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Business Aspiration White Paper Sales Diamond ModelTM

home > White Papers > sales diamond model

A White Paper by Scott Andrews, Founding Director of ARRiiVE TM

How Well Prepared Are You To Face Your Company's Board of Directors?

Does that headline make you nervous? How well can you forecast future sales? 

90% of organizations in our targeted industries are not structured to systematically form proper relationships with their customer. Without that structure, and without a process for defining dominant buying motives, you won't hit your numbers. How does your organization look? If you don't map to your customer, you won't have the critical relationships in place to ensure sales success. 

"Team structure is the most critical component to sustaining sales success." -- Richard Boren, former VP of Sales at Instantis, Verio, and MicroAge

Be smarter. Get structured now.

If you knew there was a business structure model where you could match your company's sales team and other critical personnel with your customer's key people and thereby improve your relationships and quality of customer experience with your company, how quickly would you take action?  Would you take action now?

Yes? Then you're in the right place! Read on to learn about this problem/solution.

1. Understanding The Challenge

Today's sales organization: Salesperson to Customer

The Direct One-To-Many Model is the standard sales model used in most organizations across the world. The challenge most organizations face is, in fact, systemic.
The typical organizational sales structure utilized in common practice is known as the Direct Sales (one-to-many) Model. This results in several challenges: including (a) the ability of the salesperson is paramount to success with a customer, (b) senior management may or may not be notified of urgent factors in growing or retaining business with the customer, (c) if the salesperson leaves the company, the customer may leave too. 

Worse yet, companies who have built solid relationships across functions of each peer-to-peer company stand more likely to win large major account RFP (request-for-proposal) bidding wars. If one of your top prospects or account growth opportunities is currently in an RFP battle, you might be nodding (and frowning) as you read this.

The Direct Sales Model leads to dysfunction, chaos, and inability for leaders to recognize threats and opportunities. It also results in blown sales opportunities (and missed forecasts).

Organizations who are utilizing the Direct (one-to-many) Sales Model are leaving a lot of responsibility up to the salesperson. In our experience, many salespeople do not handle the responsibility well. Account relationships must be maintained in order to nurture company cash cows, or the company runs the risk of those cows turning into butcher fodder (column fodder in the case of the RFP bidding war). Worse yet, when the salesperson leaves a firm, the relationship and all the history often disappears with them, thus leaving the organization's ability to remain proactive minimalized.

The success of the organization's selling opportunities requires more sets of eyes, ears, brains and heart in order to gain true insight into the customer's needs. If an organization must know its customer better in order to sell more, then its leaders ought to consider implementing a more modern, collaborative structure.

 

2. The Internal "Diamond" Mechanics of Organizations:

There are many other forces at work within the sales environment which influence how organizations interact with outside organizations. These are forces are described as the internal "Diamond" mechanics of sales account management structure. 

You will notice Sales, Operations, Management, and Administrative Teams are all considered critical to customer relationships in the "diamond" model.

Figure 2. Visual Representation of Internal Company "Diamond"

 

3. Examination of the Direct Model (Herein Lies The Structural Problem):

When we examine the traditional direct selling model, the sales person is responsible for selling the account. 

The salesperson usually gets locked in with a buyer for RFP responses, and occasionally meets with other account contacts. But there are many other forces at work within the sales environment. These forces are NOT taken into account in the Direct Selling Model, where the salesperson (one) is focused on the client contacts (the many). As you can see, this model may leave critical relationships hanging in the wind. And that means it is only a matter of time before your salesperson reports that you lost the account (or Proposal).

Figure 3. One-to-Many Direct Selling Model

 

4. Business Problems Related to Poor Team Structure:

When we recognize what happens when we are relying solely on a salesperson to customer relationship, we start to see the compounding nature of retaining and growing our most important assets: our customers! It is six times harder to get a new prospect to be a customer than to grow business from existing customers. 

Therefore, if we are not properly aligned with our customers, we are likely missing out on opportunities and also at risk to losing to a competitor's solutions. 

