I had a dream. No really, I actually had this dream 2 nights before writing this on a flight to London, UK. Here is how the dream goes:

We at Sales for Life were in a “pitch”, I mean something from the movies. Each professional services firm was asked to wait outside in the lobby, while firm’s pitches in a boardroom in front of a buying committee of decision-makers. I can’t remember who’s business we were trying to win, but it was so important that I had to convince my business partners and VP Sales to allow me to run the meeting my way. There was heated debate, but I looked them all in the eyes and said: “I’ve got this”. I walk into a massive boardroom without the traditional laptop and PowerPoint slides, and all I do is hand the buying committee each a whiteboard marker. I explained that for the next hour, rather than Sales for Life “pitch”, I was going to use the $1,000’s dollars of intellectual horsepower in this room (and $100,000’s of opportunity cost to have these people all in one room), to create business plans and build the project ourselves… live in the meeting. In one hour, we could develop more than a sales enablement team trying to build a Social Selling program in a silo for 6 months. This would fast forward their digital efforts by 6 months! At first, the buying committee was shocked, as they were used to death by PowerPoint. Not today, today was about learning something they didn’t already know. After the 1-hour of rolled up sleeves, whiteboarding and business planning, it was clear that we were going to become their training/consulting partner off record.

74% of buyers choose the buyer that was FIRST to provide value and insight in the deal” – Forrester

According to the new CSO Insights study “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap”, 90% of buyers polled were willing to start talking with sellers early in their process…..


In fact, the buyers also said (93% of them) that they’re willing to discuss these new ideas so early that the idea should be deployed BEFORE or IMMEDIATELY into the 1st call. Let’s look at the BEFORE category (47% of buyers)…

Essentially 50% of buyers need to know you can add value and teach them something new BEFORE a meeting.


Welcome to Storyboarded – Sales Plays
If you leave teaching C-level executives up to your sales team, and they aren’t subject matter experts of your market, they just around going to have the business acumen to teach. Sure they can teach features and functions of your product, but not teach a CFO, CHRO, CMO ideas that push them off their status quo. Is your average seller reading 50 books, 50 podcasts, A YEAR on your market? Is your average seller defining where the market is going for your customers? Probably not. But someone(s) within your company is (that could be solution consultants, SVP Sales, CMO, etc.)..

Not unless you as a team combine your intellectual horsepower and develop sales plays that have been designed by your best and brightest to TEACH. Use your team to develop sales plays that are filled with:

Deep competitive intelligence that’s not easily accessible. Best is proprietary data your team has collected.

  • Customer roadmaps of likeminded companies to showcase how to improve BUSINESS OUTCOMES (if you’re interesting in learning about a company’s BUSINESS OUTCOMES without know it… read the Form 10K of their vertical’s public companies.)
  • Have them meet and talk to your customers. Peer to Peer learning is exceptional.

There are so many sales plays we’ve seen companies run. The best-in-class realize that TEACHING is to be done by sellers, but the curriculum they teach customers has someone else devise the textbook content in advance!

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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