At Elevate 2019 North America: Framing the Future, one thing was clear: there’s a shift occurring in selling. Sellers now must inspire their buyers by providing knowledge and value at every stage of the sales cycle. Buyers today expect sellers to truly understand their business goals as well as their product, team and processes—and when sellers have the fundamental approach needed to engage and interact with their buyers, they win more business.
Attendees at Elevate 2019 North America uncovered insights, data and trends that impact sales performance and left inspired with strategies they can take back and implement within their teams.
Here’s a recap of what you missed at Elevate 2019 North America:
Miller Heiman Group’s Chief Revenue Officer Allen Mueller opened with her keynote on The Future Is Now, sharing three marketplace trends that will influence the industry through the rest of 2019:
- sales performance is faltering
- perspective is the differentiator
- talent gaps are derailing sales organizations
All of these factors contribute to selling challenges with the current sales shift. Buyers expect more from their sellers, and want them provide information and value through perspective throughout the full sales cycle. In her talk, Mueller argued that having the right people in place that showcase the attributes that match your organization is critical to that success.
Chief Product Officer Dana Hamerschlag opened her presentation by describing Van Halen’s 1984 tour rider, made infamous by the clause asking show promoters to ensure backstage candy bowls included no brown M&M’s. This was more than rock-and-roll whimsy: Whenever the band found a brown M&M, they conducted a complete line check and inspected everything from lighting to sound to make sure it was perfect. The brown M&Ms clause proved the point that every little detail is important. In today’s ever-changing sales shift, Hamerschlag argued, teams need to take the time to check and get the details of their process down correctly, even if they seem small, like a brown M&M.
This remains true as the fast pace of technology adoption impacts daily tasks at sales organizations more than ever before. Hamerschlag talked about how sales technology removes administrative tasks and increases the importance of having a structured, consistent sales process. Today’s technology systems track calendars, emails, phone calls, content and research on buyers so that sellers can provide the right guidance to buyers at the right time. As sales technology advances faster than people can understand it, it’s increasingly easier for organizations to overlook the details. By combining checklists with established methodologies, organizations move forward with a common sales process and language—making the difference between organizations who stay ahead of the curve and those who fall behind.
Early Insights from the 2019 World Class Sales Practices Study
CSO Insights Chief Research Officer Seleste Lunsford shared what’s driving the strongest sales results in today’s global markets in a preview of the 2019 World Class Sales Practices Study, which officially launches in June. The report finds that what sales managers do today was the responsibility of sales directors two years ago. Sales operations roles grew more strategic and analytical since the last survey, helping to get ahead of customer needs and bring opportunities to sales managers. Sellers can’t just think about how customers buy, Lunsford argued, but need to think about their full experience, which is why a formal process that aligns with strategy must be in place, from hiring and managing talent to go-to-market.
Winning in an Age of Disruption
Robyn Benincasa, bestselling author and world champion adventurer, inspired Elevate attendees by sharing how adventure racing and sales intersect: it all comes down to building a great team. She talked about the importance of turning challenges into moments to learn and excel, and characteristics of why people consistently win. Robyn dove into how to capitalize on unique competencies to create opportunities for organizations, and how a daily habit of personal improvement is key to being prepared to for new challenges.
Client Success Stories
Alvaro De Bonis of Diversey and Nicholas Gregory and Andy Finkelstein of Sabre took the stage to discuss how their companies partnered with Miller Heiman group to elevate and modernize their sales strategy.
Diversey, whose 3,000 employees bring cleaning and hygiene technologies across the globe, worked with Miller Heiman Group to build a foundational coaching and skills program to improve seller performance, paired with a common methodology. Diversey continues to work closely with Miller Heiman Group to improve and expand the changes its put into motion with its selling culture and in exceeding buyer expectations. When Sabre began to work with Miller Heiman Group, the global travel technology company needed a consistent coaching model and tool to manage the sales funnel for all three of their business units, including divisions in APAC, EMEA and North America. They wanted a solution that bridged methodology and technology to improve strategy and aggressively push deals through the pipeline. By partnering with Miller Heiman Group, Sabre established a common selling culture and process that focuses on proactivity, rigor, discipline, accountability and transparency at all levels and across all functions.
After a day full of learning and insights, Miller Heiman Group announced to great fanfare the 2020 event, which will be held in April 20-22 in Austin, Texas. Save the date and we’ll see you in the Lone Star State next year.