Based in the heart of the City, Avention are a business that has seen massive change over the last 5-10 years. This has included a re-brand, the launch of new services, a 20% increase of international sales staff and now a new SVP of International Sales with a clear vision of how the business can take its next steps. In a time where buzz words such as ‘transformation’ are used for many incoming SD’s, it takes a more levelled industry expert to balance the need for improvements without unnecessary change.
Business Information Professionals
Paul has worked in Business Information for over 25 years and sales is a passion that goes beyond the day to day. As he describes the journey that Avention are on, it is apparent that this is more than just about shifting units, but making valuable contributions to client behaviours, and perhaps behaviours that have greater implications to the sales profession as a whole.
The change that Paul is looking to put in place has a clear theme; People, Knowledge and Language. He understands that sales performance is only as good as the people in the team, and has a clear picture of what that person looks like.
“We are looking for information experts” he describes “the individuals who have the in depth knowledge to know how information can deliver and contribute to our customers strategy, as well as those who can speak intelligently and understand what that strategy is”.
This is of course an interesting position from that of hiring the best sales professional who can adapt to any given sales proposition, but makes sense in the environment they are operating in and in a stage of growth that Avention are entering into.
‘Our products will always evolve, but the business is looking at how we can educate and utilise the information to add value to our customers, how we sell the services will have more relevance than evolving the service’.
Of course, the best people still need coaching and support, knowledge to drive performance, so Avention have also chosen to work with M3 who they consider to be strategic partners to the success of the evolution of the sales team.
One of the key elements to Paul’s vision of growth for the business comes in the form of language and can be explained further when referring to ‘how we speak to our customers’. He believes that to have strategic conversations that add value to customers, the sales professional needs to use strategic language that resonates with those senior buyers.
This requires above and below the line communication strategies, alignment to marketing messages and a clarity in the messages used to add value to the customer. It is this element that means that the ‘information expert’ is the best sales resource to deliver these messages.
M3 are a vital component, only the most aligned sales trainer / consultancy is trusted to join the three elements together. The Avention team can concentrate on bringing in the right people while the M3 relationship can ensure knowledge development and embedding a culture that has a commonality of language that resonates with the customer.
This is achieved because M3 are also a business that specialises in the information sector, with clients such as Oracle, Cisco and VMWare, it’s easy to see how and why they fit into the Avention plans.
For the greater good
Avention has a history built on providing solutions for sales professionals, from back in the days of OneSource that equipped the sales rep with the information required to know more about the buyer than their competitor.
In the modern day the minimum requirement for a professional is to have a basic understanding of the client, so Avention have needed to expand and innovate to equip the sales profession with solutions that get them even closer to the clients world.
These include services such as; Conceptual Search, Business Signals, Ideal Profile & Smartlists. Avention have evolved into a business that not only informs during meeting preparation but helps intelligent targeting and the timing of smart approaches into customers. The business therefore is not just helping the client sell more, but assisting them to sell smarter.
Paul is acutely aware of the challenges of the modern sales organisation and reflects on the negative view of the sales profession, but hopes that the relationships they have with their clients can benefit the profession as a whole. He uses the example of the banking sector;
“Unfortunately, customers are often not expecting a positive experience when speaking to their bank, therefore we have worked to help improve this customer interaction’
'We do a lot of business with high street banks and their Business Bank Managers, we help them to have meaningful conversations with their clients by alerting them to news and information about their world. The feedback is superb as the customer comes away with a refreshed view of their banks interest in their business’
This method of using information for intelligent sales approaches of course works across the sales process, with tools helping professionals sell and react to market conditions, timing can be everything.
Know your Customer
Paul concludes with further insight; ‘All sales leaders believe they understand their customers, but how many spend time with them, and how many can guarantee that this culture of knowing customers resonates through the organisation’.
'Aventon is continuously striving to know and understand our customers better, our product range compliments and enforces this commitment ... it gives customers of ours who are sales leaders so much more confidence that their teams really do understand their customers as well‘.
Paul Charmatz has a considered strategy to move the Avention sales team forward. Further to this, the product offering looks to be one that not only increases sales, but also sets about evolving the way in which sales people sell.
For more information on Avention visit: www.avention.com