Sales Knowledge: Answer Intelligence (AQ)™

Asking the question was the best way of showing intelligence in yesteryears. But today, answering those questions is also seen to be the best way to show intelligence. 

The new word coined by Dr. Glibkowski is Answer Intelligence (AQ)™

We can always ask questions out of curiosity. But the answer we give should be influencing. That’s why they say, “Questions are for Curiosity, and Answers are for Influence.” 

AQ is a must nowadays for every entrepreneur and professional. If you want to become an influencer, your answers should be of the following types: story, metaphor, theory, concept, procedure, and action. 

A question can be constant all the time. But the answer can always be learned and improved.

Sales Knowledge: Organisational Growth

Growth is not about how much you earn or how much you spend. It is a multi-faced question to be answered. 

Some of the few questions are:
– Are you cutting the salary check without any delay year after year?
– Are you able to pay all the bills before the net period?
– Are you able to sustain the revenue if not growth?
– Are you able to increase the headcount?
– Are you able to provide a salary hike every year?
– Are you able to achieve all the above even during a bad revenue year?

If the answer is “yes” to all the above, then you are running the company with a very well calculative strategy. 

But can we grow just with the above? No. We cannot. What do we need then?

We need innovative ideas. 

But if your innovative idea is going to pull you down on any of the above, then that idea is a liability rather than an asset.

Ideas are split into two.

– Idea potential
– Idea achievement

Idea potential is the ability to propose novel and creative innovations. But, Idea achievement is the ability to implement those ideas. Idea potential can become daydreams. There is nothing to lose out of it. But, idea achievement is a risk-taking measure. It may alter all your current operations together. Idea achievement can be achieved, only with sustainable revenue growth.

As per Forbes information, a company fails to take off to the next level is due to the wrong association of Idea potential and Idea achievement to be present in the same mind.

So an idea achiever must take only calculative risk. It will not just end up with the failure of the idea achiever alone. It may end up shaking the very base of the existence of the company itself.

Idea potential comes from the most creative people. Idea achievement comes from the most operational people.

Practically do we need a Strategist alone? *

The best question in the current entrepreneurial world is, “Do we need a Strategist?” 

We can conclude with an answer only if we analyze this situation in-depth. Let us break this into two major divisions of an IT Company. The Sales team and the Development team.

Let us take the Sales Team into our analysis first. If we bring a Strategist into the team, then they will say the following:

  1. I want independence
  2. I will form the strategy
  3. If that strategy gets implemented correctly, we can generate revenue.

Now on the Development team:

  1. I want independence
  2. I want to implement what I have learned in my previous companies
  3. If that strategy gets implemented correctly, we can develop projects seamlessly

The above sentences will always give very high confidence in our growth. But the situation will change if the following happens:

Sales side:

  1. I will train someone to implement my strategy
  2. So that person is responsible for the result and revenue and not me.
  3. If that person fails, then we need to change that person and bring in a new one.
  4. And this change happens on every failure.

Development side:

  1. I will train someone to implement my strategy
  2. He should handle the projects
  3. He is responsible for the utilization and realization
  4. I am not here to handle escalations and failures. 

It is better not to have such a Strategist incurring the amount of expenditure and time. What is the use of their strategy if they do not know to implement it or do not want to implement it?

In a Small and Medium Company, a strategist who doesn’t know to implement or doesn’t want to implement the strategy is a burden. On the other side, if the company is funded or loaned, then they don’t need to account for this expenditure loss because it is not their money going to get wasted. If a company runs on its revenue, this loss due to the expenditure is the loss of profit.

If a Strategist is not aware of implementing the strategy or not considering it as their responsibility, then it is always better to hire executives/developers to run the team.

This situation makes much sense during the current situation in the industry. The ultimate goal is to generate revenue with or without a Strategist.

The company was formed and running successfully with an already existing strategy. If we bring in a New Strategist to implement a new strategy, then that change must bring in new revenue. Else that change is a waste of time and money.

Unless the current strategy is not generating any revenue, the new change should not overturn the existing strategy

*My opinion

How should sales guys handle the pandemic situation?

The first and the foremost thing a salesperson should do it, “keeping selling.” It is not that there is “no need” situation in the market. There is only a “no want” situation in the market. So a salesperson should not stop the selling. 

A new norm is there everywhere. So it should be there in the sales presentation and pitch too. Rewrite your sales pitch. Redesign your presentation. Revisit what you are selling. 

The conventional “cold email” and “cold call” is going to be tactless in this situation. The same old way of “one-stop-shop” is not going to fetch any more water. Adjust your team to the new reality. 

As per a survey, it requires six times more effort to convince a client for a deal than earlier. So the best part is to hold your clients very close to your heart. Often speak to your customers. Communicate proactively with them.

Reassure your client that you can understand their pain because they are also crossing the same situation.

Whatever may be the situation, the closure should keep on happening. Revisit your old leads. Engage with your earlier prospects. Analyze why they didn’t give you the business last time.

Finally, speak to your delivery organization to bring them on board with you on keeping the “Customer First” attitude.

Personal tip to sales guys: Don’t shift job now. Sell what you are well versed in all these days rather than going to new selling. It is not just you are going to sell. It’s the brand name of the company which is going to help you to sell. 

The synchronization of what you have with your company and your selling skill is your real motivation. You cannot sell yourself and also the brand now. It is a risky task.

No same rule applies! (Sales hire)

We will google for any information. Being it personal or official, we will get answers. Will we get an answer that is suitable for us? The answer would be mostly NO.

We will tend to fit ourselves into that answer and get satisfied.

With keeping the same situation, let us analyze the business. There are zillion business houses in the World. But very few create footprints in their arena. The entire remaining business houses blindly follow those footprints as if they are also equal to those others.

We can see a lot of these in my business line, the Small and Medium Business area. There are not many similarities among the business houses of the SME segment. But we all feel that we can follow others to become one like them.

The best example is in hiring salespeople. During the initial days of the company, the sales guys play a vital role in the growth of the company by formalizing the sales strategies.

But, when the company stabilizes the business, sales guys will not get the opportunity to play many roles in new strategy formulation. They sometimes will get to fine-tune those already formalized strategies only. The company brand or current client references will take the role of spearheading the part of the sales.

It is not the capability problem of the sales guy. Here he didn’t get the specific opportunity to play those strategists’ roles. He will be a good sales guy to run the already formalized sales strategy.

What happened in the market now is, a new company will check the profile of these sales guy and feels that they have won many large deals and so if they hire those sales guys, they are going to bring such deals to their company too.

It may or may not happen. Predominantly it will not happen. This is where the CEOs or the Management of the new company fails. Mostly, only those who have played a vital role in formalizing the business strategy can plan the same role in the new company too. If you hire a hardcore sales guy who was successful in bringing new clients and deals with the collaterals and portfolios of the company may fail big time to play the role of a strategist.

It may not be a failure of the sales guy alone and it will be the failure of the new company too.

You can crosscheck this with the frequent job change of sales guys in the market or with the frequent firing of sales guys by the companies.

Next: No same rule applies! (Business Travel)