Two-Minute Sales Masterclass: Lenore Lang

By Jen Burns

As an experienced enterprise sales leader, Lenore Lang has learned a lot about working with both sales teams and customers. In this installment of our Two-Minute Sales Masterclass video series, Lenore explains how account executives can be successful with customers.

What goes into a good living account plan? Typically you want to have this living account plan where you’re going to put all of your notes from important meetings and next steps as well as record who you met with and maybe you add a briefing document to a relationship map. But it’s important to keep a historical record of what’s transpired in your relationship with the customer.

How do your account executives follow up post meeting? The best account executives are following up directly after the meeting with next steps in order to stay top of mind. The follow-up can really vary depending on who you’re meeting with; an executive may just want a text message and for you to follow up with their admin in order to schedule the next meeting. Maybe you want to make sure you got your points across and so you’re going to send a very succinct email with two sentences, three bullet points, and a closing ask.

Typically 10 minutes after a meeting I am taking all the things that are in my brain and I’m trying to write them down or type them into a digital canvas so that we can make sure we execute and prepare on the next meeting.

How do you uncover the motivation of the internal champion? In a sales cycle when you’re trying to understand what is the motivation of your champion that you’re working with, make sure you’re partnering along the way to make sure that they are getting their desired outcome as well. When it comes to pricing, typically I want to be very transparent with our champions, or the executives we’re working with. The way I’ve found to do this is that before you present a price, make sure you have demonstrated the value and that they understand the value before even putting any sort of number in front of the customer.

How do you keep a sales cycle moving? The best way to keep a sales cycle moving (and of course the faster the better) is to understand are there any compelling events. Do they have to have a solution to their problem by a given date and why? Often times again it’s about asking the hard questions. Why is this important to you? Will this provide you a new career path? Is this going to make you look good in front of your boss? Or is this going to solve a really hard problem that has been burning in the organization for such a long time.

What pep talk do you give to AEs? You’ve done the work; you’ve done the homework and preparation, now go execute. Make sure you close down that meeting and get the desired outcome that you prepared for so hard.

You’re 10 minutes out from the start of a meeting. What do you do? As I’ve gotten older and I’ve done this throughout the years, I’ve realized the nerves are actually excitement. They’re excitement for going into a meeting. I still do this to this day: I take three big deep breaths, tell myself it’s going to be okay, and walk in, knowing that it’s not nerves, it’s excitement.

What common mistakes do you see salespeople make? Not asking the hard questions. If you don’t ask, you don’t know if you’re in the same place you started. The biggest mistake I see is not asking.

We should also make sure that we’re going to be able to prove the value that exceeds their budget to make sure they’re going to see that return on investment that they’re expecting. I think the closer you can become to your customer and understand their culture, the more you become their trusted advisor. No matter what anyone says, people still want to buy from people. That’s the most important thing you can do: Make sure you become that trusted advisor to your internal champions. There really hasn’t been a meaningful sales cycle I’ve been a part of where your internal champions don’t have to go to bat for you.

What’s the one thing you want to communicate to a prospective client? So you’ve qualified the opportunity, you’ve done the hard work and the preparation. What is the problem you’re solving for the customer? And how are we going to execute upon that?

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