In major accounts, a lot of selling goes on when you’re not there. Because of that fact, top performers are good at developing internal champions – they are crucial to winning key business. Why? Sales reps need someone to “tell their story” when they are not there – and they are not there most of the time.
Well, that sounds good, so why doesn’t everyone leverage internal champions? First, developing internal champions is resource-consuming and not every sales rep wants to invest the time. Second, some sales reps fall into the trap of spending time with people who are “willing” to be their internal champion, but are not “able to tell their story when the sales rep isn’t there. Those internal champions can have little effect on advancing the sale – or could even have a negative effective if the “wrong” person is the internal champion.
Acknowledging the value internal champions can bring to the sale, how might a sales rep go about building them? Unfortunately there’s no map to follow, but a couple of ideas are:
- Don’t accept the first offer that comes along – meet multiple people at a company before “settling in” on whom to develop as an internal champion.
- Find someone who truly is interested in your product or service and jointly develop a strategy to introduce it to their company.
- There can be more than one internal champion in an account – leverage technical gurus, users, etc.
- Don’t get fooled by people who say “call me”, and are just being friendly.
- Make sure that the result of being your internal champion is a “win” for them, too.
Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection.
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