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:
- Miller Heiman and their Sales System
- Channel Enablers and their ChannelPro methodology
- Infomentis – what they do and how they do it
- Think Inc. and their Value Proposition
- Force Management and a real life napkin drawing
- Huthwaite and the SPIN Solution Suite
- Breakthrough Sales Performance showing how their approach differs from tradition
- KLA Group and their Curriculum
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.