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The Sales Evangelist

Jeff Koser, Donald Kelly, Selling To Zebra, CRM

Do you find yourself all over the place? You could be putting your efforts into selling to so many customers right now when all you should be focusing on are zebras.

In this episode, find out who are the zebras, why the zebras, and how you can be effective in sales through this approach.

Jeff Koser is the co-founder of Selling to Zebras, a sales software program that also has a methodology behind it. If you love processes and you want to be effective with your prospecting, check out what Jeff has been doing. They also have a book of the same name, Selling to Zebras: How to Close 90% of the Business You Pursue Faster, More Easily, and More Profitably.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jeff:

What is Selling to Zebras:

  • A zebra is easy to spot. The first time they learn what it is, they know exactly what they’re looking at.
  • Perfect prospects are zebras. When you define it well enough, it should be just easier to spot them compared to all the other animals.
  • People aren’t going to buy from you if you can’t establish unique, compelling value.

The 7 Things that Make Up Every Deal in a B2B Environment:

  1. Company
  2. Operations
  3. Power (ultimate decision maker, economic buyer)
  4. Funding
  5. Value
  6. Technology
  7. Service

They score one of these in a red, yellow, green format from zero to four (0-1 are red, 2 is yellow, 3-4 are green). Each one of the attributes has a score and a color. That tells you where the holes are in your deal. The total has a score which totals down to either a red, yellow, or green for the whole deal.

Benefits of the Zebra Scoring System:

  • It’s very visual. It’s easy to communicate. It’s common language.
  • You can use this throughout the entire company (sales, delivery, product, R&D, finance, HR, etc)
  • It allows your people to understand who you pursue and why your pursue them.

What Business Problem Are You Solving?

Here’s an exercise for your management team: Take a 3×3 piece of paper and let them write the business problem you solve for your customers.

What they’ll start doing is describing their product or what it is they do. That’s not the business problem you solve. At least not in the eyes of your customer.

This is one of the key things the zebra does in the operation section because you get to define what business problem do you solve that creates value for your customers such that power would buy it. This shifts the focus away from your product and it makes solving the problem and the buyer the hero as opposed to your product being the hero.

How Selling to Zebras as a Software Company Came to Be:

They pursued funding but didn’t get any. The problem is until they’re able to prove they’re a software company, potential investors would value 1x times their sales. This means they literally would have given the whole company to get any kind of funding at all. Jeff worked full time in his business, took a VP of Sales position for a company, and paid himself little or nothing, selling to zebras, took all the money, and invested in building the software.

Selling to Zebras Software versus CRM:

  • They integrate with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. But the difference is you sell and present from the platform.
  • The software will create an executive level presentation for you that has preliminary business case after feeding just a couple pieces of information.
  • You have a powerful penetration tool that earns you the right to have a conversation with a well-placed executive.
  • The goal is to have the first meeting with Power (the person that can buy even without a budget or can move budgeted dollars around so they can buy from you if you can establish prudent business value)

How the Process Works:

  1. Selling to Zebras has partners that will verify what you believe a zebra to be. They will then tell Selling to Zebras what business problem you solve and then when you solve it, what value was created.
  2. The Zebra shows you where you’ve been successful. The software helps you find more of those customers that look just like that.
  3. Then they have messaging that allows you to build that business case with simple inputs since they know you’ve done it before.
  4. Those information lives inside the software so when you’re done, you know where you are.
  5. You’re ready for a review with your manager if you’re a seller or with the management team if you’re a manager or the board if you’re the CEO.

Does this free the seller of doing the heavy-lifting?

No, because you have to understand the business problem you solve for the customer. And Power can feel that. People still sell. People buy emotionally and back it up with facts. You still have to be a person. You still have to care about their business. But before they want to have a relationship with you, you have to prove you understand their problem and you really care enough. The only way you can do that is by becoming an expert.

Can anyone use this solution?

Selling to Zebras caters to B2B companies. This will work if a business case would help you sell more.

Jeff’s Major Takeaway:

If you’re a B2B seller and you can’t articulate the business case, you haven’t earned the right to ask for the business.

Episode Resources:

Check out Selling to Zebras or connect with Jeff on Linkedin.

Read the book Selling to Zebras by Jeff Koser and Chad Koser

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Join the  TSE Hustler’s League. We have two groups for this upcoming semester – One focused on win rates and the other group focused on business building and development.

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About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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