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C-SUITE CHATS WITH CHRISTIAN VALIULIS, JULY 2018
Our very own CRO, Christian Valiulis, is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Once a month, these members come together for Q& A sessions about relevant, important topics in the business world. The council recently touched on topics surrounding sales strategy for businesses of all sizes, productivity, and handling customer objections. Here’s what Christian had to say:
Medium-level sales are what keep your business pumping, but it can be easy to treat them like they’re smaller or bigger than they really are. What sales process do you use to sell to medium-level clients, and how do you ensure that they are differentiated from their smaller or larger peers?
Christian: Find The Balance
When it comes to medium-level businesses, you must acknowledge the velocity of the deal. Mid-sized businesses are extremely time and resource-sensitive, and your sales process must be reactive to this mindset. Only through an intense discovery process can you identify what the internal balance of time and resources is for them, and the opportunities for your product to help balance the two.
Dealing with mid-sized businesses can be tricky: they have more resources than smaller companies, but they have more bureaucratic freedom than large corporations. Mastering the blend of service and attention is vital to keeping mid-sized clients happy. Here’s some advice from members of the Forbes Business Development Council: Sales Pros Share Their Best Tips For Managing Mid-Size Business Clients.
Small clients are a crucial part of every sales organization, even if they aren’t the most glamourous clients. When you’re selling to a small client, what process do you use, and why does it differ from the processes you use with larger clients?
Christian: Use Time-Based Closing Techniques
In my experience, smaller clients tend to be more price-sensitive than larger ones. Smaller clients are also more open to incentives on the front end, allowing for more effective time-based closing techniques. By offering specialized pricing that’s based on a time limit (i.e. the first month is free, but only if you sign by the end of next week), you can be more aggressive with the sale.
Don’t forget the little guy! Never underestimate the attention your smaller clients need. When the market gets lean, these are the clients that will carry you through. Read what the Forbes Business Development Council has to say about dealing with smaller clients here: 11 Effective Tips for Selling to Smaller Clients.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t allow Powerpoint in meetings and instead insists that everyone read memos that are several pages long before beginning discussions. What’s one leadership technique you use to make meetings more productive?
Christian: Avoid Groupthink
During meetings, I like to pass the baton to different personalities in order to deter groupthink. I also assign contrarians to bring up counterpoints as a way to look at issues from multiple angles. This way, instead of just agreeing with the group, a healthy debate can be started where people see and think about other viewpoints that may have normally gone against their natural thought processes.
We’ve all had the thought, “This meeting could’ve been an email.” Unproductive meetings are one of the most irritating things in the world, and anyone who has ever been in one will agree. Here are 12 Smart Techniques to Make Meetings More Productive from the Forbes Business Development Council.
Closing a sale with a large client can be a huge win, one that bolsters the entire company. Large clients often require more careful attention than smaller customers. Given that, what sales process do you use to make sure that large clients are given everything that they need?
Christian: Build A Requirements Roadmap
The sales process with larger clients can be lengthy and leaves room for client anxiety. Avoid this by having your rep build a requirements roadmap with the champion of the deal. Outline what’s going to happen at different points in the process, the number of demos that will take place, and which players need to be involved at each stop. This way, there are no surprises for either party involved.
With larger clients, they need a different strategy in order to successfully keep them happy. These guys are usually your largest source of revenue, but they have more needs then your smaller-sized clients. Here are a few suggestions from the Forbes Business Development Council on how to make sure your larger clients get the attention that they need: Nine Ways To Make Sure Your Large Clients Get The Attention They Need.
Every business handles difficult situations with customers differently. What’s your best advice for handling customer objections without losing the customer in the process?
Christian: Follow The Light
Bring every objection back to the goal you initially created with your client during the sales process. This goal is the common ground with your client, it’s the guiding light of your relationship with them. Should the relationship ever go off-course, this goal will be the benchmark to measure the issue against. Determine if the issue helps or hinders their objective and act accordingly.
Most customers don’t voice their complaints, so it can be difficult when they’re entirely fed up to keep them on as a client. The key to client happiness is in the way you handle their objections. See how members of the Forbes Business Development council handle customer objections: 13 Useful Tips on how to Handle Customer Objections Efficiently.
About Forbes Business Development Council:
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.
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