What are Top Sales Drivers?

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are your keys to
higher success-ratio and shorter cycle-times

Considering sales purely as a numbers game
often leads to brute-force approaches that are rarely effective.

I asked a very successful sales professional — he had more than 25 years of experience — what made him successful? What are the critical success factors that made him successful as a sales person?

He replied, “Ravi, when I am sick, I take every medicine in the cabinet, every natural remedy I can try. It does not matter to me which one works, my goal is to get well, and I will throw everything I have at it. My approach to selling is similar. I try every trick in my bag.”

That is one way — it is called the “throwing everything but the kitchen-sink” approach to selling. The hope is, because selling is supposed to be a numbers game, something will work.

There is a better way. I call it — Figuring Out The Top Sales Drivers.

In a deal you may need several sales drivers — you may need a reasonable price, a good reputation, enough features, attractive marketing collaterals. But while these factors are helpful, they are not in a position to compel the prospect to sign the deal.

If you figure out a factor or aspect that compels the prospect to close the deal — that is a top sales driver. A top sales driver is like a cannon that blows through the resistance.

Let’s look at three examples. The first example is the simplest and then we will build from there.

Okay, the first example: You sell pest control services to restaurants. One restaurant has a new rodent problem that is growing, but they do not want to spend the money to deal with the problem in its entirety which will cost $3,000. They just want to do a piecemeal solution which will cost $300 every time. The piecemeal solution does not solve the problem, just reduces it temporarily.

Since the owner is cost conscious, it will be very difficult to sell the whole program. So, what is the top sales driver?

If you presented research on the frequency with which the city health inspectors shut down restaurants with rodent problems — and the cost of shut down is over $30,000 — that could compel the restaurant owner to buy the whole program.

It is a top sales driver especially if a bunch of other restaurants had been shut down for the same problem.

Let’s look at the second example. You sell HR software to mid-sized companies. The cost of the software is over $10,000. It is very difficult to sell the software to the VP of HR because their budget is tight. Plus, they do not see the need for additional software or its features.

So, what would be a top sales driver that would compel the prospect? Is there one?
A possible top sales driver could be approaching the CFO and having a discussion about the high cost of turnover in the company that no one is tracking. HR is busy hiring people as operations demands and then hiring new ones as people are burnt-out due to poor management. No one is tracking the cost of turnover.

The software could make it easy to track the cost of turnover — which could save the company a lot of money. The CFO could become the top sales driver that compels the VP of HR to buy the software.

Now, let’s look at the last example — You are a mid-sized consulting firm selling six sigma consulting services. You drive business reengineering. These are of course intrusive and create a lot of change in the organization.
Selling these services receive a lot of resistance. Your company has good credibility, yet the resistance seems too much.
Can you think of a top sales driver?

That top sales driver is risk mitigation and management. Unless you address the risk in the prospect’s mind you will not win the deal. After all, you are not a top consulting firm. Your prospect will not get fired if he or she hires a top consulting firm and they fail. She/he will be absolutely fired if your firm fails — because everyone will ask why your firm was hired.

You will have to address the risk of failure and actively demonstrate how you will manage it and reduce the risk of failure. Only then will you overcome the prospect’s reticence and resistance.

Determining a top sales driver can help make deals happen.

Now, top sales drivers can vary based on market segmentation and customer profile. It is not always easy to figure out what are the top sales drivers. It can take months or years to build your suite of top sales drivers. But once you begin to understand which are the top sales drivers, your sales success ratio will increase dramatically.

– Ravi Kathuria, Author, “How Cohesive is Your Company?”

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