Organizations are operating in a new sales economy, one defined by ever-changing business dynamics, technology trends and cultural change. Key trends defining the new sales economy include:
- The evolution from a transactional economy to a relationship economy: Economic value has evolved over the decades, from a primary focus on transactions or the production of things to today, when relationships and connections are more crucial than ever in creating value.
- The Amazon effect on B2B selling: It used to be that B2B and B2C selling were different worlds. Today, there’s more of a blending of the two, thanks in part to companies like Amazon. B2B clients expect to apply their B2C experiences in business.
- The commoditization tipping point: There is more choice than ever before, even for the most complex products or services. It creates a world of sameness, where it’s more important than ever to stand out in a meaningful way.
To win new business and grow within their existing clients, there’s a key next-generation skillset that sales organizations need: the ambassador skillset. Ambassadors are a bridge between their clients and their organization and a bridge into their industry, their network and the greater community.
- Impact-oriented: Ambassadors aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo inside their own organizations. Because they have proven themselves over time, they’ve earned the social capital and latitude to speak up. An ambassador is viewed as someone working to elevate the organization.
- Loyalty magnet: Ambassadors know that a loyal client is one who is emotionally invested not only in their company but in them as a person. Because of this knowledge, ambassadors focus on being loyalty magnets. They take the time to know and track what their clients expect from the relationship. They either directly own that experience themselves, or they build the right relationships internally to make sure their peers create that same level of loyalty.
- Lifetime value creator: Ambassadors balance the “win right now” and the “win for a lifetime” mindsets. The initial win is only the beginning of the relationship with a new client. The job becomes growing that relationship over time and keeping that client with them for the long term. Every interaction with a client is an opportunity to impact the overall lifetime value of the relationship.
Training Strategy to Build Modern Ambassadors
A hallmark of an ambassador is creating higher loyalty, which leads to earning more valuable and long-term business. Sales training professionals have a key role to play by adapting their learning programs to build ambassadors. From that perspective, this approach requires a different sales training strategy, one that helps sellers decide which types of prospects and clients are the best fit to build loyalty.
A client lifetime value inventory is one strategy to help you develop ambassadors. It will help your sellers evaluate key criteria, lowering the risk for losing hard-won prospects and clients to a competitor. To use the inventory in a training scenario, your individual sellers can rate the prospect or client on these criteria:
- Philosophical alignment: How well do your overall values, vision and business philosophies align?
- Solution compatibility: How well does your solution portfolio align to their functional or technical requirements?
- Price/fee sensitivity: How likely is this prospect or client to accept your prices or fees? Are they likely to negotiate significantly?
- Cross-sell potential: How strong is the potential to cross-sell new products/services to the client once the initial deal is won?
- Reference-ability: How referenceable will this client will be? Are they open to creating a case study for success, or willing to provide testimonials on your behalf?
These data points can create a more complete picture of whether the prospect, client or selling situation has enough potential lifetime value to invest sales resources. When the potential for lifetime value is strong, sellers can grow into the invaluable role of ambassador. Sales training also becomes more valuable in helping sellers reach their goals.