Why does your business exist? It may seem an easy enough question, but you’d be surprised by how many marketers and salespeople can’t provide a simple answer. Sadly, when your own salespeople can’t articulate your business vision, it has a direct impact on business success…
Vision is vital. It’s both the motivation behind and the future ahead of your business. Your vision is your ‘why’, the reason your business exists; its purpose. Vision usually follows a ‘spark’, a flash of inspiration, frustration or a gleam of an opportunity. That eureka moment when you thought, “I want to create that. I want to help people or businesses to change. I want to do that in a new way.”
Whenever your business fails to share its vision, it risks extinguishing that initial spark. Your vision is a declaration of why the business exists in the first place. It’s why you, as a founder, get out of bed in the morning, and why anyone should want to work with your organization. It’s about who you want to serve, and how you want to serve them.
A powerful vision is both a compass and a rudder. First it provides direction for you, your team and anyone keen to work with you, and then it steers you toward the opportunities that will help grow your business. Outside of your business, the same strong vision inspires confidence in your prospects while providing clear insight for why your business exists, and why they should work with you.
So whatever the size of your business – whether you are a scaling startup or a Fortune 1000 business – it’s critical to be clear about this vision and to articulate it clearly throughout your business and your sales channel.
Understanding that there is a link between vision and sales is an important step. But you’ll still need to ensure that the vision makes sense to your colleagues, customers and prospects if you are to succeed in spreading confidence, boosting revenue and inspiring growth. Here are some common issues that may be obscuring your vision, together with some ideas for gaining clarity:
You don’t have a clear vision in your pre-sales materials. There’s this myth that a clearly-defined vision statement defines or limits your business growth, or that a vision is just an exercise for big corporates. In reality – regardless of the size of your business – a lack of clear vision confuses prospects, slows down the sales process and may result in less-than-ideal prospects being forced through the sales funnel. A clear vision helps the right prospects to see why they should work with you.
You have a vision but no one outside marketing or management knows what it is. Making your vision visible, public and shared across your entire business will keep your team – whether it’s six people or six hundred – on the same page and in the right direction. This includes everyone involved in pre-sales, customer service and sales. Your vision should never be ‘owned’ by a specific department – whether it’s management or marketing – and it should never end up being something that only sees light of day on boardroom slide decks.
Different salespeople have different interpretations of your vision. It’s impossible for prospects to feel that you have clear direction if everyone appears to have a different way of sharing your company vision.
You have a sales/marketing gap. A shared vision, bridging any communications gap between sales and marketing, will provide a mutual benefit and will prevent silos, improve customer experience and provide clearer opportunities for revenue. Vision is one area where a gap may be evident, but it can be symptomatic of other communication and ownership challenges.
You think a set vision will limit your sales. The opposite is true. Trying to sell ‘anything to anyone’ is damaging to your business, exhausting for anyone working in implementation and customer service (because you’ve sold to a less-than-ideal customer), and frustrating for customers.
You think a defined vision limits your target sales audience. Again, the opposite is true. You need your vision statement so that you can attract the right opportunities to your business. Otherwise you’ll be talking to too many people and being vague. Discussing the problems that you solve or the opportunity that you represent with your customers – and being as specific as possible – will bring the right prospects to you.
You don’t think your business is large enough for a vision. This kind of thinking simply makes what you do smaller. Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business, a startup, a mid-sized firm or a corporate, there’s something you want to change about the world. Maybe that’s a more efficient way of working, an innovative product, a money saving technique, or a simple but brilliant revolutionary idea. If you truly believe in your vision then you’ll know that regardless of the size of your business, you need to “think big” in terms of impact, passion and service.
Your vision isn’t memorable for anyone you are selling to. Whether it’s a sales conversation, a meeting at an event, or a sales pitch, you’ll want to be memorable. Having a vision which you share as part of your sales conversations can help with this. Just make sure that you are consistent and share a clear vision. It should be a stake in the ground: a declaration of what is possible, what can be changed, and how it will make things better. Remember; it is your vision for a new world, and the genuine possibility of transformation, that will drive prospects to work with you.Your vision statement is not focused on the people that you want to serve.
The best vision statements instantly connect with your target audience. So, if you want to transform the lives of solopreneurs, then include them in your vision statement. If you’re working with small businesses, mention them. If you’re working with a specific sector, then put them in your vision statement. It’s important to be genuine because you also need to have that connection with prospects. They must believe that you want to bring about real in their industry, in their business, or in the markets that they operate in.
Your vision is not used throughout the sales process. Your vision must be repeated, shared and supported throughout your entire sale process. From the moment a prospect first speaks with you, meets you at an event, or asks you a question – all the way through to marketing materials, RFPs, case studies, sales meetings, presentations and pitches. If you think that the vision you believe in is not in-line with the prospect you are sharing it with, then you’re speaking to the wrong prospects – or you don’t have the right vision. Get this right, and the deliberate commitment and clear direction offered by your vision will dramatically shorten your sales process, attract and engage ideal prospects, and help everyone across your organization to support one another throughout the sales process.
Hazel Butters is a sales accelerator who helps startups to increase sales. She advises entrepreneurs how to structure their sales process to bring in consistent revenue, target relevant prospects, and get comfortable asking for the sale. She has worked with hundreds of startups as well as technology vendors such as IBM, Dell and Oracle. Learn more here or email her at email@example.com.