole point of contact. And if you go outside of that there are repercussions, whatever that may be. So I think that’s why it’s so important before that happens to make sure we create that preference, do everything we can.

 

Ray Makela:

And then there’s a school of thought that says, we need to assess what is the risk and the trade of if we break some of those rules? And I want to be careful and sensitive to that, but the worst case is they say, Hey, don’t do that. We told you not to. They may say, we’ve forbidden you from bidding or you’re blacklisted. And obviously that would be severe, but if we’re going to lose the deal we may need to consider that. So I think, is that a suggestion or a guideline? Is it an absolute strict… this is a elimination criteria, if you break that rule. I think we really need to understand kind of how strong that is.

 

Ray Makela:

And then oftentimes… and I’ve had this case where procurement will say that. And then the sponsor’s calling me and saying, no, you need to get back down there. And we need this deal to go through. And so they don’t care that… what does the sponsor want? They want the best solution for their business. They sometimes don’t really care about the procurement rules because that tends to bog things down. And also maybe they don’t get what they want.

 

How to Work With Procurement and Win the Deal From Your Competitors · [21:20] 

 

Will Barron:

I want to again, flip this on its head. And I wasn’t planning on talking about this, but as we talk about it, it seems like there might be an opportunity here to leverage procurement from another perspective. What do we do… and I want to choose my words carefully here. And I don’t mean there’s anything ethically wrong with this, but what do we do when perhaps… well, we’ll phrase it, this, we’re a close number two to the number one that the decision maker actually wants. Is there any way that we can work with procurement to become the number one or to become the defacto or to become the solution that ends up getting implemented? And I guess a follow up to that is, or is that always a bad idea because you’re not going to have a customer that wants you and you’re never going to have a strong relationship with that customer if they wanted someone else.

 

Ray Makela:

I mean, I think, again, in most situations the sponsor will end up going… they realise procurement’s there, it’s forming a function, they’re doing what they’re doing and there’s this kind of give and take. And if the solutions are adequate, they’re both going to fulfil the purpose, then at some point yeah, they may step out of it or not have as much say. So I think again, that’s where it may become that procurement’s more of an advocate for our solution because we get in there and say, no, actually our terms and conditions are more flexible. We run into that with licence deals for our curriculum. We look at this a little different than some of the other players in the industry. And we’re willing to be a little bit more flexible because we realise people want the content internally.

 

Ray Makela:

So all of a sudden they’re, oh no, this partner is actually easier to work with and is fulfilling a larger, maybe, purpose or partnership with the organisation. So I think that yeah, that’s an interesting opportunity provided we’re a close second. And that if procurement says, no, we looked at these and we’re recommending, or we’ve decided to go with this partner, then we’re in that position and we’ve got to go build that relationship with the sponsor.

 

Earn the Right to Negotiate with Procurement and Develop Strategic Partnerships · [23:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Because it could be the scenario where you are second… as you described, you’re second in the mind of the end user, but they’re not really bothered. Perhaps it’s a utility, perhaps it’s something that they’re not really that interested in implementing anyway, or they are interested in implementing it, but it is genuinely commoditized, no matter kind of what we tell ourselves about the product. Maybe it is a genuine commodity, maybe it’s electricity supply or whatever go into the building itself and procurement is ranking goes above them. What can we do then, in that scenario, just to cover our bases here? How can we give procurement ammunition then to go to the end user and get us on board? What do we need to do to reverse engineer from the other direction?

 

Ray Makela:

So… and this may go back to kind of, and you talked about before, fundamentals or making it really practical, but one thing, and I learned this very, very early on in my consulting days, working in a government consulting practise of, we need to read the RFP as if it’s a legal document, and really it is, setting up for a legal document, but I think sometimes we look at it and we kind of answer it the way that we want to, versus I think we can actually win points and get ahead by being absolutely compliant with the structure, the format, what they’re saying.

 

Ray Makela:

And so I think one of the things is we can just prove that we’re going to be easier and better to work with in the way that we respond. And one of the ways that comes up often is, sometimes the RFPs, frankly, aren’t very well written or aren’t very easy to follow, but if they give us five sections to respond to, we ought to format our response in five sections and make sure that we call out, this is responding to this section and make it very easy for them to evaluate our response.

 

Ray Makela:

And at the end of the day say, well, we understand what these guys are offering and that we think they’re going to be easier to work with. The same with terms and conditions… if we start taking exceptions to a lot of Ts and CS, then when it comes to actually getting the agreement done… now, I mean, we need to protect our business and we need to do obviously what’s right, but they’re going to think, wow, these guys are a little difficult to work with or they have a little arrogance and that’s not the kind of partner we want. So I think we can earn that right with procurement, just like we do with our stakeholders.

