One of the toughest challenges a technology company can experience today with a new product is determining its category. Marc Andreessen famously said that “Software is eating the world.” An unintended consequence of this feast is the ever-expanding list of new, emerging and existing product categories. In essence, we are experiencing a type of “category chaos” in technology today.
Intricacies of choosing a product category
When choosing a product category, there is an inherent tension between selecting an existing category or creating a new one. If selecting an existing category, it is necessary to differentiate yourself from the competition. If creating a new category, you have to educate the target audience about its meaning. In the earlier case, the market exists. In the latter case, you have to build the market. Entities such as Nancy Nardin’s Sales Technology Landscape have organized a way to visualize the sales technology landscape into logical groupings. These landscapes can be instrumental in bringing order to category chaos. When choosing between an existing or new category, don’t be surprised if it takes several iterations to get it right. At DealCoachPro, it took us 4-years to understand where we fit and the appropriate category!
Sales Coaching is bifurcated
Sales Coaching is one of those terms like AI. It is often applied too liberally and generally misused. We believe Sales Coaching is broadly bifurcated in two categories:
- Coaching as it applies to advancing sales skills are lagging indicators meaning you are looking back at past actions. This is Sales Coaching.
- Coaching as it applies to advancing deal execution activities are leading indicators meaning you are looking forward at future actions. This is Deal Coaching.
This view is affirmed by research from Gartner displayed in image below. Gartner examined the anatomy of World-Class Sales Managers and uncovered that those that emphasize deal execution activities outperform their peers. Managers that place a greater emphasis on deal coaching such as helping advance deals, negotiating for sellers, deal-focused problem solving with sellers, helping sellers’ close deals and deal planning/strategizing are seeing far greater success.
Deal Coaching software is an emerging category
The basic premise of Deal Coaching software is to drive deal execution. To drive deal execution, an understanding of deal health is a requirement. Deal health has two components; 1. How well am I positioned in the deal, 2. How well am I positioned with the buying team. The software must also integrate into the CRMs. To complicate matters, sellers are working remote, so the software has to accommodate collaboration anytime from anywhere. CRM and Deal Coaching software are very complementary to each other. To win more deals, think of CRM as your compass while Deal Coaching software is your map.
The initial problem was apparent that sellers often pursue deals by either guessing or using their gut. There are three downstream adverse effects from this approach.
- Sellers are continually seeking deals that are not legitimate, mainly driven by sellers receiving bad information from the wrong contacts about the likelihood of a deal.
- Managers will rely on this same subjective data from sellers to understand why deals are lost or stalled, then attempt to provide some coaching assistance.
- Management is making forecasting decisions based on subjective data from the sellers.
The design philosophy behind Deal Coaching software
The goal of “good data-in is good data-out” starts with the seller. We needed to provide sellers with a simple, repeatable way to assess deals. To accomplish this, we took an old idea and brought it into the 21st century. A sales methodology typically is a set of principles and best practices that guides a seller’s actions. However, the problem with sales methodologies is that they are too dogmatic, expensive, not sticky or digital. Deal Coaching software requires a light-weight and agile framework that lives in the Cloud. Making it simple and repeatable is the hard part. Anyone can make it complicated! At DealCoachPro, our framework takes a simple qualitative approach and turns it into data science.
The benefits of Deal Coaching software
Deal Coaching software provides guided selling to the sellers. It is a simple, repeatable way to introduce formal coaching. Sellers are up and running in minutes. It provides a deal pursuit framework to drive strategic conversations. It highlights the gaps for a manager, so at a glance, they can jump in and provide deal coaching. Teams can take advantage of virtual deal rooms to facilitate action planning and strategizing. Deal Coaching software is designed for 1-on-1 or group collaboration. It gives the ability to reuse institutional knowledge stored within existing deals. And for management, Deal Coaching software applied to deals are infinitely more forecastable.
The time for Deal Coaching software has arrived!
Erik is passionate about technology. He spent 25+ years in the software industry in development, product management, and as the founder of an event management company that was acquired by Constant Contact. Today, Erik is the founder and CEO of DealCoachPro – Deal coaching CRM plug-in drives deal execution for modern pursuit teams..
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