Conference 2017: key quotes at a glance

‘Let me tell you our vision for the future’: Andrew Hough, CEO of the APS, at the Conversations That Win conference

June 6, 2017:

“Let me tell you about the Association of Professional Sales’s vision for the future. We want to be chartered, we want to put sales in the same place as all the other professions like accounting and engineering.”
Andrew Hough, CEO of the APS

“The ability to articulate value is at the heart of conversations that win. 71% of sales and marketing leaders say the thing that ensures you hit revenue target is the ability of their sales people to articulate value.”
Tim Riesterer, chief strategy officer of Corporate Visions, on creating value

“I listened to him run through his presentation and I thought: oh my God. We’re going into this key meeting and all we’re going to talk about is ourselves. How on earth are we going to create value and relevance? So I told my lead to put the PowerPoint away. Get out the account plan, and the analysis of the gap in their market that we had identified, and of why they needed to change. I asked him to give that message instead, talk about the gap in the portfolio and the £3bn market they were missing, and its wider implications for their market position. And he did that. He was white as a ghost and shaking harder than if he had had five cups of coffee. In that initiation meeting we didn’t talk about Ciena. We were talking about them, why they needed to change.”
Keri Gilder, vice president and regional manager EMEA of Ciena, on how her team won one of her company’s biggest deals

“At High School I was a performer in musicals. Having the three key skills of being able to sing, act and dance was referred to as the “triple threat”, because it made you more impactful and hireable.
“Three key skills are needed today to be a sales triple threat: can you create value, elevate value and capture value?”
Tim Riesterer

“Sales conversations that win start before the lips start to move, using social selling.”
Paco Pelzing, global manager adhesives professional campus for Henkel, makers of Loctite glue

“According to Forrester, 74% of organisations say they give business to the sales company that persuaded them of the need for buying change. Only 26% said they’d give it to the company that wins fair and square in ‘a competitive bake off’.”
Tim Riesterer, on creating value

“We gathered together our sales and marketing executives for a workshop. It was painful and very difficult to work out a message that worked well for both. It worked, although it took a very long time. Now it’s an integrated sales story, supported by marketing, and that is very powerful… If you want to keep the attention of your prospects, a powerful ‘Why change?’ message needs to be introduced. This is where marketing comes in. Without marketing and sales working together here, it will fail.”
Paco Pelzing

“You need to be able to go toe to toe with their CFO. Customers value business and financial acumen in a salesperson four times more than they do product knowledge. Unfortunately they are four times more likely to get a lecture on product features.”
Tim Riesterer, on elevating value

“If you want to have a conversation with a CFO you must be able to talk about the financial outcomes of your solution, whether earnings per share, payback in a certain number of months, passing a hurdle rate on ROI  – you must meet the success criteria of your client.
Dave Jenkins, global program owner of IBM’s financial selling portfolio

“We constructed a programme called Financial Selling Executive Conversations, with instructor-led live classroom training, to equip our sellers for customer contact. It’s based on real situations, not training scenarios, so they walk out of the door knowing what they are going to say when they go to speak to specific clients. With that comes confidence.”
Dave Jenkins

“Elegant negotiables are those things which are low value for the salesperson but high value for the customer. Identify those, and pick them up.”
George Pastidis, director of learning development, Mediterranean region, Ericsson, asked what single thing moves the needle of profitability in the salesperson’s favour

“Procurement – they’re not bad people , but sometimes they may want to be bad with us because we avoid them. I think we need to proactively talk to them, meet with them, understand what their needs are, like everyone else. Include them. The earlier we include them, the easier it becomes.”
George Pastidis, on tips for capturing value
“That’s a new one! ‘Go seek out procurement.’”
Tim Riesterer [laughing]

“When they go into a pricing discussion, the salesperson is vulnerable. They are a blue island in a sea of red questions. So they need to create more blue islands. Those islands are creating competitive advantage for customers.”
Volker Roessler, sales talent development, UPS, on capturing value

“People at classroom training are either holidaymakers or prisoners. About 10% actually apply new training on the job. The remainder have a go at introducing it and gradually revert to what they were doing before.”
George Pastidis, director of learning development, Mediterranean region, Ericsson

“Research tells us that we tend to value losses more highly than we value gains. So if you want to persuade, you need to warn people of the risk of losing what they have. Explain to them that the status quo could be a loss, if you want to break through that psychological armour.”
Nick Lee, professor of marketing at Warwick Business School, just outside London

“In sales and marketing, the world is theory rich and data poor. Everyone has their own pet theory, their own folklore legend about how to sell. But if you can get good evidence, then you should use it.”
Erik Peterson, chief customer officer, Corporate Visions

“Good luck and good selling. The best story, told the best, will always win.”
Tim Riesterer, closing conference.

The Association of Professional Sales is the leading community for sales professionals. We are building standards, diversity and education.

Click here to join us.