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Situational Fluency: The Key To A Meaningful And Intelligent Conversation

Accessing and engaging Decision Makers into an intelligent and meaningful business conversation is perhaps the most important step in a sales process. In fact, the key to higher sales conversions and shorter sales cycle lies in your company’s ability to not only access Decision Makers, but deploy sales resources who are skilled and experienced at engaging these Decision Makers by demonstrating a “situational fluency” in their initial interactions. I define sales resources as the marketer, lead development rep (LDR) or sales development rep (SDR) that is responsible for accessing and engaging Decision Makers through content distribution, web interactions, phone interactions or field appointments. In short, “situational fluency” is the ability to articulate an understanding of the challenges and responsibilities that a Decision Maker faces in their functional role within an enterprise. It is the ability to capture mindshare by being able to the tools and solutions that might best align with a Decision Maker’s specific challenges, priorities, and responsibilities. As I have previously written, all Decision Makers have needs. They have needs because as a Decision Maker they are accountable to fix the things that are broken in their areas of responsibility, as well as to improve upon those things that aren’t broken. To demonstrate a situational fluency in regards to those things that might be broken or might could be improved, your sales resources will have to be trained and experienced in the following three areas:

  1. Responsibilities Of The Role – your sales resources (marketers, LDRs and SDRs) must be trained to have a broad understanding of the functional role that your Decision Makers play within the enterprise and the breadth of responsibilities that come with that role. They need to understand how the decision makers and their functional responsibilities contribute to the sustained profits of the enterprise. For example, a company whose primary offering is a workforce management system and targets a company’s most senior HR executive should train their sales resources to have a broad understanding of an HR executive’s role. They should be trained to understand that the primary role of a top HR executive is to be responsible and accountable for all the elements of Human Capital Management. That in addition to workforce management, these Decision Makers will be concerned about such things as workforce optimization, workforce acquisition, training and development, salaries and benefits and succession planning. Sales resources who have a broad understanding of the role are better equipped with the functional acumen to have a meaningful conversation that holds the interest of the Decision Maker
  1. Common Challenges In The Role – in addition to having a broad understanding of your decision maker’s role and responsibilities, your sales resources (marketers, LDRs and SDRs) should be trained on the common challenges that your Decision Makers face across all their areas of responsibility. In the example above, sales resources need to be trained not only on the common challenges in “workforce management,” but they should also be trained on common challenges in relations to Human Capital Management in general. Obviously, your sales resources will be trained to have a more in-depth understanding of an HR Executive’s challenges as they relate to workforce management. But having a broad knowledge and understanding of the other areas of concern and challenges faced by your Decision Makers will equip your sales resources to navigate conversations that capture multiple pain points that can be leveraged into an offering of tools and solutions. You will find that your most valuable sales resources are those who have developed their “situational fluency” through decision maker dialogs held across multiple industries. Sales resources which have developed a situational fluency in a specific functional area through dialogs across multiple industries are more effective as they are better equipped to lead conversations that become “consultative” in nature and more valuable to the decision maker.
  1. Tools & Solutions For The Role – sales resources (marketers, LDRs and SDRs) who are engaged in a conversation with a Decision Maker and have articulated an understanding of their role, their responsibilities and their challenges have the greatest opportunity to offer a suggestion of tools, services and solutions that benefit the target company and the Decision Maker directly. Thus, your sales resources should be trained on how to best align your company’s offerings to the needs and interest of a Decision Maker. The alignment of tools, services, and solutions is always more effective when they can be directly tied to multiple areas of concerns and challenges. In our HR-Executive example above, a well trained sales resource would have the situational fluency to lead the HR Executive through a consultative dialog uncovering his/her challenges as they relate to Human Capital Management. Then, tie those needs to the advantages of deploying a workforce management system that tightly integrates multiple HR processes (i.e. Time, Attendance, Payroll, Compliance, Talent Acquisition, Benefits) into a single platform with role-based interfaces for employees and management. If your sales resources have been properly trained, and they have a broad understanding of the Decision Maker’s role, the responsibilities and the challenges, then they will be equipped to lead a decision maker to specific solutions through a “consultative dialog” that is empowered by the situational fluency that they articulate. Again, you will find that your most effective sales resources are those who have gained their situational fluency across multiple industries, as they are equipped to reference tools and solutions deployed by other industries to similar problems. This type of situational fluency is always appreciated by Decision Makers and adds value to the integration and their day.

So in closing, let’s not forget that engaging a Decision Maker into an intelligent and meaningful conversation is perhaps the most important step in the sales process and is key to higher conversion rates. That the key to higher sales conversions lies in our ability to deploy sales resources who can demonstrate and articulate a “situational fluency” in the Decision Maker’s role, responsibility, and challenges, in order to be align our services and offerings to the benefit of our customers and our bottom line.


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