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Chris Luxford

Change Agent and Senior Consultant at The ASPIRE! Group, LLC

Noosa, Australia

As an experienced management consultant focused on Go-To-Customer innovation and the evolving need to delight the customer, I have spent the past 25 years focused on developing strategy and operational methodologies and techniques to drive differentiation via innovation in business outcomes through technology enabled business process change.

With roles as an industry leading management consultant, product manager for a large multi-national technology vendor, and from 2004 - 2008 as the CEO of a $50M per annum System Integrator, I have experienced all elements of business management from operational, to strategic and can empathise with and work at any level within an organistion from the board to the guys and gals at the front line of customer interaction.

I love change and I love helping organisations change to create real innovation and differentiation and deliver their strategic goals. This love for change has seen me move back into management consulting with a dedicated focus on go-to-customer and management innovation as it is the ONLY real game changer with regards to meaningful differentiation !

Specialties: Management Innovation (Thought leadership, business models, partnering and collaboration models)

Experienced CEO

Go-to-customer innovation consultant

Business process consulting

Customer Experience Innovation and Contact centres

Available For: Advising, Consulting, Speaking
Travels From: Australia
Speaking Topics: B2B Growth, B2B Business Models, Complex Selling Strategies, Sales Executive Coaching

Speaking Fee $10,000 (In-Person)

Chris Luxford Points
Academic 0
Author 288
Influencer 31
Speaker 40
Entrepreneur 110
Total 469

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Company
Theatre: Global
Minimum Project Size: Undisclosed
Average Hourly Rate: Undisclosed
Number of Employees: Undisclosed
Company Founded Date: Undisclosed

Areas of Expertise

5G
AI 30.03
Analytics
Big Data
Business Strategy 30.23
Change Management
Cloud
COVID19 33.53
CRM
Culture
Customer Experience 41.37
Customer Loyalty
Design Thinking
Digital Disruption
Digital Transformation 30.30
Ecosystems
Emerging Technology
Future of Work
Generative AI 30.07
Innovation 31.45
IoT
Leadership 36.43
Management 30.41
Marketing 30.05
Risk Management
Sales 73.63

Industry Experience

Federal & Public Sector
Financial Services & Banking
Healthcare
High Tech & Electronics
Professional Services
Telecommunications
Utilities

Publications

1 Advisory Board Membership
Advisory Board Member
Chris Luxford
January 01, 2022
Member of the advisor board the CX / Digital consulting firm W3 Digital

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

51 Article/Blogs
The single most important question to succeed in sales
Import from medium.com
May 02, 2024
Elon Musk once said “I think people can choose to be not ordinary. You know, they can choose to not necessarily conform to the conventions that were taught to them by their parents.”. Almost all sales professionals are a incrementally improved version of the sales leaders they have worked for wh

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Embracing the Timeless Legacy of Charlie Munger: A Eulogy for a Master of Lifelong Learning - 1
Linkedln
November 28, 2023
In the vast tapestry of business leaders and intellectuals, Charlie Munger's departure leaves an indelible mark. As we bid farewell to this titan of wisdom and discernment, we celebrate not only his life but also the enduring legacy he leaves behind—a legacy steeped in the principles of lifelong learning, worldly wisdom, and an insatiable curiosity that transcends generations.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Mastering Complex B2B Sales: Qualification as a Differentiator
LinkedIn
November 13, 2023
Is qualification and art or science? It is almost exclusively performed as a scientific approach to managing sales results. That said companies that outperform their competitors treat qualification much more as an art, not science. Sales qualification, especially in complex B2B scenarios, is not merely a checkbox in the sales process; it is the linchpin upon which success hinges. Sales teams and leaders must recognize that a differentiated qualification approach leveraged continuously throughout the sales journey, can make all the difference between a success and wasted time, effort and resources.

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Tags: Sales

Mastering the Art and Craft of Leadership: A Sales Leader’s Imperative
LinkedIn
October 23, 2023
In the dynamic realm of sales, the focus has long been on the numbers - meeting quotas, closing deals, and driving revenue. While these objectives are undeniably vital, a significant shift in perspective is required. Sales leaders must recognize that their primary responsibility lies not just in the science of sales, but in the art and craft of leadership. This shift is crucial for fostering long-term success, building sustainable relationships, and nurturing a thriving organizational culture and most importantly, uncompeting.

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Tags: Leadership, Sales

Become an Idea Factory: A Sales Professional's Secret Weapon
LinkedIn
October 14, 2023
Products and services are constantly evolving, successful sales professionals understand that it's not the products or services they sell, but the ideas they lead with and share that truly make an impact. Ideas have the power to inspire, engage, and create lasting connections with clients.

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Tags: Leadership, Sales

Client delight ....re-thinking customer success
Linkedin
October 09, 2023
The technology industry's definition of customer success needs to be re-imagined. While it portrays client centricity in reality it is more focussed o recurring revenue attainment than true client delight.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Client Delight........Rethinking Customer Success
LinkedIn
October 09, 2023
In the rapidly evolving landscape of customer success, the terminology used by both technology companies and many consultants and industry pundits often reflects a tech-centric approach, with phrases like "land and expand", "adoption" and "service delivery" and even “value realisation”. While these terms might make sense in the context of technology implementation and usage, they fall short when it comes to embodying the essence of genuine client-centricity.

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Tags: Customer Experience

The Delusion of Sales Professionals: Proclaiming client-centricity yet acting with self-interest
Import from medium.com
October 02, 2023
Prelude: This article is written in support of sales professionals not as a criticism. Every sales professional (and leader) I know cares about their clients…but it’s hard to maintain in action.Sales professionals play a crucial role in every business, bridging the gap between products or servi

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

The Fallacy of One-Size-Fits-All: Why a Single Sales Methodology Fails in Complex B2B Sales
Chris Luxford
September 25, 2023
Is your sales methodology hurting sales results ?

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Calling bullshit on AI in complex B2B sales
Linkedin
September 18, 2023
AI tools are claimed to be the next revolution in professional B2B sales....but how they are being used delivers ZERO differentiation. Successful sellers are not using these tools they way most sellers are

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Tags: AI, Leadership, Sales

There is no strategy without risk and courage
Linkedin
September 13, 2023
It is said common sense is not common. The same could be said for conventional wisdom. It is not wise.

Leaders, genuine breakaway differentiators, do not leverage conventional wisdom nor conventional models.

They understand that strategy, and the choices required to win, are underpinned by risk and courage.

