‘Guided Selling’ Does NOT Mean ‘Guided Telling’

Guided selling – when done properly is a 3-step iterative process. Let me explain more…

by Tim Knight, CMO, CloudApps.

So many terms banded about in the world of Sales are shamefully abused. None more so than the concept of “Guided Selling”.  There appears to be a plethora of apps in the market today that claim to deliver guided selling by simply presenting a (frankly dumb) list of tasks. A list that will purportedly help me advance my deals and make me a better salesperson.

Some of these apps even go a stage further and add “media” to help users better understand the task being suggested. A video for example, showing exactly how a given task should be performed.

Please … I’m busy – not stupid. I don’t need videos to show me how to call high or write BASHO emails. I just sometimes need a timely reminder. An intelligent prompt that suggests what I should be doing and probably most importantly, an intelligent nudge delivered at the right time.

Guided SellingBut this is only the first part of true guided selling…

The real power comes when the system can determine whether I chose to follow the guidance on offer or not. And not because I ticked an item off on a checklist, but by figuring it out based on the actions recorded in the CRM system.

  • Did I actually make that high-level exec call during the golden calling hour?
  • Did I manage to send the number of BASHO emails I needed to this week?
  • Did I record meaningful next steps when I moved my opportunity stage forwards?

The remarkable (and sometimes uncomfortable) thing about this approach, is that it not only tracks the expected right behaviours but it can also uncover the wrong type of behaviours. Sloppy sales behaviours that have become habitual.

By being alerted to these undesired behaviours, the system can, for example:

  • Help me to understand that I have a bad habit of moving close dates out
  • Let me know that I have deals with open ‘next step’ activities in the past
  • Make me realise that updating my opportunities the day before my forecast call probably isn’t the best approach to deal management

If you guide me by helping me to realise I am exhibiting these negative traits – then I will be able to improve.

We don’t need to be patted on the back every time we do our job properly; sometimes we just need a reminder of what ‘good’ looks like.

I very much see guided selling as a 3-step iterative process:

  1. Coach me, guide me, prompt me – in other words tell me what I should be doing (and when I should be doing it) and help me understand what I should stop doing.
  2. Give me insight into my behaviour over time. Am I getting better as I progress or am I still deficient in areas? Where do I need to spend more time?
  3. Help me to tune my sales activities based on the insight you have found and then feed this back into the coaching.

Don’t, please, please don’t give me a dumb tick-list of tasks backed up by some videos telling me what to do. Give me real, proper, guided help.


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