Coaches that help you win

An important part of setting a strategy to win a complex opportunity is getting timely and accurate information. One way to do this is by developing a good coach. I spend a lot of time talking about this concept with sales reps and wanted to share some best practices with you here. Just like in sports, coaches give us information to help us win. However, they don’t step on the field and play for us. We’re still responsible for the selling work required to move an opportunity forward. Coaches may be able to help us fill in missing information or give us important feedback about other people who could influence the outcome of our sale. When you are identifying candidates to be your opportunity coach, always look for individuals who have influence inside the account. That will help ensure that you don’t get misinformation. So how do you develop coaches? Sometimes the most important step is just to ask. “Would you be willing to give me some coaching on this project?” could be all you need to open the door. Of course, developing a relationship over time and helping to ensure that your coach can realize a personal win are also important. Don’t forget to look outside the customer’s organization for additional coaches. You may find someone within your own organization (or elsewhere) that can be very helpful. Sometimes individuals who were previously with the customer organization or who provide adjacent products to yours can make good coaches. The value of having a solid coach cannot be understated. Getting quality feedback on your solution helps to shorten the sales cycle and strengthen your position. Are you working to develop a coach in every important opportunity in your funnel? Who would you turn to if your current coach left the organization? Who is coaching your competition? All important questions for you to consider…

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