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Tags: Innovation, Sales, Business Strategy

How Outcome-Based Selling in today's VUCA world massively outperforms Product-Led Selling
Linkedin
January 10, 2023

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Business Outcome-based Go-To-Client Model Innovation: Tips to Help You Achieve Success
Linkedin
October 31, 2022
Business-to-Business (B2B) Outcome-based go-to-client models are gaining popularity as companies seek more effective, measurable and lasting ways to deliver meaningful, sustainable innovation and differentiation to underpin growth. This blog post shares 5 tips for business outcome-based go-to client model innovation that will help you as your organization transform.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Do you buy the cheapest toilet paper?
Linkedin
October 26, 2022

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

B2B selling - The new Success Equation
Chris Luxford
October 24, 2022

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Go-To-Client Innovation Blog
Website Blog
October 01, 2022

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

In a VUCA world all Leadership is Change Leadership
LinkedIn
March 14, 2022
In today's increasingly intense performance orientated organisations Leaders tend to vacillate between strategy and tactics. However, both share one thing in common...what made us successful won't make us successful.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Marketing

B2B Sellers which Game Show are you Playing?
LinkedIn
January 30, 2022
Every B2B seller I've met loves winning like seagulls love chips. They'll fight hard to get the win.
Yet in my view all too often B2B sellers find themselves in a game show. So the question is which one?

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Tags: Leadership, Marketing, Sales

Tips on landing your next sales leadership role
LinkedIn
January 16, 2022
I often get asked by my clients all over the world for advice on updating their resume or how to excel in their next interview. More often than not these are for level up positions within their current company, occasionally for new positions in a new firm.

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

Revisiting this article of 1 year ago
LinkedIn
May 16, 2021
Nothing like some non-judgmental self-reflection

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

2020: How to reclaim your path to realising your desired results
LinkedIn
April 29, 2020
The rest of 2020 will be marked by our choices. How we choose to respond or react to the incredible 119 days that are the year to date. With 246 days to remake 2020 and launch us into 2021.

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

B2B Sellers – Have you had your COVID moment yet?
LinkedIn
April 06, 2020
Think about airlines, rental car companies, bricks and mortar retailers, and many other industries that rely on people being out and about in the community. These have all suffered instantly and massively.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, COVID19

B2B Sellers - The 7 Stages of a Pandemic and how to sell to your clients
LinkedIn
March 23, 2020
In my working lifetime there have been three major whole of world changing events. The 200's dot com bubble, the 2008 global financial crisis and now the COVID-19 Pandemic. (the 87 crash was while I was at school so while I recall it and was not working at the time).

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, COVID19

COVID - B2B Sellers should be thanking Kevin Bacon
LinkedIn
March 20, 2020
7,394 days ago was the last time the world, as a whole collectively held it’s breath. Prior to this ominous date I was able to witness one of the most inspiring acts of common goal / greater good action I’d ever seen.

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

B2B Selling - How COVID will help reinvent the industry
LinkedIn
March 15, 2020
In 2001 Peter Drucker penned one of his last articles and thought pieces, as usual it was a masterpiece in foretelling and laying out a path that executives globally could embrace.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, COVID19

2 Board Memberships
Datagamz
Chris Luxford
August 01, 2022
Personalise Performance for All
Gamification platform translates behaviors that will improve productivity into badges, quests, and challenges for individuals and teams.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

CR-X Board Member
Chris Luxford
January 01, 2019
We were big data before it became "Big Data"
For over 15 years, our business solutions for enterprises were focused on acquiring, transforming and presenting massive volumes of data using methods that unlock its potential. We got our start in 2002, in telecommunications, and have expanded to become a global innovator across a multitude of industries including telco, finance, health, utilities and travel. Today, we are known as the world’s fastest Big Data integration engine.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

3 Books
How Dave led his Sales Team out of Irrelevance
Chris Luxford
May 01, 2021
An intriguing look at how one courageous sales leader saved his company from becoming irrelevant by not competing harder, instead being the disruptor rather than the disrupted by BOLDly leveraging an innovative outcome based ecosystem led go-to-customer model.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

How Suzy led her sales team out of irrelevance
Chris Luxford
May 01, 2021
An intriguing look at how one courageous sales leader saved her company from becoming irrelevant by not competing harder, instead being the disruptor rather than the disrupted by BOLDly leveraging an innovative outcome based ecosystem led go-to-customer model.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

ASPIRE! Group Inspirational Quotes: For Sales Executives and Sales Professionals
Chris Luxford
April 23, 2018
Powerful quotes help us rethink, reframe, reimagine and relearn.

They energise.
They confront our assumptions.
They provocate our delusions.
They cut through complexity and offer clarity of insight.
They fuel the fire of our aspirations.
In this book we offer the most inspiring quotes we use daily with our clients.

They are presented in three sections. Quotes that are relevant to;
You
Your customers
Your teams members (direct or indirect)

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

1 Executive
Senior Partner
ASPIRE! Group
October 01, 2022
Co-owner of the world's only go-to-client management consultancy focussed on aligning buyer and seller mindsets for innovation in the Everything-as-a-Service Revolution

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

1 Founder
Experience Innovators Co-Founder
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2013

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Tags: Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Leadership

4 Keynotes
Avaya North America 2021 Sales kick off keynote
Chris Luxford
March 01, 2021
Delivered the closing keynote for Avaya North American direct and channel partner sales teams to inspire them to new ways to create opportunities and client impact through an outcome-led approach

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Sales

Contact Tracing Virtual Leadership Forum
Avaya
June 24, 2020
Unlike the COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus, contact tracing is not a novel idea. That said, it has never been deployed at the global scale we’re witnessing now. And we’ve never before had the technology and capabilities we can harness today …to transform what had been largely a manual process to scale to address the unprecedented volume required in battling this pandemic. Systems incorporating automation and AI virtual agents can help meet the high demand, speed the process, and drive accuracy – all while mitigating risk and managing costs.

Avaya welcomes you to join an exclusive invitation-only Contact Tracing Virtual Leadership Forum to examine and share learnings on decision making, policy, and incorporating innovation into processes.

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Tags: COVID19, Customer Experience, Sales

CCW ANZ: Automation Anywhere - Why Intelligent Automation is a Must-Have for Contact Centres
Chris Luxford
May 27, 2020
Why Intelligent Automation is a Must-Have for Contact Centres

In these unprecedented times, businesses must continue to match or exceed the performance required from customers to remain competitive. In this session, explore the advantages of intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA) for the contact centre.

Tackle performance, growth and people challenges
Improve average call handle time and first call resolution
Boost performance in a cost-effective manner
Alex Koshy, Senior Director Industry Solutions, Asia, Automation Anywhere

Chris Luxford, Senior Partner, W3 Digital

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Avaya Engage 2020
Avaya
February 05, 2020
Avaya ENGAGE, hosted by Avaya and the International Avaya Users Group (IAUG), is the premier event for the future of communications experience and its impact on digital transformation. Avaya ENGAGE 2020 brings you four days of general sessions, workshops, and breakouts; inspirational and informative speakers; and content experts to drive and enhance your digital transformation journey.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

2 Miscellaneouss
The Delusion of Sales Professionals: Proclaiming client-centricity yet acting with self-interest
Linkedin
October 03, 2023
Does your company really care about it's client and their goals or they hollow words used for feel good motivation?

