How To Take Your Sales Meeting Beyond A Standard Pitch?

Value-based selling

How to deliver more value when selling?

When was the last time you enjoyed a sales meeting? What was so special about it?

Here’s my confession: in most cases, when I’m being sold to, I don’t enjoy it.

Every time, I approach it with a positive mindset. I hope to get inspired. Learn something new.

And typically, the person who is on the other side of the table ruins it early in the meeting by following the same old script.

Key points:

  • What’s the problem with sales pitches?
  • How can selling be improved?
  • How to focus on delivering value in selling?

Have you ever had a similar experience? Maybe you’ve entered a sales meeting expecting to be amazed, but instead were met with product slide decks and a general “close it” attitude?

Something’s got to change

This is the reason why sales get a lot of bad press. Why they’re the “necessary evil” for people who don’t want to be sold to (or at least not at this moment). Vendor employees, except for a few, don’t want to sell. And yet, nearly every business book states how critical sales are to individual and company’s success.

After 20 years in the industry, I can tell you one thing: everybody sells!

Yes, even if you are not in a sales position. You are selling. Every day. To your management, your boss, even your family. You might not be selling a product but rather an opinion, idea, or belief.

When approached the right way, even a sales meeting can be a valuable learning opportunity, enjoyed by both sides. How? Let’s talk about it.

What I talk about when I talk about selling1

I’m an introvert at heart. I prefer doing over talking. Based on that you can probably tell what my experience with selling felt like. I didn’t enjoy it.

Over the years, as I got more experienced and had more impact on the world and the people around me, my understanding of sales has changed.

I learned that as a leader, it is my job to get others to move in the same direction. And it is the same in the sales process.

Sales is about moving people and organizations to where they would like to be if they weren’t afraid to take the leap forward.

Focus on partnerships

It’s not about closing the deal or taking advantage of one side of the table. It’s about influencing, guidance, and sparking that fire to act. The sales process is a way to limit the risk and build trust between people working together.

Defined this way, I believe everybody sells. When you lead, recruit, manage people or projects, you sell people on your ideas and way of doing things.

Doing sales understood like this requires one crucial element: being able to define your goal if you decide to act!

The core of the sales process

We want to help people and organizations get to a place where they become self-managed and focus on meaningful work. We aim to leave you with a working solution that helps you achieve it. A solution you can support, improve, and build on further by yourself if we are not around.

We don’t support vendor lock-in or long-term binding contracts that give you no flexibility. It’s a no-go in the fast-changing technology world. We fulfill our mission by delivering reliable services on Microsoft cloud.

The keyword is reliability

From my experience and observation, people are afraid of participating in the sales process because of its unpredictable outcome. I am sure that at some point in time, you found out that what you received was not exactly what you thought you were getting. And the difference was somewhere in the fine print on the box or in the agreement.

“Reliable” for us means – no fine print!

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Value-based selling from a business perspective

We found that in the sales process, there are 3 things that provide real value:

  • Top-notch proposals with project objectives, scope of work, timeline
  • Repeatable project and service delivery model
  • Strong company culture based on extreme ownership and attention to detail.

We do sell! The difference is in the “HOW”, not the “WHAT”!

I often get asked by people, how do we sell?

My short answer is – we don’t. Not in the typical sense. We have no dedicated enterprise sales staff, no sales quota nor targets.

We keep an ambition to grow 30-50% annually. Some people consider it slow. For us, this is good enough! If we don’t grow at this rate, we won’t despair. We have more than one metric to define success at our company. Sales numbers are just one of them.

But this is not a fairy tale. Revenue must come from somewhere. For us, it’s mainly 4 channels.

Returning clients

Existing clients return for more services (THANK YOU! We really appreciate it and we are humbled every time you do it). This amounts to about 50% of our revenue stream.

Networking

Every single person from 250+ people at Predica is the bridge between potential clients and the company. We make sure every employee understands what we do and why. When the moment comes, Magda, our HR business partner, can pitch our value proposition.

Partners

Partners like Microsoft are also a key part of the process. Everyone needs reliable partners who help their clients achieve success on Microsoft cloud. We are with Microsoft in every country we work in.

Marketing

This is how you can hear about us and what we do. We make it valuable and share what we believe contributes to others’ success (even this post). Our audience (just like you) use our content to solve their problems. When what they need goes beyond what they can find on the web, sometimes they reach out to us.

How to deliver value in business sales?

There are several principles that you can follow to make the sales process a useful and meaningful experience for both sides.

Being reliable

Our mantra of “quality, not quantity” comes in handy for each of these channels. Without reliable, high-quality services, our growth would never happen.

Trying to be a jack of all trades, we would most likely end up with a bigger volume of our revenue. We choose to be smaller but doing it in a way that has value for clients and for us.

Keeping things simple

On the outside, during this entire process, you deal with Predica. Inside, it is more complex. 4 different parts of our organization are involved in the project lifecycle.

Predica project lifecycle

Our 4-stage project lifecycle

Here is where our culture of extreme ownership steps in. Would you enjoy being connected to different departments and lines of support when all you wanted was for your problem to be solved?

From the client point of view, we always function as a single organization. No “another department”. No “let me connect you to my colleague”. It is you and us. And an attempt to check if we can take a leap forward together.

What if it doesn’t work?

Success doesn’t always materialize. We’ve had countless clients dropping out at any one stage without spending a single $ with us. Again, that’s fine. They did not need our help at that point in time, because they were not ready to start the project, chose a different company, or decided to do it themselves.

We weren’t the best partner at that point in their journey – because of the size or skillset. Either way, they will remember the experience of engaging with us in that process. It still counts!

Project experience is key!

Our consulting team’s knowledge is instrumental in meeting client needs. Each and every one of our consultants knows their field from practical experience. They are not a typical sales department.

They drive this process, but their goal is to make sure there is a match between the client, their need, and our capabilities to deliver the solution in a reliable way. We do everything we can to make sure they have open minds, lots of knowledge, experience, and tools to advise clients and, subsequently, often lead projects for them.

How to take your sales process a step further?

We don’t buy into the classical enterprise sales model that relies mainly on relationship building and pushing your own products. It is what made most of us stop enjoying sales meetings. We believe in doing the work together with the client first.

During the project, very often great, long-lasting relationships build naturally. If you start working with us, you will experience it first-hand from one of our Digital Advisors or Project Owners.

Want to learn more about improving your sales process? View our brochure!

6 steps to a better sales process - click to view!

Click the image to read and download our brochure!

What are your thoughts?

Is our approach the only right one? Do we think it is the best one? Far from it. What we know is that it works for our clients and for us. It took us to where we are now, and it looks like it will fuel our efforts for years to come.

This process is not static. It evolves. I’ve seen many companies doing it differently. There are many ways to make it right. If we share these ways, we might bring curiosity and enjoyment to sales meetings again.

I think it is worth a try! Do you? The way forward is to share our approaches, the moments we enjoy, and the moments we hate in the sales part. What works for you, what do you like and what would you ask the next salesperson to do or not to do when meeting with you?

I invite you to reflect on how you and your organization are selling and share your thoughts!

Key takeaways:
  1. The traditional approach to selling might have run its course. You use negotiation and persuasion in many roles in your life – use this experience and get creative.
  2. Remember that sales is a two-way process, and it has to be based on trust and cooperation.
  3. Don’t follow the traditional sales model. Instead, start out by working together with your client or customer towards a solution.

1 Inspired by the book by Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running