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C-Suite Chats With Christian Valiulis, May 2019
Each month, members of the Forbes Business Development Council come together for Q&A sessions about relevant, important topics in the business world. The council recently touched on crafting a winning sales pitch to overcoming sales territory challenges. Here’s what Christian Valiulis, our very own CRO and member had to say:
No two companies are alike, so your pitches to them won’t be either — especially when you need to convey business value and alignment to a potential partner. What’s your top tip for developing a winning pitch that’s tailored to a specific partner?
Christian: Keep Asking Questions
When developing a personalized pitch for a potential partner, start with the Socratic method to grasp a complete understanding of the partner’s core interests. Ask the basic questions, then move into second and third-level questions to uncover the potential partner’s financial, people, and business interests. Use the knowledge to create a pitch that aligns with the partner’s business philosophy.
Not only do you need to build a rememberable sales pitch, but you also need to craft a pitch that will interest your audience. No prospect is going to take your pitch seriously if your message isn’t specific to their company. Learn how to craft a winning pitch from the Forbes Business Development Council: Want A Winning Sales Pitch? 10 Ways To Tailor It To Your Audience.
Technology is shaping the landscape of every industry, and sales is no different, especially with the introduction of AI. But AI programs alone may not deliver consistently better results for sales teams; leaders need to implement the right AI strategy, from leveraging the right data to providing proper training. How can leaders ensure their teams use AI effectively to achieve better outcomes and drive decision-making?
Christian: Run A Pilot Program
Start with a small, select pilot group of reps to climb the learning curve of adoption and effective utilization of the AI system. This will enable the company to figure out the best way to roll it out and make sure it’s used successfully in a safe environment. With a proven model in place, other reps will be more receptive and less skeptical that the system is a half-baked idea.
When it comes to implementing a new AI program, getting employees to adopt the technology is half the battle. From running a pilot program to monitoring your results in real time, read more from the Forbes Business Development Council in Improve Your Business Development Efforts With A Strong AI Strategy.
Standing out online in a sea of businesses can be challenging. What’s your No. 1 marketing strategy for catching and keeping customers’ attention on social media, and why is it so effective?
Christian: Encourage Person-To-Person Interactions
Have your employees be your biggest advocates on social media. We’ve implemented this strategy and have seen over a 200% increase in our social media presence because of our employee advocacy program. These programs work because people trust other people more than they trust corporations. Besides, your employees can reach an entirely different audience than yours through a single share.
Now more than ever, businesses are turning to social media to earn and keep loyal customers. Social media has become a key strategy in marketing plans, and businesses can lose out on reaching prospects if they stick to traditional marketing tactics. Learn more social media strategies from the Forbes Business Council in Six Social Media Strategies To Help You Catch And Keep Customers’ Attention.
What strategies do you use to organize and optimize sales territories for your sales team to overcome common challenges like fairness, oversaturation, and regional market fluctuations?
Christian: Maintain The ‘Hunting’ Mindset
You need to flip the script when it comes to assigning reps to territories, or else you risk them resting on their laurels. Provide new, fresh leads by creating territories around accounts so your hunters keep the hunting mentality. This way, reps won’t be entitled to an opportunity just because it’s within their area code; they’ll have to keep hustling to progress and evolve in their role.
Dividing territories among your sales team can be challenging, especially when you’re assigning territories that have been overworked, oversaturated, or have limited prospects. Overcome these common territory challenges with the Forbes Business Development Council in Six Tips For Overcoming Common Sales Territory Challenges.
Oftentimes, we know what our larger business goals are, but we aren’t sure what steps we need to take to get there. What first step do you take to align your business development efforts with your long-term business goals — whether those goals involve improving customer retention, adopting a customer-first approach, or expanding overseas – and why is this step important?
Christian: Lay Your Groundwork
The first step to align your business development efforts with long-term business goals is assessing your company’s resources and the ability to execute. You’ll need to determine the impact and needs of the goal to ensure departments can support the business objective in their fullest capacity. Lay the groundwork so your efforts don’t crumble like a house of cards.
The toughest part of planning long-term goals is deciding what business practices need to be in place to reach those goals. From laying the groundwork to starting with consumer data read more from the Forbes Business Development Council on aligning current business practices with long-term goals in 10 Key Steps To Align Current Business Practices With Long-Term Goals.
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About Christian Valiulis
Chief Revenue Officer Christian Valiulis at APS is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. As a national human capital management and full-service payroll processing company, APSdelivers a unified cloud solution backed by guaranteed payroll tax compliance services. Christian oversees marketing and sales, channel partnerships, and strategic product and service alliances. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with his most recent publications.