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Leadership Question Series #2
Linkedin
September 27, 2023
Are you doing enough experiments and having the right leaders lead them ?

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Sales

1 Profile
CX Expert
CX Focus
October 01, 2019
Meet Our CX Experts
Meet CXFocus’s editorial panel of experts. The panel comprises individuals with extensive backgrounds in sales, marketing, customer service, technology and business strategy. Each individual is a recognised leader in their field of expertise.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Innovation

16 Videos
Leadership Questions Series - Episode 1
Chris Luxford
October 03, 2023
Questions you can ask yourself to improve your leadership capabilities

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Leadership Questions Series - Episode 2
Chris Luxford
October 03, 2023
Questions you can ask yourself to improve your leadership capabilities

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Bold and insightful leadership
Chris Luxford
September 21, 2023
As a leader, is your decision making, sufficiently insightful and bold enough ?

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Tags: Leadership, Sales, Business Strategy

Collision of Thought - Taking Massive Action
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
How to shift your personal and your teams mindsets to make the transition from product-led selling to outcome-based selling.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Powerful questions
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
The power of shifting your sales questions from things that you selfishly want to know but add little or no value to your client....to things that provocatively help your client think, unlearn, relearn and see what they can't see. This goes beyond the classic "ask more open questions" and looks at the subtle art of question design, intent and structure in complex B2B outcome-based selling

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Storytelling
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
To emotionally engage non-IT executives on your ideas, rather than your products, sales professionals must elevate the art of storytelling. In this video we explore different aspects of what makes a good story, different storytelling techniques and some simple tips for having a better conversation with your clients

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - The new buying decision
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
Clients buying processes have radically changed, they continue to change, yet the B2B sales industry still broadly sells the same way as laid out in the 1870's (yes over 130 years ago) NCR Primer taught us. In this video we explore the new buying behaviours and how small shifts in mindset, conversation, ideation and engagement offer massive opportunities for differentiation

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Conversation Construct
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
Real time performers practice more than they perform...well all but sales professionals. They rarely practice, and what they "call" practice tends to be presentation preparation. In this video we explore how embracing a disciplined practice structure and framework can radically improve impact and differentiation in client conversations. More over increase pipeline and sales by more ideas being embraced by your prospects

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Buyers Journey
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
Understand how buyers buy can dramatically shift how a sales professional qualifies, decides and acts. Without a mental model to reflect it is often difficult to reflect upon the buyers journey without looking through the selfish lens of our own goals. In this video we explore a framework, from the original work of Neil Rackham, to better understand how buyers buy

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Goal research
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
Outcome-based selling requires sales professionals to operate using a deep insights sales approach. If you do not know your client how can you link the value of your offerings to their outcomes? Most sales professionals argue they know their clients well. But what they know tends to be information (facts) or extremely high level and vague. In this video we explore how to better, quickly and easily understand in a meaningful way your clients desired business outcomes....in detail

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Get the meeting
Chris Luxford
October 01, 2021
Executive are bombarded with meeting requests from sales people who want to tell them how great their stuff is. in our survey of technology buyers most indicate they can receive as many as 20 requests for meetings a week. Mostly from people who are complete strangers to them. So when prospecting how can you get a meeting with a non-IT executive? How can you seperate yourself from the noise and successfully get the meeting? In this video we explore pragmatic proven mindsets and behaviours for prospecting success

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Go-To-Client Model Innovation Explainer
Chris Luxford
September 01, 2020

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Mindsets of Successful sales professionals
Chris Luxford
April 01, 2020
Through our consulting engagements with our clients helping them transition from product-led selling to outcome-led selling we have identified 50 key mindset and behaviour characteristics that seperate the incredibly successful EPIC sales professionals from the mediocre!!

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Change Leadership Session 1
Chris Luxford
February 03, 2020
The most critical leadership trait for successful sales leadership is change leadership. Leading changes in the mindsets, skillsets, disciple sets of their teams to keep pace with an ever changing market, buyer behaviour and competitive landscape is critical. What made you successful won't make you successful. That said sales leaders have rarely been given any genuine development on how to be effective leaders of change. In this short 3 part series we explore practical ways in which sales leaders can better understand how to become more effective leaders of change.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Change Leadership Session 2
Chris Luxford
February 03, 2020
The most critical leadership trait for successful sales leadership is change leadership. Leading changes in the mindsets, skillsets, disciple sets of their teams to keep pace with an ever changing market, buyer behaviour and competitive landscape is critical. What made you successful won't make you successful. That said sales leaders have rarely been given any genuine development on how to be effective leaders of change. In this short 3 part series we explore practical ways in which sales leaders can better understand how to become more effective leaders of change.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Sales

Collision of Thought - Change Leadership Session 3
Chris Luxford
February 03, 2020
The most critical leadership trait for successful sales leadership is change leadership. Leading changes in the mindsets, skillsets, disciple sets of their teams to keep pace with an ever changing market, buyer behaviour and competitive landscape is critical. What made you successful won't make you successful. That said sales leaders have rarely been given any genuine development on how to be effective leaders of change. In this short 3 part series we explore practical ways in which sales leaders can better understand how to become more effective leaders of change.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Sales

Thinkers360 Credentials

5 Badges

Radar

1 Trend
Outcome-Based Selling

Date : October 23, 2022

The seismic shift in buyer behaviour has forced complex B2B sellers to change their selling behaviours. However, 99% of all B2B sellers will argue they sell using an outcome-based approach. They are not. True outcome based selling requires a consultancy-led, ecosystem-driven and team-based approach to sales. It requires solving wicked problems proactively. Unless or until the sales leaders running these sales teams acknowledge that this is a very very different sales motion, they will not make the transition. More over in nearly every market segment customers are desperately waiting for sellers to make the shift. Not just saying it, but doing it. Most are still doing product-led selling, but dressing it up as outcome-based. Knowing the difference, and knowing how to transition is a key market trend for enterprise sales success.

See Radar

1 Prediction
Realisation of the Value of such an approach

Date : October 25, 2022

Very few B2B sales organisations can genuinely say they are outcome-based. Many contend they are, but are merely attempting to loosely connect their offerings USP or value proposition to customers outcomes, generally cost savings. 2023, driven by an extended inflationary period will see many organisations have no choice but to transition to a legitimate, meaningful and impactful outcome-based sales approach. If they don't they will see massive revenue and client declines

See Radar

Blog

9 Article/Blogs
Why Outcome-Based Selling is Dead
Thinkers360
May 12, 2024

In last week's post I made a bold statement that outcome-based selling was dead.

