Bringing Precision To Conversations™

History of TheNaviGuide™

A conversation management platform used by salespeople, sales trainers and managers

We didn’t set out to create TheNaviGuide it simply evolved over time.  Over the past twenty years, we have used an iterative process to research, design, field test, refine and deploy a better sales call approach and tool – – one that builds sustainable revenue growth from year-to-year.

We tested countless potential approaches and tools that were derived from multiple theories and concepts including communication theory, decision theory, complexity theory, conversation theory, facilitation theory, and journalism.  Our clients nicknamed this solution TheNaviGuide™.

History of TheNaviGuide

The Idea (1995)

The original idea for TheNaviGuide™ was developed by Rick Longenecker while working as a sales leader in the Fortune 200.  Rick found that year-after-year revenue goals were set 10 to 20% higher than the previous year while selling expenses were flat or cut by 5 to 10%.

Asking salespeople to work longer hours and to “work smarter” wasn’t enough to get the job done.  These cliches  actually hurt morale and made the problem worse. 

What was needed was a new sales approach that would bring precision – effectiveness, efficiency, and predictability – –  to sales execution.  As they say “necessity is the mother of all invention.”

The First Experiment (1998)

The initial focus was to improve sales close ratios and increase average revenue per sale.  We were under never ending pressure to increase sales 20 to 30% while keeping selling expenses flat. 

The main blocker to achieving these goals was the exchange of information between the buyer and seller during sales conversations.  We were ineffective, inefficient and unpredictable. 

To survive we had shorten the duration of sales conversation and reduce sales cycle so we could make execute more sales conversations without adding staff.  We also needed to increase our average revenue per sale without discounting or reducing our price.  

So, we experimented with using one slide to visualize for the buyer and the seller all of the problems that the seller could solve for the buyer.  The impact was stunning because the buyer and the seller were literally “on the same page” for cross-selling.  The Sales Interview Guide was born!

Qualify The Buyer (2000)

Our clients started to use TheNaviGuide™ to qualify buyers consistently from sales conversation-to-conversation and salesperson-to-person.  Our analysis found that salespeople were not using the right questions in the right sequence to identify the right solution to explain and demonstrate to the buyer.

To solve this problem we experimented with visually presenting the sequence of questions and answer options for the buyer and the seller to simply click on during sales calls. 

The impact exceeded our expectations because salespeople could qualify the highest priority buyer problem in minutes rather than days or weeks…without over talking or explaining.

The  Sales Technology Revolution (2005)

While we were getting better at qualifying buyers, technology began to open doorways that we never imaged were possible for demonstrating offerings, pricing, proposals and objection handling.

We began to experiment with making information instantly available “live-time” during sales conversations.  This equipped salespeople to stop prematurely ending sales conversation to gather the data and schedule follow-up conversations with buyers. 

We starting using hyperlinks to access information, documents, and calculators from websites, online sales libraries, and other sources.  Buyers were shocked at the transparency of the sales conversation and the seller’s ability to instantly answer questions…without over talking or explaining.

Moving Beyond The Sales Call (2010)

As clients used TheNaviGuide™ across all five steps of the sales conversation they started to ask us to apply the concept to other complex and technical conversations that they were struggling to exchange information in.

We started to build TheNaviGuide™ for post-merger integration, business plans, process and procedure manuals, sales technology training programs and a host of others.  The transparency and speed with which information can be exchanged when using TheNaviGuide™ works in all conversation environments.  The more complex the conversation the better TheNaviGuide™ works!

The Future of TheNaviGuide™

Now that we’ve perfected the application of TheNaviGuide™ for Sales Conversations we’re looking to go completely digital to build, present, record, track and report information exchanged during sales conversations.  More and more clients are using TheNaviGuide™ for Process Training for their employees and for Business Planning Conversations. 

TheNaviGuide™ is becoming popular as a meeting management tool for Board Meetings and Investor Relations.

Going completely digital will exponentially increase the speed to build and deploy TheNaviGuide™.  It will also democratize who can build and deploy TheNaviGuide™ for the “do-it-yourself” market. 

Soon, TheNaviGuide™ Conversation Management Platform will become a SaaS platform. This will bring us one step closer to harnessing the information gathering power of TheNaviGuide™ and will realize our dream of bringing precision to sales execution!