What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team: using Option Solving?

At a recent client meeting, we were reviewing his strategy toward meeting his team’s sales objectives for the year.  Apart from building and motivating his own sales and marketing teams, he realized he had to tap into an internal, built in salesforce of regional leaders and customer advocates. He was then left to figure out his best option for doing that.

As he was familiar with the option solving format, we immediately started discussing the rationale for doing this, as well as thinking about the possibilities available. His natural, lead-in question came out as follows: “What is my optimum approach to win-over Regional Leaders and Customer Advocates as my internal-extended sales team; considering 1) cannot afford additional F/T salespeople at this time, 2) RLs and CAs have lots of client contact, 3) challenges in making referrals a priority, and 4) our company has a great market reputation?” He restricted himself to his top four considerations, even though there were several others, so as not to further complicate his final resolution.

With his question ready, he then set to work on two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, as they would help focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

He then created bookends which turned out to be: “Send out regular notes requesting their assist” and “Good will party every month to catch RL & CA attention”: both of which were his least likely possibilities for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge him to consider and produce his most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

We then challenged him to produce at least five realistic options, so as to stretch his range of possibilities as much as possible.  Feel free to review what turned out to be his six proposed options in our Latest Example, one of which was: “Option- F: Get CEO to meet with self and Regional Leaders to negotiate an optimum approach.”

With his “pictogram” now in place, he would be able to review, adjust or add to it over next few hours, while things were still fresh. He would then set aside some time for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Even after that choice, he could then decide to proceed with “Peeling the Onion,” in order to give him additional insights on how to move forward.

In fact, the latter was what he decided to do, so we will review that part of this exercise in a couple of weeks. What option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “Peeling the Onion: What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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