(Here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/single-most-important-question-succeed-sales-chris-luxford-1pnic/?trackingId=3ePJbrZ1TH%2B25lGWYs8eYA%3D%3D)

In 2008, we started helping our clients move from a product and solution selling approach to an outcome-based one. At the time we declared, that within 10-15 years "everyone will be doing it". At which point it will no longer be differentiated, and as such, no longer the approach that leaders will embrace.

Today, almost every company or sales professional says they are outcome-based. Are they? Really? That is debatable in our view. Many say they are but it is really lipstick on a pig. It is still product or solution led with some outcome-based language wrapped around it. That said a large majority of companies have attempted to get better at aligning their offerings with their clients and prospects outcomes.

However, we believe outcome-based selling no longer offers any differentiation at all. We still absolutely believe that clients deserve better business outcomes from their technology investments and that those providing that technology should be far far deeper involved and rewarded around those impacts on outcomes.

To truly differentiate now and over the coming years a better and different approach MUST be embraced and a new journey commenced.

In a market that is overwhelmed by products and services where clients and prospects have almost unlimited choice;

Where clients and prospects are almost always more educated on the range and diversity of choice than the average sales professional;

When company budgets are shrinking over time and investments require significant impact on growth targets;

How can a sales professional bring value to a client or prospect?

There are some fundamental shifts, but they are underpinned by the key questions from last week's article:

Whatever you are planing to do, in the eyes of your client or prospect is it meaningfully different?

These shifts include:

  • From knee-jerk reaction to voracious continuous learning
  • From ego-centric focus to a deep passion to serve
  • From mindless compliance to thoughtful experimentation
  • From knowledge to wisdom (defined below)
  • From what to think to how to think
  • From push to pull
  • From offerings to ideas
  • From actions to habits
  • From ingrained neural pathways to better and different neural pathways

In short outcome-based selling was an attempt to shift a corporation from a company-centric to a customer-centric engagement model.

This new, better and different approach is not about the corporation.

It is about you.

A corporation cannot help you discover how to meaningfully differentiate to each of your individual clients or prospects. It can only help you be scalably efficient. And provide you a generic message about its offerings.

To be sustainably, truly, meaningfully different in the eyes of your clients and prospects you must re-invent your identity.

What does re-invent your identity mean? Here is a great 23 second video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0969Klx6SlM

This identity re-invention will be a learning journey not training or episodic events. It will not be about what the corporation directs you to do, but the journey you are willing to embark yourself on.

There are lots of smart people...but how many are truly wise? Wise in a way that adds amazing value to your clients or prospects. Our definition of that wisdom, applied wisdom is:

  • Voracious continuous learning + deep reflection + real-world experience + knowledge + critical thinking + systems thinking + intuition + imagination + creativity
  • Mobilized via a latticework of Mental Models
  • Appropriately applied via a “Jobs to be done” situationalized context

Over the coming weeks I will explore more about what the above shifts really mean and why it can help you be massively more successful in the coming years.

See blog

Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Sales

AI’s Role in Complex B2B Sales: Vitally Important or Woefully Inadequate?
Thinkers360
February 21, 2024

Before I offer my personal perspective on this admittedly provocative question, please permit me to share this oft-cited quote from Amazon’s founder and executive chairman, Jeff Bezos.

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s NOT going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two, because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ or ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so, the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.” — Jeff Bezos

So, back to the question at hand. Is AI’s role in complex B2B sales going to be vitally important or woefully inadequate?

My answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

AI will be both vitally important AND woefully inadequate for all the various jobs that will still need to be done ten years from now in a complex B2B buying/selling scenario. Please allow me to elaborate.

Rightfully so, Artificial Intelligence is on every sales executive’s mind today. Articles on how AI is going to “revolutionize selling” can be found everywhere now. But as researcher, scientist, and futurist, Roy Amara, observed, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” This will certainly be true with regards to AI’s impact on selling, and perhaps more importantly, buying.

A quarter century ago, the rise of the Internet radically transformed the way that both buying and selling were done. However, the net result of the Internet revolution was that buyers were ultimately more empowered by the Internet than most sales teams were. This resulted in an unquestioned shift in the balance of power from sellers to buyers.

Likewise, AI will also profoundly transform those buyer/seller interactions over the next decade. Is it possible that AI will produce an even greater shift in that balance of power from sellers to buyers? At this juncture, it’s impossible to say for certain.

However, it is reasonable to assume that over the next decade virtually all B2B sales organizations will have figured out how to effectively integrate AI into their operations, if for no other reason than to remain competitive with every other B2B sales organization.

So, the most important question for CEOs and CROs in an AI-enabled future will remain the same as it is today. How does an organization add more value for all the various buying interests in a complex enterprise organization than its competition?

AI will invariably drive massive changes in buying and selling over the next decade. However, as the earlier Jeff Bezos quote suggests, the more important question for senior executive is not what is going to change; it is “what’s not going to change?”

What won’t change over time is an organization’s need for greater insights on how to:

  • imagine new and better ways to serve the needs of their own customers/clients
  • make better decision on when and how to leverage new technologies effectively
  • implement new technologies in a way that empowers humans to do their jobs better
  • build a compelling business case leveraging both rational and emotional factors
  • better leverage dynamic performance ecosystems to drive institutional innovation

AI will ultimately be able to add some degree of value to those requirements. However, the kind of wicked and super wicked scenarios that surround new technology purchases and rollouts demand many uniquely human characteristics like empathy, imagination, emotional intelligence, ecosystem coordination, and wisdom.

Perhaps the most interesting of those traits in relation to AI’s limitations is wisdom, which requires a high degree of experience, synthesis, and an ability to “connect the dots.”

The late, great Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s long-time mentor and business partner) advocated for the criticality of something he referred to as elementary, worldly wisdom. He described it this way.

“What is elementary, worldly wisdom? Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience — both vicarious and direct — on this latticework of models. You must know the big ideas in the big disciplines, and use them routinely — all of them, not just a few. Most people are trained in one model — economics, for example — and try to solve all problems in one way. You know the old saying: to the man with a hammer, the world looks like a nail. This is a dumb way of handling problems.” — Charlie Munger

In complex B2B sales situations with high-level executives, we see far too many smart, well-intentioned sellers struggle to connect with and fully relate to those executives because they tend to think too much like that proverbial man with a hammer.

So, why are so many hard-working sales teams, especially in the enterprise technology space, struggling to attain that holy grail of executive relevance that virtually very CRO is looking for from their sellers?

