Want to Grow Your Sales? Build A Strong Foundation

VantagePoint’s research shows that on average, sales training programs that focus on Foundational Agility see a 30% increase in average selling price.

What is Foundational Agility?

Foundational Agility is the ability to:

  • Assess the buyer’s location within the buying journey
  • Determine and plan the best course of action
  • Execute that action effectively and use feedback to continually refine progress toward the close

Simple right?
It is simple, but you’d be surprised at how many top sales training programs and sales methodologies ignore these tenets and try to implement a one-size-fits-all approach.

Indeed, there is no one-size-fits-all way to drive sales growth, but there is a process you can follow to build the Foundational Agility that is so important to enhance your sales team’s ability to achieve results.

So, let’s break down the components of Foundational Agility.

Assessing the Situation: Where is Your Buyer on Their Journey?

In our comprehensive analysis of over 4,000 deals, Buying Stage, or the stage that buyers are at in their Buyer’s Journey, stood out as the most important buying factor in all situations.

So why is the Buying Stage so significant? Because the point at which the seller enters the Buyer’s Journey will determine which sales tactics to implement.

But what is the Buyer’s Journey?

Throughout history, many storytellers have followed a simple blueprint: send a hero on a quest. The quest story archetype is the perfect analogy for the Buyer’s Journey.

Just like these mythical quests, buying isn’t a straightforward or easy path. Instead, it’s a winding road with lots of different obstacles to overcome. As such, buyers have many different needs as they progress through different stages of their journey.

To help at different stages of the quest is usually a wise mentor. Your sales team can be the mentors that help your prospective buyers throughout this process.

What does this process look like?

  • Buyers will start by identifying their needs. Here sellers can help them do this by uncovering pain points and illuminating the benefits of their products.
  • Buyers will then establish and refine criteria. Here sales teams can help buyers figure out what needs are most pertinent and what products will meet those needs.
  • Buyer must then assess what solutions will ultimately best suit them. Again, the salesperson will be there to help narrow down the options and tailor solutions to the buyer.
  • Finally, the buyer needs to mitigate the risks associated with their decision. Here, the sales teams can work to provide safeguards to increase the buyer’s comfort level and secure a commitment.

As you might have noticed, in each of these stages the buyer is aided by salespeople enacting consultative strategies. That’s because, despite reports of their demise, consultative strategies and tactics are not dead! The consultative sales tactics are highly correlated with other sales strategies/patterns of behavior and they’re the foundation of other strategies.

Once you’ve assessed the Buying Stage it’s time to move on to the next component of Foundational Agility.

Planning for Success: What is the Best Course of Action?

Fortunately for sales teams today, there’s a plethora of research that has broken down predictable motivations and behaviors that buyers might exhibit on each stage of their journey.

However, there can and will be discrepancies from one buyer’s journey to the next. How one buyer acts and thinks in a certain stage can be different from another.

So, your sales training needs to help sales teams not only identify what stage of the journey a buyer is on, but to identify what the buyer’s particular motivations are at that stage and how your team can react to those motivations. It would be ineffective to provide a demo to a prospective buyer in the identify needs stage of their journey because they may not even know what their biggest pain point is.

Conversely, it might be better to provide a client that demo after you’ve helped them identify their needs, and while they are trying to determine if a particular product will solve their problems.

But remember, even if a buyer is at a particular stage on their journey, they may have a different motivation or mindset than another buyer on a similar stage, so the sales strategy must adjust based on that particular buyer’s needs.

This is where the final component of Foundational Agility comes in.

Executing the Strategy: How Can Action Drive Insight?

After you’ve determined the stage a buyer is in on their journey, and after you’ve used this understanding to choose which sales tactics to enact, all that’s left is to execute those tactics right?

Not quite.

Agility in a general sense is the ability to move quickly, and also the ability to switch movements quickly.

The most obvious example is of an athlete who needs to get around his opponent. They may quickly go to the right, but so might the opponent. So, the athlete needs to shift to their left even more quickly. This ability to try a move, realize it didn’t work, and pivot to another move at full speed is one of the hallmarks of great athletes.

Great salespeople need a similar ability. Just because you’ve studied all the stages of the buying process, identified where your buyer is in it, and planned what you think is the best way to get around your buyer’s defenses, doesn’t mean your move will work.

Can you shift to another move quickly is the question?

So, the execution component of Foundational Agility is as much about getting client feedback and refining your tactics, as it is about executing your pre-planned moves.

Obviously, you can’t predict every selling scenario, but you can add to your repertoire by documenting and tracking outcomes in various situations.

Takeaways

Just like many great quest stories, we end back where we started: using the data we’ve garnered from constantly refining and adjusting sales tactics to help us better understand future buyers.

As you can see, Foundational Agility is a straightforward concept, but implementing it requires constant attention to the following:

  • What stage your buyer is in on their Buyer’s Journey
  • What course of action is most effective at each stage and for each type of buyer
  • What refinements to the sales approach can be made based on the outcomes of previously executed sales strategies

Our Offerings

The Sales Management Code™ equips sales managers with a simple, yet powerful framework for aligning seller and manager effort to desired business results, coaching in ways that drive maximum impact, and assessing leading indicators of progress to determine if sellers are on the right path to quota.

The Pipeline Coaching Code™ equips sales managers and leaders with a powerful framework for assessing the health of the pipeline, considering size, contents, and progress. It then equips managers to make deliberate decisions about how to ensure the health of the pipeline and the viability of deals within the pipeline. Managers will reorient effort toward the early stages of deals to improve deal viability and velocity.

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