Big Animal Pictures

Originally published November 7, 2009 on my original blog, Sales Training 2.0.

Over the last few months I have been having more conversations with small training firms as well as people thinking about hanging out a shingle as a sales trainer.  In addition to talking about key issues like their Exit Strategy I have, almost without fail, brought up the challenge of how they talk about what they do with their prospects in a simple and concise manner.

Disclaimer:  Working closely with a company that does sales messaging (Force Management) influences my bias to the importance of this area.

When I was at OnTarget/Siebel Systems I worked for an executive, Nick Nascone, who was fond of talking about Big Animal Pictures¹.  Big Animal Pictures in the training world are the graphics that you use to talk about your business – and can be represented on a Powerpoint slide or hand drawn on a whiteboard, flip chart or napkin.

I believe all firms need Big Animal Pictures that are easy for your sales team to remember and articulate – and that resonate with your customers.  You need one picture for “What we do” and another for “How we do it.”

Here is my main Big Animal Picture – what I call the Value Chain for Training and Consulting Firms.  Below are some examples from inside the sales training world:

If you don’t have a Big Animal Picture yet here are some suggestions as you go about creating them

  • “What we do”
    • Think about the areas you impact when you serve customers.
    • How do you ‘bucket’ or group your solutions in a typical presentation or conversation
  • “How we do it”
    • How do you implement your solutions – is there a process or methodology you follow for implementation or change adoption?
    • How are you different from your nearest competitors?
  • Other questions to ask yourself
    • Can my salespeople easily articulate this with a pen and a blank piece of paper?
    • Is this clear enough that my current customers would agree this “sounds like you”?
    • Does this look identical to how your competitors describe themselves?

Get outside advice on your Big Animal Pictures and investigate how others describe themselves – in the training world and in your customer base.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like me to give you input on your ideas.


¹ The original Big Animal Picture book was published in 1903 and contained big color pictures of cats, dogs and cows.  We haven’t made much progress in 100 years.