In our opinion, gleaned from over two decades of experience with thousands of Fortune 500 B2B sales teams, the vast majority of sellers simply don’t possess a sufficient number of multi-disciplinary mental models to pull from. They also struggle to assemble their limited or less effective models into an actionable, interrelated latticework that might otherwise improve their chances of being relevant to a high-level executive.

To attain greater executive relevance, sales teams will need to possess a broader sense of business insights that arise from these kinds of multi-disciplinary models and latticeworks. They are the foundation of the kind of worldly wisdom that senior execs are looking for from someone they might consider a trusted advisor.

We refer to this ability of sellers to bring valuable business insights to a high-level executive as Applied Wisdom (AW). In a world where AI is already becoming pervasive, we believe that AW will be a much greater and more-dificult-to-replicate differentiator than AI.

For that reason, we believe the key catalytic question that will get CEOs and CROs closer to realizing that opportunity is how to go about the process of creating greater AW in their sales team…and do it at scale.

This is the first in an ongoing series of posts where we will explore what it will take to develop AW-empowered sales teams at scale. Please join us in that journey.

See blog

Tags: AI, Business Strategy, Sales

Embracing the Timeless Legacy of Charlie Munger: A Eulogy for a Master of Lifelong Learning
Thinkers360
November 28, 2023

In the vast tapestry of business leaders and intellectuals, Charlie Munger's departure leaves an indelible mark. As we bid farewell to this titan of wisdom and discernment, we celebrate not only his life but also the enduring legacy he leaves behind—a legacy steeped in the principles of lifelong learning, worldly wisdom, and an insatiable curiosity that transcends generations.

I have barely scratched the surface of his insight and look forward to his continued guidance - his true dent in the universe.

The Student of a Lifetime

Charlie Munger was, above all, a perpetual student. His commitment to lifelong learning was not merely a mantra but a way of life. Munger believed that the best investment one could make was in themselves, and his insatiable appetite for knowledge was a testament to this philosophy.

Key Takeaway for Business Leaders: Business leaders must embrace the ethos of continuous learning. In a dynamic and ever-evolving business landscape, the ability to adapt and learn is a cornerstone of success. Munger's legacy encourages leaders to remain avid learners, to seek knowledge beyond their immediate domains, and to recognize that intellectual growth is a lifelong journey.

Worldly Wisdom: The Munger Edge

Charlie Munger's understanding of "worldly wisdom" set him apart. He championed the idea that true wisdom comes from a multidisciplinary approach, drawing insights from various fields to make informed decisions. Munger's worldly wisdom was a force that guided him through the complexities of business and life.

Key Takeaway for Business Leaders: Business leaders should strive for a holistic understanding of the world around them. Munger's approach advocates for transcending narrow specialization and incorporating diverse perspectives into decision-making. By embracing a multidisciplinary mindset, leaders can navigate uncertainties with clarity and foresight.

Forever Curious: A Mind That Never Rested

Munger's unquenchable curiosity was the driving force behind his success. He approached life with a childlike wonder, always questioning and exploring. His curiosity wasn't confined to boardrooms; it extended to a wide array of subjects, from psychology to history, allowing him to draw upon a rich tapestry of knowledge.

Key Takeaway for Business Leaders: Leaders should cultivate and perpetuate a culture of curiosity within their organizations. Munger's legacy underscores the importance of encouraging employees to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and explore new ideas. A curious workforce fosters innovation and resilience in the face of change.

Embracing Challenges: Munger's Stoic Resilience

Charlie Munger faced challenges with a stoic resilience that mirrored his intellectual rigor. He understood that setbacks were inevitable, but it was one's response to adversity that truly mattered. Munger's ability to maintain composure and learn from setbacks exemplifies the power of a resilient mindset.

Key Takeaway for Business Leaders: In the volatile world of business, leaders must embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. Munger's stoic resilience teaches us that setbacks are not failures but stepping stones toward success. Leaders should instill this mindset within their teams, fostering a culture that values resilience and learning from setbacks.

As we bid farewell to Charlie Munger, let us not mourn the end of a life but celebrate the enduring legacy of a man who dedicated himself to the pursuit of wisdom, learning, and curiosity. In a world hungry for insights and guidance, let us carry forward the torch of Charlie Munger's timeless wisdom, using it to illuminate the path for generations of leaders yet to come.

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Tags: Leadership, Sales

The Fallacy of One-Size-Fits-All: Why a Single Sales Methodology Fails in Complex B2B Sales
Thinkers360
September 24, 2023

In the world of business-to-business (B2B) sales, where the stakes are high and the playing field is complex, relying on a single sales methodology is akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. While simplicity is often touted as a virtue, it can be a crippling limitation when applied to the intricate and multifaceted realm of B2B sales.

The belief is that it is too hard to deploy, learn and manage (and become highly productive) multiple methodologies.  I agree.  The fallacy here is that methodologies are the only choice.  There is an alternative choice to numerous highly prescriptive methodologies.

I am boldly asserting that the one-size-fits-all approach to sales methodologies falls short in the context of complex B2B transactions and in fact hurts not helps results. Instead, successful B2B sales demand a flexible and adaptable arsenal of models (not methodologies). Here's why.

1.        Diverse Customer Needs

In the B2B world, clients and customers come in all shapes and sizes. Each client has unique requirements, objectives, and pain points. Attempting to shoehorn a single sales methodology into every interaction ignores the fundamental principle that understanding and addressing these differences is key to building lasting customer relationships. Yet we every sales team we have ever met will vehemently tell us they are “customer centric” and yet general use an approach that is less about the customer and more about the booking.

Consider, for instance, the difference between selling software solutions to a multinational corporation and a local family-owned business. The former may require extensive customization, integration, and rigorous compliance standards, while the latter may prioritize simplicity and affordability. A cookie-cutter sales approach is doomed to fail in either scenario.

2.             Varied Decision-Making Processes

Complex B2B sales often involve multiple stakeholders, each with their own interests and influence over the final decision. In fact, we’ve seen buying committees as large as 12-15 people. From the CEO to the procurement manager and the IT department, each player in the decision-making process has distinct needs and priorities. A one-size-fits-all approach disregards the intricate web of relationships and dynamics at play.

Imagine employing the same sales script and tactics with a CFO focused on cost reduction and a CTO seeking innovation and scalability. In the former, you may alienate the decision-maker with a pitch centred on premium features, while in the latter, you might lose credibility by neglecting cost considerations. Again, it is asserted by sales teams that is not the approach, they personalise the engagement by persona.  But the underlying “playbook” is always the same….with cost savings as the number #1 value proposition pitched to any and all buying executives.

