Consultative Versus Competitive: Bloomerang’s Rare (But Effective) Sales Approach

By: Teresa Weirich

January 23, 2018

When most sales leaders think about software sales, their minds take them down a linear path of leads, opportunities, and driving to that elusive product demo as soon as possible. Most sales leaders want prospects to see the solution up close and visualize how their team could use it—usually with the help of common use cases and case studies to paint an accurate picture. And while that’s the approach most SaaS companies take in regards to their sales processes, Bloomerang, a Nonprofit donor management and fundraising software, has chosen a very different sales methodology that’s paid dividends.

Steven Shattuck, Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang, explained that rather than try to set up a demo of their Nonprofit software immediately, they actually delay the process as long as they can (usually a few weeks). Why? Due to Bloomerang’s unique position in the market, the company has adopted a firm belief in consulting vs. competing. In fact, they go to such lengths to equip their prospects and to thoroughly understand their needs before giving a demo that their demo to close rate is nearly 60%—an unheard of rate in the hyper-competitive Nonprofit landscape. Not only that, Bloomerang actually gives their prospects deliverables in the form of plans and specs that they can freely use with another vendor. However, because of Bloomerang’s intentional, hands-on consultative sales process, that scenario is fortunately very rare.

What does Bloomerang’s consultative approach entail, and how is the sales team using it to not only win customers, but improve the sales process at the same time? Let’s take a look.

The Bloomerang Way: Consulting vs. Competing

From its early days, Bloomerang saw one of its biggest differentiators very clearly: hire Nonprofit professionals who can act as consultants, and teach them the skills of sales, rather than the other way around. Because of that game-changing decision early on, the company’s sales team is comprised of experts that have served in various Nonprofits, ranging from animal shelters to YMCA chapters. When one of the company’s sales professional has a conversation with a prospect, they can truly relate to the fundraising situation or capital campaign need, guide a thorough needs assessment, and demonstrate significant value—all because they’ve walked a mile in the prospect’s shoes.

Steven explained that Bloomerang’s sales team is highly specialized and therefore the team members don’t compete with one another in the traditional sense. On a daily basis, they’re reviewing calls and discovery notes together, asking questions of others, and emailing tips and suggestions out to the team. The company truly believes that when one prospect or sales professional “wins”, they all win together.

One of the ways the team learns, iterates, and builds upon the success it’s already seen is by utilizing a guided selling platform to assist their sales team through the first two steps of the sales process: the discovery call and the all-important needs assessment.

How Agility Has Helped Improve The Sales Process

Every Nonprofit has its own complications, objections, and nuances throughout the sales process. Steven and his team recognize that there isn’t (and never will be) a one-size-fits-all solution or conversation. That’s why the team uses Costello’s agile sales platform to help their sales professionals stay on script and navigate tough objections, rare situations, and vastly different personas—all while staying on message and articulating the conversation in a way that the prospect understands.

Each Sales Professional Has a Voice In The Process

At Bloomerang, collaboration and constant improvement is not only encouraged, it’s expected. According to Steven, sales team members pick up on new questions and suggest changes to the discovery call and needs assessment templates on nearly a daily basis. Thanks to their agile sales process, they’re able to practice agility by moving questions and altering scenarios, ultimately resulting in very refined personas that will only continue to improve.

Iteration and Improvement Never Stops

While the process of iterating and adapting will never end, Bloomerang’s sales team is now able to make the necessary changes while remaining confident that the new templates will guide their conversation through each answer, each scenario, and each objection. By adopting an agile process where sales professionals and sales leadership are equally involved, they’re able to achieve the ultimate goal: help the prospect succeed, no matter what.

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    Teresa Weirich

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