Massimiliano Picchi

by | Dec 10, 2018

4 key points to design a striking sales system from scratch.

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Wanna win your customers’ heart? Listen to them.

Most people think that the purpose of sales is selling: reasonable, but wrong! 
Selling something is indeed always a consequence. The purpose of sales is to find solutions to the needs and problems of customers and partners. 
It may seem trivial, but usually we start exactly from the opposite assumption.
As for me, I had the opportunity to learn this lesson a long time ago, when I was still in university and, to round up, I went around selling websites (thinking about it today, it seems like prehistory).slightly smiling face
 
However, more than ten years ago, Imagicle improved the approach of the entire Company to strengthen the desire of finding solutions and creating long-term relationships. This resolution has been the key that allowed our customers optimizing their investments, partners expanding their margins and us to continue growing consistently and healthily.
Let me tell you how we made it possible.

Selling ice to Eskimos.

I’ve always been a bit chatty, and often, in the past, I remember seeing people pointing and saying: “Look, that’s a great salesman: he would sell ice to the Eskimos!”
Today I’d definitely consider that as a problem, but, even then, it made me think that such exceptional sellers were simply deceiving people, tricking them with fancy words, and I never liked it.
 
See, if you sell something to someone who doesn’t need it, that relationship is over, without adding value for the customer nor for your business. So, I started asking myself a question: what if, after a careful analysis, you found out that the Eskimos go crazy for the “Whiskey on the rocks” and the bars are struggling because they never have enough ice?
Perhaps, if you’re an expert, after a thorough research and some field tests you could also find out that there are problems with electricity and there is not enough water for ice production. 
Finally, given the harsh conditions of the place, ice machines suffer and have an average life of a few months.
 
So, what do you think? Could you sell a three-timefaster ice machine that needs 50% less water to the Eskimos? 
Maybe you can. 🙂
 
Here are my 4 actionable advice to develop a high-performing sales system that allows your team to showcase your company’s unique value.

#1 Invest time in training your people.

One thing’s for sure: if you want to succeed and make your customers happy, you need to involve all parts of the company, from sales to support, to presales up to all your colleagues. And that’s what the Imagicle sales team does every day.
 
But let’s start from the beginning, when it was still difficult to talk about a “team” (intended as a group of more than one person). 
I started my career as a software developer in 1998, until, one day, I decided to follow my passion and move into sales. From the very beginning, I realized that my technical background would help me a lot, so I tried to make the most of it.
When we started with Imagicle and had to put together a real team, indeed, I decided to start from what had been my main asset, a technological training as an essential requirement for a good sales method. Over time, I had the opportunity to note that what had been a coincidence for me – landing in sales despite technological education – was a real advantage to avoid what we were talking about earlier: selling ice to the Eskimos. 
After all, how can you be honest about selling something that you don’t really know?
 
So, briefly to say, the first thing we did was to build a sales team and work together on their technical skills right from the start. We focused on their training day after day, for them to actively contribute to the project instead of merely managing the business relationship. 

Having an in-depth knowledge of the technology underlying the proposed solution allows the Imagicle sales team to understand what could benefit a customer in no time, hence to ask the right questions and find out the real issues. 

Besides, Imagicle sales are always indirect. It’s really important for our partners to feel they have experts at their side, ready to help in every step of the project, thus saving them time and headaches.

#2 Get a (super duper) pre-sales team.

This is why the second important thing is the creation of a presales team that can effectively help customers, partners, and resellers.
 
In 2010, when Imagicle was founded, we decided to focus on medium and large companies, and it didn’t take long to realize that this market required more than “a good seller with some technical knowledge”. Even just for building trust, a more in-depth expertise was needed.
 
This is why the team we built is made up of experts: not only of the Imagicle solutions, but also platforms they are connecting to – Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, Broadsoft and so on. 
The goal is meeting the technical requirements, but also building a relationship of trust with the customer and partner’s IT specialists
Often, this team is in charge of making POCs, to allow customers test solutions directly in their environment. Sometimes, it happens that they discover some limitations and particularities that prevent customer from making mistakes or wrong investments.
Our primary objective, in fact, is a successful project, both from a technological and commercial point of view, for the customers and our partners.

#3 Where are you going? Involve the post-sales team.

Is that it? No, not at all.
The salesmen’s job is an intricate labyrinth of patience, commitment, and attention to others. 🕵️
The customer must be adequately supported before, during and after the purchase of the solution.
That’s why another crucial step is the involvement of the technical team.

In 2000, the next step I had to take in Telcen (one of the two companies Imagicle was born from), was taking care of the support service of our products and building a team able to help our customers effectively. 
It was immediately clear that developing excellent products wasn’t enough: if we wanted to make customers happy, we’d have to be ready to assist them every day, responding promptly to even the most trivial questions.
 
A project, indeed, does not end with the order, but begins precisely with it and continues throughout relationship between the customer and Imagicle.
For example, during the installation, our experts can detect additional needs that didn’t arise during the survey or may occur later; they have the opportunity to talk to people from different teams and identify further needs that Imagicle solutions can meet, or- why not? – decide to customize a feature.
 
Post-sales support frequently speaks with end customers, even just for a question or advice. The team aims to intercept both needs and any shortcomings or issues emerged during the installation of the solution.

#4 The cherry on top? Shake your customers’ hand.

Finally, what makes it even more effective is the proximity to customers. Video collaboration tools help a lot, but sometimes being next to the customer is priceless
That’s why we opened the new offices in Dubai and Miami, starting to hire engineers and technicians. That’s also why we decided to put some of our best teammates at the helm of foreign branches: Giorgio Barsacchi and Michel Ravasio in the US, me in Dubai (well, the plan was actually to stay just a few months; I didn’t know I would get married in the desert).  
 
I’m always on the road (like the rest of the team), to talk with customers and partners in person and strengthen our relationships: Dubai, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Riyadh, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Lucca, Paris, Singapore, Sydney…(oops! my mistake, Sidney was for my honeymoon!) are just some of the cities I visited this year to attend events and learn new things, meet customers, partners, and Cisco People.
 
As you can see, there are no secrets to build an effective and enduring sales system.
All you need is a reliable and well-trained team with a strong desire to make customers happy. Well, and of course: a little pinch of courage.
#stayimagicle

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