3.             Evolving Market Conditions

The B2B landscape is in a perpetual state of flux. Market conditions, industry trends, and technological advancements constantly shape the environment in which businesses operate. A static sales methodology fails to adapt to these changes, leaving sales teams ill-equipped to navigate the shifting terrain.  It’s a VUCA world !!

For example, a rigidly structured methodology may prove ineffective when dealing with the disruptive forces of a global pandemic or a sudden economic downturn. In such cases, adaptability, agility, and a willingness to pivot are essential for survival and success.

4.             The Human Factor

In B2B sales, the human element is paramount. Relationships built on trust, empathy, and understanding play a pivotal role in securing deals. A rigid, one-size-fits-all approach risks depersonalizing the sales process, reducing it to a transactional exchange of goods or services. Take a look at the 3-5 most common PowerPoint decks that are used by your sales team…I’ll hazard a guess they are all pretty similar and, for the most part, talk about your company and your offering…not the client and their outcomes.

Successful B2B salespeople are chameleons, able to adjust their approach to connect with the diverse personalities and communication styles of their clients. They listen, empathise, and tailor their strategies accordingly – qualities that a single, inflexible methodology cannot provide.

5.             Sales Tools' Inability to Cater to Multiple Processes

Another glaring issue with relying on a single sales methodology in complex B2B sales is the limitation of sales tools and technologies. While sales automation tools and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are valuable for managing customer data and tracking activities, they often fall short when it comes to accommodating various sales processes.

Different prospects may have unique workflows, approval processes, and procurement methods. Attempting to force all these variations into a standardised sales tool can result in inefficiencies and frustrations. A single process-centric tool might not have the flexibility to adapt to the intricacies of each customer's buying journey.

6.             Sales Processes Focus on Activities, Not Buyers' Needs

Many conventional sales processes are inwardly focused, emphasising the activities sales teams need to perform to close a deal. While this approach can be effective to some extent, it often neglects the most crucial aspect: the buyer's journey.

Successful B2B sales should revolve around understanding the buyer's needs, challenges, and preferences. A rigid process-centric approach may force salespeople to prioritize their activities over the buyer's requirements, potentially alienating customers and hindering the sales process.

Conclusion

Complex B2B sales demand a nuanced and multifaceted approach using many many models (not methodologies). Relying on a single sales methodology in such an environment is a recipe for failure. Instead, businesses must recognise the diversity of customer needs, the intricate decision-making processes, the ever-changing market conditions, the limitations of sales tools, and the importance of aligning sales processes with buyers' needs.

Successful B2B sales require adaptability, agility, and a toolbox of models that can be adapted and used as a framework to fit the unique circumstances of each sales opportunity and allow scale for the sellers.

To thrive in the complex world of B2B sales, embrace the idea that one size does not fit all, and empower your sales teams to be the agile, responsive, and client-centric professionals that your clients deserve. Only then can you navigate the intricate maze of complex B2B sales successfully and truly grow in each of your unique market segments you are actively pursuing.

See blog

Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Calling bullshit on AI in complex B2B sales
Thinkers360
September 17, 2023

Every tool or platform every professional seller is using today, regardless of sophistication, will claim it is AI (Marketing teams riding the wave). Moreover a lot of B2B technology sales professionals trumpet the fact their own technologies are now "AI enabled".

I'm calling bullshit!

The simple reality is that since time immemorial tools, any tool, from the plough to the super computer, has been designed to make work easier, faster, simpler and more productive.

In recent times the ability for these tools to tackle activities that the sales profession did not have tools for, such as researching clients, collaborative ideation, financial analysis, prospecting content creation, automated follow up etc, has been impressive and significant.

But it does not change the simple fact that sales is the art of persuading and influencing a buyer, or in the case of complex B2B sales, many buyers to choose your offering over their other choices, which include "do nothing".

That choice is always led emotionally and justified with facts and logic.

How often have you seen the better product or service lose?

How often have you seen "no decision" the elected choice, even in the face of compelling reasons to invest?

In professional selling, how we sell is far more important than what we sell.

This is underpinned by outrageous successful selling is more about how we think, rather than what we do.

My observation is that sellers are using many many tools now, including many that are labelled as AI. ChatGPT for prospect email creation is a good example. The flaw in this is that sellers are using these tools in such a way that is reducing thinking. The tools are being used to speed up task completion, rather than being a catalyst to deeper more provocative thinking.

Successful sellers don't view these tools as artificial intelligence....i.e;

  • what can the tool tell me I don't already know
  • what can the tool create for me I can't create
  • what can the tool automate for me that would take me too long to do

And when every seller is using the same tools for the same thing does it create any level of meaningful differentiation?

Successful sellers use these tools for curiosity, ideas, spur imagination, explore different questions, role play, hypotheticals.

Successful sellers use these tools to evolve their selling mindsets. Rather than using them as task automators they use these tools to unlearn and relearn buyer psychology and the art of influence and persuasion.

Continued innovation in tools will be a constant, but the human condition...that is buying on emotion, requires sellers to focus less on task automation and far far more on what sellers are paid to do: Think for a living !

These so called AI tools can't think for us. Nor should we want them to. If a tool can think better and as a result influence and persuade better, then why do we need sales people?

Great sellers use tools, any tool, AI labeled or not, to elevate their thinking, curiosity, imagination and questioning.

Are you using them this way?

See blog

Tags: Generative AI, Leadership, Sales

There is no strategy without risk and courage
Thinkers360
September 13, 2023

It is said common sense is not common. The same could be said for conventional wisdom. It is not wise.

Many organisations believe their strategy is sound, well thought through and effective. Yet often it mirrors the so called "strategy" of their competitors.

Roger Martin defines strategy as Making Choices: Where to play and How to win.

There are no guarantees in business, but the nearest executives have to guaranteed success, at least from an initial strategy choice is; identify a genuine unmet market need and find a way to meet that need in a way no one else is, or can, with a sole focus on outrageous customer delight.

Many executives will vehemently defend their well defined "plans" as a strategy where they have made quite a number of choices. However, these choices tend to be developed using very conventional models and mindsets;

  • Mitigating risk
  • Evolution (not revolution) of the business model (sustainable innovation)
  • Productivity, efficiency and other cost levers to improve profitability

This conventional approach often results in flat to either slightly increased or slightly decreased revenue and profits. Inline with many other contenders in that given market space.

Leaders, genuine breakaway differentiators, do not leverage conventional wisdom nor conventional models.

They understand that strategy, and the choices required to win, are underpinned by risk and courage.

While risks are typically associated with negative outcomes, exponential growth and differentiation is found in the risk areas that are in fact opportunities for innovation, growth, and competitive advantage.

Risk taking, not risk mitigation, is the key area of exploration and choice.

