Creating a shared vision in sales: 3 things managers get wrong

We guide healthcare IT and professional service sales organizations to sell more, faster through shared vision selling. As a growth consultant, I’ve noticed that when sales executives make mistakes, they tend to make the same three.

How many of these mistakes are you making—or have learned to avoid?

Mistake No. 1: closing too soon

If you’re like most successful sales pros, you are competitive. You want to win, and win now. But in shared vision selling, it’s a mistake to close too soon.

In shared vision selling, your proposal is as much their document as it is your document. It takes time to develop that joint vision. They may not be in the hurry you are.

When you try to close deals prematurely, you won’t have set the right expectations of what they’re buying and what the outcomes will be.  Make sure you truly understand how your solution will impact provider satisfaction, patient experience, quality, cost, and that you have agreed on the value proposition.   In most complex sales, trying to close before multiple meetings will fail. And you’re in it to win!

Instead of rushing the close and risk losing the deal—or trapping yourself in never-ending negotiations—work your way to a winning proposal and ongoing sales by way of an ideation document

Ideation documents grow with your understanding.

  1. During or immediately after your first meeting write what you understand about the improvement opportunities and potential solutions
  2. In your second meeting, update the ideation document with answers to new questions you thought to ask and fresh insights from the buyer
  3. In the next meetings, start working through the roadmap of where your prospect wants to be and how you’re going to get them there.

Your ideation document incorporates input from many players. From your side, it has input from everyone from product managers and implementation teams to trainers and sales and financial executives.

From your prospect’s side, the ideation document—and the proposal that grows from it—will reflect the needs of users, IT decision-makers, and senior executives, among others. This leads us to our second stumbling block.

Mistake No. 2: neglecting the varying needs of different buyers

What defines a complex sale is that the offering is tailored significantly from organization to organization. Also, each sale requires multiple inputs from four different buyer roles:

  1. The economic buyer—the person who signs the check. 

What they seek:

  • CEOs tend to seek growth and market share. 
  • CFOs focus on costs and margins.
  • COOs want efficiency and effectiveness with minimal disruption.

2. Users—the providers and staff who will use the product.

What they need:

  • Users need to know how your solution is better than what they’re already doing.
  • Users need to know why change is necessary now.
  • Users care about physician satisfaction and clinical quality, such as reducing errors. 

3. The technical buyer—usually the chief technology or information officer.

What they’re after:

  • CTOs/CIOs are risk-averse.
  • CTOs/CIOs need to know the solution will fit their information technology environment. 
  • If you can show how the solution will reduce their IT workload, all the better.

4. The coach—your champion.

What makes a good coach:

  • The coach knows their organization.
  • The coach is respected and trusted.
  • The coach knows how to position the solution in the organization. 
  • The coach needs to be sure your solution will advance his or her career.

Your ideation document and the proposal that grows from it must reflect all the needs above, if not more!

Mistake No. 3: insufficient time mentoring

For shared vision selling to succeed, reps need mentoring. Even the most capable sales pros need you—or someone—to help them apply what they learn in training.

You personally benefit from mentoring. It shows you what people are working on and injects your wisdom into those deals, raising their likelihood of closing.

The need for coaching is especially urgent when you use a generic sales process, such as the Challenger, MEDDIC  or Miller Heiman. Don’t just leave it to sellers to connect the dots. Show them how to customize their training to your company and markets. (Steps 1 and 2 above are good ways to start that tailoring.)

Every other profession requires continuing education. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects—they all take courses throughout their careers. The best sales pros do likewise.

People want to feel valued, and your attention generates that feeling. Give it, and within six months, you’ll improve your close rate.  This attention is worth much more than a pay raise.

Healthcare selling is different. It’s harder.

Shared vision selling is made for complex business-to-business marketplaces. But few markets come close to healthcare for their complexity.

Every healthcare organization lays out its facility differently. Labs, pharmacies, nursing, and intensive care all vary in their layout, service mix and complexity.

Providers vary. They have different mixes of specialties and services, which means different mindsets among providers. There’s a big difference between treating geriatric rural populations and young urban patients, for example.

And two patients with the same diagnosis may need different treatments.

Throw in changing medical technologies, best practices and diseases, and your target is always moving.

Shared vision selling guides you to understanding those variables and tailoring your solution accordingly.

Succeed as never before.

Do shared vision selling right, and you’ll take your success to a new level, precisely because healthcare sales are so difficult. If it’s hard for you, it’s just as hard—or harder—for your competition. Your mastery of shared vision selling will give you the advantage!  

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