Coaching sales teams – avoiding Murphy’s Law

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Today we helped facilitate a teleconference between one of our clients and a potential customer.  The client has breakthrough process approaches that help their customers improve their ROI.   The prospect was looking for ways to scale their business.   Two days before the call, we held a “pre-call” to test our messaging, review prospect objections and very importantly, test internet connections, web conferencing connections, which example web sites we would use.  On the day of the meeting I called 15 minutes early to make sure everything was ready.   We tested each one of these things again.   The sales manager bought freshly made tacos for the delivery team to entice them to leave their day-to-day work so that we could present the best possible capabilities to the prospect.  Everything for a major client presentation is important.  Our client company was not accustomed to bringing in the entire delivery team on call as well as the sales team.

You might have heard the old story about having an extra projector bulb for important presentations.   Today, the equivalent check list might look something like this:

  1. Test the teleconference connection and pass code from different locations in the country
  2. >Test the web conferencing system from different networks, locations, and firewalls. Practice, when relevant, passing control between different presenters smoothly using the conferencing software.
  3. Determine who will speak first, who will do introductions, who will present web sites and PowerPoint, where relevant.
  4. Create a list of FAQs and rehearse your answers to them.
  5. Encourage team participation on the call, rather than letting one person from your firm do all the talking. Sometimes it might be better to have technical staff deliver the answer – even though they may not be the polished sales person, coach them on listening skills, empathizing with the customer requirements and concerns, and help them be participants in the call.  Your customer will appreciate this because after the sales person gets the contract signed, it is the delivery team they need to work with day-to day on the project.
  6. Multiple reviews and quality checks.  Have more than one person review the presentation for accuracy, spelling mistakes, etc.
  7. Determine what you will do if your prospect asks for an unplanned demo of a technology or solution capability.  Will you accept the challenge on short notice?  If so, who will show it and who will speak to the solution?  DO NOT show unrehearsed customer solutions where confidentiality or unexpected results might cause you to be embarrassed and risk the sale in front of a new prospect.
  8. Make sure you understand the goal for the meeting or expected outcome.  Is the team getting past an initial meeting?  If so, do we want to ask for a follow up meeting or on-site visit to continue the discussion at a deeper level and build the relationship?  If so, state this to the team in the pre-call so everyone knows what outcome you are intending.
  9. Think about chemistry issues.  Will  the decision maker at the prospect company relate better to a senior female executive?  Are there common interests, sports, hobbies, etc. that mean that the young technician will have a better dialogue on the requirements document with the prospect?  Be ready to be a facilitator but to take a back seat and let the team members bond in a way that builds a relationship that will have lasting positive impact with the client.
  10. Send a thank you note. Email is ok but a personal letter and phone call is better.

When you are doing client presentations prepare, rehearse, and prepare again. sales, marketing, business development expertise has helped many growing companies.  We can coach your delivery and sales team on the things that might require only slight adjustments in their approach that can help yield major gains with clients or shorten the sales cycle.

Michael F. Arrigo

Michael Arrigo, an expert witness, and healthcare executive, brings four decades of experience in the software, financial services, and healthcare industries. In 2000, Mr. Arrigo founded No World Borders, a healthcare data, regulations, and economics firm with clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital, surgical center, physician group, diagnostic imaging, genetic testing, health I.T., and health insurance markets. His expertise spans the federal health programs Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance. He advises Medicare Advantage Organizations that provide health insurance under Part C of the Medicare Act. Mr. Arrigo serves as an expert witness regarding medical coding and billing, fraud damages, and electronic health record software for the U.S. Department of Justice. He has valued well over $1 billion in medical billings in personal injury liens, malpractice, and insurance fraud cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals considered Mr. Arrigo's opinion regarding loss amounts, vacating, and remanding sentencing in a fraud case. Mr. Arrigo provides expertise in the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, Medicare LCDs, anti-trust litigation, medical intellectual property and trade secrets, HIPAA privacy, health care electronic claim data Standards, physician compensation, Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark law, the Affordable Care Act, False Claims Act, and the ARRA HITECH Act. Arrigo advises investors on merger and acquisition (M&A) diligence in the healthcare industry on transactions cumulatively valued at over $1 billion. Mr. Arrigo spent over ten years in Silicon Valley software firms in roles from Product Manager to CEO. He was product manager for a leading-edge database technology joint venture that became commercialized as Microsoft SQL Server, Vice President of Marketing for a software company when it grew from under $2 million in revenue to a $50 million acquisition by a company now merged into Cincom Systems, hired by private equity investors to serve as Vice President of Marketing for a secure email software company until its acquisition and multi $million investor exit by a company now merged into Axway Software S.A. (Euronext: AXW.PA), and CEO of one of the first cloud-based billing software companies, licensing its technology to Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS). Later, before entering the healthcare industry, he joined Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF) as a Vice President, overseeing eCommerce solutions for the mortgage banking industry. While serving as a Vice President at Fortune 500 company First American Financial (NYSE: FAF), he oversaw eCommerce and regulatory compliance technology initiatives for the top ten mortgage banks and led the Sarbanes Oxley Act Section 302 internal controls I.T. audit for the company, supporting Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Mr. Arrigo earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Before that, he studied computer science, statistics, and economics at the University of California, Irvine. His post-graduate studies include biomedical ethics at Harvard Medical School, biomedical informatics at Stanford Medical School, blockchain and crypto-economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and training as a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA). Mr. Arrigo is qualified to serve as a director due to his experience in healthcare data, regulations, and economics, his leadership roles in software and financial services public companies, and his healthcare M&A diligence and public company regulatory experience. Mr. Arrigo is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Kaiser Health News, Consumer Affairs, National Public Radio (NPR), NBC News Houston, USA Today / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Medical Economics, Capitol ForumThe Daily Beast, the Lund Report, Inside Higher Ed, New England Psychologist, and other press and media outlets. He authored a peer-reviewed article regarding clinical documentation quality to support accurate medical coding, billing, and good patient care, published by Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and published in Healthcare I.T. News. Mr. Arrigo serves as a member of the board of directors of a publicly traded company in the healthcare and data analytics industry, where his duties include: member, audit committee; chair, compensation committee; member, special committee.

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