Within large organisations there exists an invisible barrier to busting the status quo. Everybody can say no, but very few people can say yes. The result is great ideas, and hence choices, often never see the light of day, let alone given an opportunity to succeed.

Courage is providing well thought through options, from do nothing, to radical disruptive innovation, especially focussed on the business model, that can be robustly debated and discussed. The courage to engage in that discussion and explore each option equally asking the simple question "what would need to be true" for that option to succeed.

A number of companies are currently in the midst of 2024 planning. Planning is not strategy and plans should be developed after a clear, concise and communicated strategy is finalised.

That said, if you or your organisation is currently reviewing your strategy, here are six risk and courage areas you can ask to bring a greater focus on risk taking choices and the courage to make the hard, difficult and unconventional choices.

1. Risk Appetite:

Courageous decision-makers are often more willing to embrace higher levels of risk. They have the confidence to take calculated risks that can lead to significant rewards.

Conversely, leaders who are risk-averse may shy away from bold decisions even when potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Ask: What is the risk of doing nothing?

Ask: What is the risk of doing broadly the same as everyone else in our market?

Ask: Will cost reduction initiatives deliver growth?

2. Innovation and Disruption:

Courageous leaders are more likely to champion innovative strategies that disrupt existing norms and markets. They have the vision to see opportunities where others may see only risks.

Embracing innovation can involve taking significant risks, such as investing in unproven technologies or entering new, uncharted markets.

Ask: What is the true, hiding in plain sight, unmet market need?

Ask: Why hasn’t anyone addressed that need yet?

Ask: What would need to be true to capture that opportunity?

3. Decision Speed:

Courageous decision-makers are often more decisive. They don't let fear of risk paralyse them, and this can lead to faster decision-making.

In rapidly changing environments, swift decision-making can be crucial to capitalize on opportunities or respond effectively to emerging risks.

Ask: Is data fallacy hurting us not helping us (here are 10 well known data fallacies https://www.litera.com/blog/a-quick-guide-to-data-fallacies-and-how-to-avoid-them/)?

Ask: Do we have the ability (historically and moving forward) to rapidly pivot if the decision needs to be adjusted?

Ask: Why do so many people need to be involved?  Notwithstanding decisions, especially in large companies, cannot be made in isolation, but they shouldn’t become referendums.

4. Leading Change:

Courageous leaders are more adaptable and willing to lead change. They understand that avoiding or worse, resisting change can be riskier in the long run than leading it.

In industries facing disruption, leaders who courageously advocate for, lead and empower change can position their organisations to thrive amid uncertainty.

Ask: What are the change leadership models our leaders will use to lead change?

Ask: Without change being led, truly led, what are the chances of success for a bold disruptive strategy?

Ask: What would need to change, radically change, to underpin success.  The business model? Talent model? Customer delight model? Risk model? Economic model? Operating model? Or all of the above and HOW will these models be changed

5. Communication and Alignment:

Courageous leaders can inspire and rally their teams around a common vision, especially when pursuing risky strategies. They can communicate the rationale behind their decisions effectively.

Aligning teams and stakeholders is vital for the successful execution of risky strategies, as it ensures everyone is on board with the chosen path.

Ask: Is our strategy clear and concise?  Or is it vague, general, and filled with business buzzword bingo

Ask: Can (or will) every employee be able to both articulate and understand the strategy and the role they play in its success?  If not, why not and if not, how can that be corrected

Ask: How different does our strategy sound and feel to both known and unheralded competitors?

6. Learning from Experiments:

Courageous decision-makers are hyper-experimenters. They view experiments as a learning opportunity rather than worthless investment and risk. They are more likely to encourage a culture where employees feel safe to undertake many experiments and learn from their outcomes and observations.

This willingness to embrace experimentation as a part of the growth process can lead to innovation and resilience.

Ask: Are we doing enough experiments – both large and small?

Ask: Do we provide the right environment and empowerment for experiments to occur naturally?

Ask: Do we have a process to scale successful experiments?

Summary

Great game-changing strategies require choice. A choice to take risk not mitigate it and a choice to courageously make choices that break with conventional wisdom.

Asking the above questions will not give you the answer to which of the options you are considering is the better option, but hopefully these questions will help you in your process of choosing. Especially in forcing you to think bigger, bolder and better (exponentially) and allow you to escape the conventional "annual planning process" that is the most conventional of all models (and very incremental at best).

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Sales

Why Outcome-Based Selling in today's VUCA world massively outperforms Product-Led Selling
Thinkers360
January 10, 2023
 

Outcome-based selling is a sales approach that focuses on helping customers achieve specific outcomes or goals, rather than simply selling them a product or service. This approach is gaining popularity in many industries, as it helps salespeople better understand the needs and challenges of their customers and allows them to tailor their solutions to meet those needs. In contrast, product-based selling is a more traditional approach that focuses on selling specific products or services, regardless of the needs or goals of the customer.

There are several reasons why outcome-based selling is often considered to be a better approach than product-based selling:

  1. It helps salespeople build stronger relationships with customers: By focusing on helping customers achieve their desired outcomes, salespeople can build trust and credibility with their customers, as they are seen as being more concerned with the customer's needs than simply making a sale. This can lead to stronger, more enduring relationships with customers, which can be particularly valuable in industries where customer loyalty is important.

  2. It allows salespeople to differentiate themselves: In many cases, customers have a variety of options when it comes to purchasing products or services. By focusing on outcomes, salespeople can differentiate themselves from competitors who are simply selling products or services. This can help salespeople stand out in a crowded market and increase their chances of making a sale.

  3. It enables salespeople to create value for customers: By helping customers achieve specific outcomes, salespeople can create value for their customers. This can be particularly valuable in industries where the value of a product or service is difficult to quantify, as it allows salespeople to clearly demonstrate the value of their offerings to customers.

  4. It allows salespeople to be more consultative: Outcome-based selling often involves working closely with customers to understand their needs and challenges and helping them identify the best solutions to meet those needs. This consultative approach can be particularly effective in industries where customers value expertise and guidance, as it allows salespeople to position themselves as trusted advisors.

  5. It can lead to longer-term customer relationships: By helping customers achieve specific outcomes, salespeople can create value for their customers and build strong, trusting relationships. This can lead to longer-term customer relationships, as customers are more likely to return to the salesperson or company when they have additional needs or challenges.

