The Voice of Value Podcast

Episode 22: Unprecedented Uncertainty

Featuring: Stephanie Dismore, Managing Director of HP North America

Stephanie Dismore discusses unprecedented uncertainty going into 2022 and the need to ensure you have the right systems, tools, and processes that allow you the flexibility for the unknown.

Key Takeaways

In this episode, Managing Director of HP North America, Stephanie Dismore, discusses with Ecosystems’ CEO and Voice of Value podcast host, Chad Quinn, the unprecedented uncertainty going into 2022 and the need to ensure you have the right systems, tools, and processes that allow you the flexibility for the unknown.

Tune in to learn about Stephanie’s experiences with aligning to the customer through an outcome selling framework and what the coming year for sales leadership looks like. Or, continue reading to get a quick overview of the conversation.

[0:40] – How did you get to your current position?

Early in my career, I had a vision of where I wanted to be. From there it was hard work and being prepared when the opportunity presented itself.

[3:33] – What was inside Stephanie to know that ‘Hey, I want to be that person up there leading this whole initiative, that’s me in a few years.’ Where did that come from?

I had a lot of guidance and support from my father that helped me focus on my strengths. I played to my strengths and that put me on the right track.

[4:56] – What does 2022 look like for sales and leadership?

2022 is all about flexibility. You need to be able to pivot and be resilient. This is a period of unprecedented uncertainty and you need to enable and empower your team, while having the right tools and processes to be flexible.

[6:52] – Tell us a little bit about the outcome selling framework that you and HP leadership are evolving to and how that will get deployed in the coming year.

We no longer start sales conversations with prices and specifications. Our Sales team now has a way to put a framework together so they can outline objectives, stakeholders, each departments’ needs, and how we then come back to the customer and show value. Sometimes this process takes longer, but the end result is a bigger deal, so it’s always worth it!

[10:43] – How have you taken something like sustainability and made it a market message that is driving over a billion dollars in sales for the organization and offering customers that next level of commitment?

As a purpose-driven company, HP has taken a look at its role in sustainability and published its first sustainability impact report over 20 years ago. HP’s sustainable impact strategy has been a long journey with initiatives including deforestation, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing diversity. In recent years, the organization has focused on bringing these initiatives into the business function, into the DNA of how every team works. Sustainability impact has been embedded into everything from our annual strategy to customer reports to showcase impacts back to customers. In fact, HP won a major RFP with a Fortune 100 company by deeply understanding the customer’s goals, challenges, objectives, and how HP could help along with showcasing and aligning on sustainability and diversity impacts.

[15:12] – How do you help a sales team develop a long-term mindset, and focus on aligning with the customer versus having a short-term mindset focused on cost and numbers?

Your sales team needs to understand how critical aligning with the customer is. That means there needs to provide training around this, and then implement a way of tracking value that can empower your sales team. For us, we use Ecosystems to help us show customers the data and impact of working with us at HP.

[20:12] – I know that you, Stephanie, have a commitment to diversity and inclusion. How is your personal life and your leadership style able to amplify the professional Stephanie and the team as you go to market?

I don’t have time to separate my personal and professional life, so I started a workday of giving back and teaching STEM classes at the Boys and Girls Club. People still talk about that day and the sense of camaraderie they experienced.

I don’t think the mesh between personal and professional life will go away, but I think that’s the critical change of how we manage business now—showing value in conversations and bringing personal values into work life.

[25:45] – What is something that you once believed that you no longer believe?

I used to believe that success is being able to follow your plans. Now I know that what you thought is your plan can pivot and become a new plan.

[27:19] – What do you see as your unique voice and value? What has been the theme that has come out both personally and professionally?

My unique voice encourages and lives a lifestyle of determination and perseverance.

So how can you take these key points and apply them to your team?

Here are four action items we’ve taken from what Stephanie shared.

1. Align with your customers’ values

Sales methods that focus on price points and product features are ineffective. And more effective value selling methods are becoming the norm. Which means training your sales teams to focus on value is paramount.

What does this look like? Value selling relies on conversations with prospects and customers to establish what is most important to them. From there, you can establish which metrics they would like to track—and as a result, you can show the success they gain from working with you. The big shift is moving towards talking about outcomes instead of features.

In order for all of this to be effective, you must be aligned with your customers’ values. While this may take more time than the average sales process, the end result is bigger deals. Which is why it’s worth the wait and effort.

2. Keep moving forward by staying flexible

With a global pandemic, every industry has experienced some level of change. 2022 is guaranteed to bring more change. So how do you roll with the punches?

Stephanie reminds us that being able to pivot is a must. But having the right tools and processes in place make it easy for your team to follow your lead.

3. Incorporate tools to improve value management processes

The right tools and processes will look different for every team, but being able to show value even in times of change will ensure customer retention. HP uses Ecosystems to track value and show customers data around the benefits of working with them. Since Ecosystems is extremely collaborative, it makes it easy for the customer to be involved in this process and help identify and define what metrics are most important to them.

4. Let your personal values impact your business

For Stephanie, company-wide volunteer opportunities are a great way to build a sense of camaraderie. Plus, with a busy schedule, Stephanie loves that her personal values can shine through in the workplace.

Stephanie’s not alone. The workforce is growing with passionate individuals who want to work with companies that share similar values. In fact, HP won a major RFP with a Fortune 100 company, largely in part because they’ve had long-term priority to sustainability. Because they’ve used Ecosystems to help track their commitment to sustainable practices, they were able to show that their commitment to sustainability had real results.