The Most Important Thing to Know in Sales

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 16, 2010 4:55:21 AM

Anyone who has heard me speak knows that I believe business acumen is the most important capability for a successful selling.  One of my goals in writing this blog is to support the development of business acumen in the sales process.

I started reading the book Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal.  I found the title interesting because I often advise executives to "seek the white space." I'll provide a more detailed review of the book when I've finished reading it.  However, regardless of the rest of the book, Chapter 2, The Four-Box Business Model Framework, is must read for everyone.

Mark Johnson provides one of the simplest and powerful descriptions of what a business model is, how to understand it, and how to affect it.  Looking briefly at the four elements from the four box business model, they are:

Customer Value Proposition (CVP) – An offering that helps customers more effectively, reliably, conveniently, or affordably solve an important problem (or satisfy a job-to-be-done) at a given price.

Profit Formula – The economic blueprint that defines how the company will create value for itself and its shareholders. It specifies the assets and fixed cost structure, as well as the margins and velocity required to cover them.

Key Resources – The unique people, technology, products, facilities, equipment, funding, and brand required to deliver the value proposition to customers.

Key Processes – The means by which a company delivers on the customer value proposition in a sustainable, repeatable, scalable, and manageable way.

Understanding your customer/prospect's business model is critical - I repeat CRITICAL - to becoming indispensable.  If you don't understand, you cannot make The Shift to selling results, and you'll find your company, your offerings, and your sales efforts increasingly marginalized.

When you do understand their business model, you can begin to answer important questions like:

    1. Which boxes do we impact?

    1. How do we impact them?

    1. How will our customers business model improve as a result of our impact?

    1. What is that worth?

With those answers in place, your customers will be far more interested in talking with you and far more open to sharing their needs with you.

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching, Demand Generation