Overall, outcome-based selling is a more customer-centric approach that can be more effective at building strong, lasting relationships with customers and differentiating salespeople from competitors. It allows salespeople to create value for customers, be more consultative, and position themselves as trusted advisors. While product-based selling can still be effective in some cases, outcome-based selling is often a better approach for creating long-term value for both salespeople and their customers.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Business Outcome-based Go-To-Client Model Innovation: Tips to Help You Achieve Success
Thinkers360
October 30, 2022

Business-to-Business (B2B) Outcome-based go-to-client models are gaining popularity as companies seek more effective, measurable and lasting ways to deliver meaningful, sustainable innovation and differentiation to underpin growth. These new go-to-client models, which focus on clients desired business outcomes instead of the products sold, help companies build fundamentally different relationships with their clients. This approach also enables sellers to identify and target high-potential clients in ways their competitors either can't or won't. By shifting from a product and/or service-centric strategy to a business outcome-based one, businesses can accelerate innovation, reach new clients and achieve growth results not previously achievable. This blog post shares 5 tips for business outcome-based go-to client model innovation that will help you as your organization transform.

What made you successful won't make you successful.

Success will be achieved through transformation, not incrementalism.

Organizational Buy-in and Commitment

Before you begin designing your outcome-based go-to-client models, you need to ensure you have the buy-in and commitment of key stakeholders across the organization. This means that business leaders, marketing and sales leaders, and customer service teams are involved and working towards achieving the same outcomes. To get buy-in and commitment, you need to demonstrate how business outcome-based strategies will benefit the organization and its stakeholders. The challenge here is intellectually every executive "gets it". In fact they may suggest they are already outcome-based. Yet more often than not the behaviour of the organisation is still product/service centric. The buy-in sought here is to consistently challenge the status quo. To consistently challenge "are we really there yet". This is required from every leader at every level.

Define Your Outcomes

Before you begin designing your outcome-based go-to-client model, you first need to define your desired outcomes. What is the problem you’re trying to solve? What are you hoping the new model will achieve? While you can select a few primary outcomes, you shouldn’t try to address too many goals at once. Doing so will make it difficult to prioritize efforts and achieve success quickly. It might also lead to more limited innovation and missed opportunities. often the simplest of all is opportunity creation outside of IT. Measured in highly qualified funnel (qualified using a 9 stage co-created business case approach). But it is not the only metric, another may be sales conversion / close rates (as an example).

Think big....start small....learn fast and scale success.

Identify Your New Clients

After you’ve defined your desired outcomes, you need to identify who your new clients are. Business outcomes are not owned by IT. Ideas generated are designed to address the business outcomes, thus the buyers who care are the executives who own these outcomes. This will require a significant shift in the relationships your company and sellers have with your clients. Both cultivating and nurturing new relationships will be critical. Not just occasional pleasantry based meetings, but genuine relationships that have active action around unlocking latent opportunities for both. If your teams don't have highly detailed action orientated, measured and coached relationship action plans outside of IT, your company will never transform.

Massively Embrace An Ecosystem Approach

No company can unlock latent market demand on their own, in fact not even with a single partner. To change business models, operating models, customer experience models etc, companies often need many other companies to assist. In fact in a recent outcome-led opportunity changing just one critical (but broad reaching) business process it was identified that 8 external companies and 9 internal business functions would need to be involved. Becoming highly adept at partnering, quickly, effectively, with solid communication and shared goals is one of the keys to successfully executing an outcome-led go-to-client model. If you don't partner well, this will be a critical focus area for you.

Client Delight

In recent years Customer Success has been defined as a services based strategy. Shifting focus from make, sell and support, to a more in-depth services relationship. Especially as the world has moved to managed or "as a service" offerings. Customer Success, whilst an excellent foundation, however, is no longer enough. If everyone is doing it, how are you different? The new bar for success is Client Delight. B2C companies get this. Think about the most successful B2C companies in the world, their customers love them. Everything they do has the customer experience at the core of strategy, execution and innovation. B2B companies are far far behind. Whilst B2B companies often talk about customer experience, when you go and talk to their clients there is an overwhelming sense of "they are very hard to do business with". The winners, the B2B companies that will fundamentally change the game will put Client Delight, true delight, absolutely as the corner stone of every strategy, investment, focus and execution decision.

Conclusion

Business Outcome-based go-to-client models are the game-changer you've been looking for. But viewing it as an incremental evolution of your current model is the wrong approach. It is a shift in your business model, operating model, client delight model, economic model and risk model.

Transforming these models is not easy, but for B2B companies, there is a massive massive unmet market need, just waiting for a bold courageous organization to grab it.

Will it be yours?

See blog

Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Go-To-Client Model Innovation
Thinkers360
October 25, 2022

Drucker famously said results are obtained by exploiting opportunities not by solving problems.

In today's increasingly VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), inflationary and COVID-recovering world many organisations are struggling to achieve the growth they desire.  Their portfolios are the richest and broadest they have ever been.  Their cost structures or more lean than ever.  Productivity is through the roof, in fact people are working harder than they ever have.

What made them successful will not make them successful.

The predominant go-to- market model remains a make, sell, ship, support style model.  It is 100% based in the selfish goal of a sale.  For many companies with heavy intense end of quarter focus to bring forward as much business as possible into the current quarter.

What is being missed is the massive unmet market need.  Most companies are simply not getting the business impacting results desired from their technology investments.

Change is now the key lever to success.  Both transformative and tactical change.  Research shows  that the large percentage of change efforts fail to deliver the desired outcomes.  Hereinlies the massive unmet market opportunity.  What companies are really selling is change.  The ability to help companies successfully change.

This requires a vastly different approach.  A shift from a go-to-market model to a go-to-client model that recognises change is hard, change requires an ecosystem, and a different set of mindsets and behaviours.

In a recent example for a 5G asset tracking idea, it was determined that 9 external companies and 11 internal functional groups would need to rally around the program of change to change the operating, financial, risk and commercial models including changes in business processes, technology and the ways in which people worked.

Helping your clients successfully execute the changes they seek is the ONLY path to future success. 

Those that continue to focus on selling, versus those that are deeply committed to change success, will fail to grow.

Those who embrace a differentiated go-to-client model, driven by client delight through change leadership will see significant growth.

See blog

Tags: Customer Experience, Leadership, Sales

Opportunities

1 Business
Executive Sales Leadership Coaching

Location: Virtual    Date Available: October 01st, 2022     Fees: $10,000 per month (per team)

Submission Date: October 25th, 2022     Service Type: Service Offered

Proven executive sales leader coach in pragmatically shift the mindsets and behaviours of sales leaders and teams to a genuine outcome-based selling approach.

If your team is struggling to make the transition it is likely due to tactical operational pressures, short-term focus and a mechanical focus on process. To successfully make this shift requires new and different ways of thinking executed within the day to day operating environment. Essentially changing the jets on the plane at 25,000 feet.

Using our proven ALLURE model I can help your team build the desire, courage and insight to successfully become the sales leaders you wish them to become.

Respond to this opportunity

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