Figure 4. Expanding Understanding Of Business Issues At Risk

CEO/CFO positions have been replaced because of problems that grow from this basic structural misalignment, such as failing to hit forecasts, posting a loss, or failing to capitalize on new market opportunities. As a result, this structure may affect the entire organization's success.

 

5. A Visual Representation of The Sales-Diamond Model:

It was when I examined my past and reviewed all of my largest major account wins (and losses) that I noticed what was present when I won large deals: tiered, peer-to-peer relationships!

It seems so obvious, but it really is up to the smart salesperson to manage this. If managers manage this process, the salespeople may likely rebel against management and mask behavior in order to "appear" cooperative. So, this concept must be brought in by a third party in order to be grasped completely by the sales team and other parts of the organization.

The key to prospecting or account management is to create strong, peer-to-peer relationships.

Figure 5. The Sales-Diamond Model Resolves Structural Problems

It is often the most successful organizations that build the most collaborative structures. IBM, Kodak, GE, Xerox, and HP all have been know to implement similar selling models in their approach to growing accounts. 

6. The Sales-Diamond Model: Basis For Structure Change

The actual reality is that the salesperson will still retain lines to other contacts. It is just paramount that the organization has peer-to-peer relationships also established in order for the account to be properly managed. 

The senior managers may also know finance personnel, or operations managers, but I've noticed that senior managers typically want a peer-level contact to talk to, in case serious business issues ever threaten their satisfaction. It is best to establish these relationships BEFORE they are needed; otherwise, trust isn't established. Without trust, there's no love, so build the love first. 

Figure 6. Understanding How The Sales-Diamond Solves Structural Problems

Summary: With The Sales-Diamond, Higher Success Can Be Forecasted

Success Plan

Utilizing The Sales- DiamondTM

ACTION: CROSS-TRAINING ALL DEPARTMENTS FOR SALES SAVVY

It is important that all departments and positions in the sales-map be on-board with the program in how they are assigned to each account. It is also important to establish a customer management protocol in order to implement the model. Once these protocols are in place, the account will run smoothly for a number of years, until any (or all) of the relationships are disturbed.

When EDS used to give me a forecast that they were adding 200 new computers, I knew I could bank on $2,000MMC (monthly maintenance) coming from that order. This is a forecast I could put at 95%, the only question would be which month EDS would submit the order, which was 95% accurate. Not a bad forecasting model. Certainly better than most I've seen used in the field.

For example, when I once managed EDS at Blue Shield of California, the account had weathered several changes in operations staff, sales management, and company transitions. It wasn't until the Senior Management at my firm decided to pull operations from the account, and allow the Director of Operations to miss three straight meetings with the customer, when the customer cancelled their agreement. I couldn't blame them. However, I held the account through many challenges over a period of four years. EDS Blue Shield accounted for approximately 20% of my sales business during that time.

Time and time again, my team has found that in examining the structure utilized by successful salespeople, inevitably they created a team approach that resembles the sales diamond. It just makes sense to us to formalize the process to help every salesperson become more successful.

 

Imagine: creating a sales team that thrives through large-account wins, retains continuity even when top salespeople leave, and enables your firm to discover new opportunities through better team structure.

Learn more.

 

Contact Us

NOTE: We're developing software for Semantic Collaboration - enabling a paradigm shift in how you build teams. Are you interested in joining our beta customers to try this in your organization? Contact us with subject line: BETA CUSTOMER to get involved.


ARRiiVETM: "Has Your Business Arrived?"SM 

Strategic marketing and selling solutions helping you grow your business success, more quickly.

Call and join-in with the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business Show, live on Wednesdays at 2PM PST

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Website designed by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. Copyright 2006-2011. ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. 

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ARRiiVETM: "Has Your Business Arrived?"SM 

Strategic marketing and selling solutions helping you grow your business success, more quickly.

Call and join-in with the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business Show, live on Wednesdays at 2PM PST

Artwork Disclosure  |  Home  |  Links  |  Privacy Policy  |  Newsblog | Terms of Use  |  Hire ARRiiVE

Website designed by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. Copyright 2006-2011. ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. 

AddThis Social Bookmark Button