 

Selling to Procurement: How to Get to Yes Faster · [26:09] 

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense. I love that phrase, earning the right. And that’s something that we take for granted sometimes. And probably because we’re just selling constantly, constantly, constantly. We perhaps take for granted the fact that, you meet someone new, they don’t know you, and they’re not probably, maybe not as used to going through the prospects, the calls, the emails as quickly as what we do as sales professionals. So taking a moment to earn that right, I think, is really important and probably a topic for a whole nother show in the future, Ray. One final thing I want to ask you here to wrap up and this could end up in 20 questions on the back of it… so what does it look like then to partner with, and you’ve used that word kind of throughout this conversation, a procurement team who aren’t the baddies, they’ve got a job to do, how do we partner with them and make their lives easier and more successful?

 

Ray Makela:

Right. Well, it’s a great kind of wrapping this all together, because we kind of started with that, asking the question when do they get involved? What do they care about? And I think understanding their motivation, understanding, even if we can, their objectives… what are they measured by? And sometimes maybe an internal advocate or coach can share with that. Oh yeah, they have this big drive to drive out cost or to show return on investment. Well, great. Let’s help them show return on investment. And if we can do that, now we’ve made their job easier. So let’s provide those calculations.

 

Ray Makela:

I think at the core of it is, if we can understand what drives their internal procurement… and what I was mentioning is, a lot of times they’ll publish that in a document, it’ll be kind of a charter or rules of engagement of how to work with procurement within this organisation. I would ask for that and sometimes we’ll get a blank stare like you want what? Sometimes there’s a website that says here’s exactly what we expect from our partners and our vendors. And so that’s a great thing to then be able to go back and say, oh, well I was doing some research. I read this. Here’s what it said, your objectives were. Here’s how we’re meeting those objectives. Now we’ve just kind of changed the way we’re engaging. We are taking a more partnership approach than just waiting for them to volley the ball over the net and then we have to hit it back and then they volley it again. Right now we understand a lot more about how the game’s being played.

 

Will Barron:

It makes total sense. And I’ve touched on this in the podcast before, so we won’t go deeply into it, but we do a lot of work with HubSpot and they have a whole bunch of documents on their site of corporate culture that they like, to interacting with what they expect from their partners, all the stuff that if I was smart and I’d already listened to this show kind of a year ago, when we started working with them, I would’ve Googled this. And it’s literally the bottom of the page. You can’t go wrong and you can’t miss it. I didn’t know any of this. I didn’t look into it. Didn’t research it. And it was pure coincidence that when I was dealing with one of the VPs, he was, this is a total great fit. I’m really glad that you’ve worded your email this way and that you’ve done this and done that. And it was total fluke.

 

Parting Thoughts · [28:57] 

 

Will Barron:

In hindsight, looking back, that would’ve been the really smart thing to do because there was very specific language in the… and it was essentially everything that we were doing. It’s everything that goes along with the ethos of this show. There’s nothing weird going on with this. It’s practical advice and that’s what they were looking for in the content partners. And so it was a great fit, but yeah, it could have been a better fit if I’d have realised this and done that little bit of research before. So there’s a blunder from me that the audience can learn from. And with that, Ray, let’s wrap it up, mate. I know you’ve got something that’s going to be really valuable for the audience. Tell us a little bit about your high impact sales coaching programme, the video series that you’re doing. And then tell us more about the Sales Readiness Group, as well.

 

Ray Makela:

Yeah, I agree. And I appreciate the opportunity to do that because even though we teach selling skills and negotiation and value selling, none of those will be successful without the coaching and reinforcement to really ensure that the behaviours change and ensure the training sticks. And that’s the biggest challenge for any sales training organisation, is how do you get people to actually do things differently? So one of the things that we’ve done, we published a high impact sales manager, available a couple years ago, and now that’s the basis for our sales management programme. We’ve taken the core programme for sales coaching, and we’re now delivering that as a series of videos. It’s an on-demand programme that includes worksheets and a workbook and interactions. And then once a week we’ll have a coaching session where they can kind of come in and ask the expert about how to apply those skills.

 

Ray Makela:

And so we’re kicking one of those sessions off every month. The next one starts June 15th and it’s exciting because it’s a new product for us. It allows many more people to get access to that curriculum that we typically deliver in the classroom. And we’re just excited to be able to offer those types of programmes, to reach an audience that maybe we wouldn’t have in the past. And the feedback’s just been fantastic from the groups going through those sessions.

 

Will Barron:

And where can we find it, Ray?

 

Ray Makela:

So on our website Sales Readiness Group… I’ll send you a link, as well. There’s a landing page. You can either sign up there or if you have a larger group, we’ll do a private sessions for you, using the videos as the backdrop and facilitate those. So on Sales Readiness Group.com and there’s a high impact sales coaching video link there.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well, I’ll link to that in the show to this episode over at salesman.org. And with that Ray, thanks again for your time mate. It was super practical. Hopefully with some of your anecdotes, which are kind of better success stories than what my anecdotes were… there’s some storytelling for the audience to take on board and embrace, as well. And without mate, I want to thank you, as always, for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Ray Makela:

Well, thank you very much again for having me. It’s always a pleasure and look forward to continuing the discussions, Will.

 

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