Chapter 20: Miller Heiman
Miller Heiman was founded in 1976 and created Strategic Selling®, which is one of the most popular methodologies for managing high-value, complex sales. Each Miller Heiman program typically includes a colored worksheet, such as Strategic Selling’s infamous “Blue Sheet,” to guide the seller through the methodology. Miller Heiman has invested to “digitize” and embed their worksheets into popular CRM systems such as Salesforce.com. Miller Heiman has also added programs and capabilities over the years and, as part of MHI Global, offer a comprehensive solution set and global reach.
Miller Heiman primarily serves companies that offer high-value solutions to other businesses with sophisticated needs, such as technology, capital equipment and financial or professional services. These large purchases mean that many people in the buying organization influence the sale, and hence these are referred to as “complex sales.” Miller Heiman’s Strategic Selling® methodology provides a structured approach to manage and win these complex opportunities.
Miller Heiman serves primarily business-to-business clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small mid-sized businesses. They have a global footprint to serve global clients, and offer numerous public seminars in key cities around the world.
Miller Heiman provides numerous case studies on its website, with a particular emphasis on technology, health care, professional services and manufacturing clients. These case studies are well written and provide you with a good understanding of how clients implement their solution, and how they change and improve as a result. Miller Heiman’s programs are not overly complex, and can be implemented in organizations regardless of their size.
Miller Heiman has been named to Trainingindustry.com’s “Top 20 Sales Training Companies” list for the past six years, and to the “Top 20 Leadership Training Companies” list in 2014.
Miller Heiman organizes its comprehensive solution neatly into its Miller Heiman Sales System®, which contains fifteen programs and some supporting assessments and technology. Strategic Selling® is Miller Heiman’s most popular and strongest program. It is a methodology, or approach, for managing a high-value complex sale—one that has many people in the buying organization who influence the solution, deciding on the vendor who will deliver the solution.
The power of Strategic Selling® lies in the simplicity of its thinking and its proven ability to be culturally adopted by an organization. The methodology uses a “Blue Sheet” to guide salespeople and managers through what they need to do to win the deal. Clients “drink the Blue Kool-Aid” (referring to the Blue Sheet) and can’t imagine how they ever functioned without it. Miller Heiman has done a masterful job of embedding the blue sheet into popular CRM systems, and the user experience from the classroom to application in real life is seamless.
As a methodology, Strategic Selling® focuses more on “what to do” as opposed to a skill development program, such as Conceptual Selling®, which teaches “how to do.” This is very important because at some point your salespeople will need to have real conversations with buyers to advance the sale.
Miller Heiman delivers live on-site programs, Train-the-Trainer, eLearning, blended learning and numerous public seminars around the world for smaller organizations and individuals. Miller Heiman programs are easier to facilitate, making Train-the-Trainer a viable option for many organizations.
As mentioned earlier, the Miller Heiman Sales System® is comprehensive, and includes many offerings to ensure that clients fully adopt its methodologies and skill development programs, such as:
As a sales training buyer, it is important to understand your needs, and then determine how well a sales training provider can satisfy those needs. It is not unusual or unthinkable for a company to create a “best of breed” solution from different sales training providers. For example, a company might use Huthwaite’s SPIN® as its sales call planning and execution methodology, Miller Heiman’s Strategic Selling® as its opportunity management methodology, and Corporate Vision’s PowerMessaging® as its presentation skills methodology.
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