Executing the MERGE 2.0 Sales Process

Does your company follow a sales process? Is it random and organic or formal and dynamic?

In CSO Insights’ study on sales effectiveness, researchers discovered sales organizations which follow a formal or dynamic sales process outsell less-structured competitors, resulting in these gains:

  • 17 % improvement in overall revenue plan attainment
  • 21 %  increase in percentage of sales reps making quota
  • 31 %  increase in win rates of forecast deals
  • 43 % decrease in sales force turnover


PleinAire Strategies developed MERGE, a straightforward and repeatable five-stage sales process designed to improve revenue growth. You can learn MERGE working closely with Bill MacDonald in on-site workshops, or online in self-paced training modules, or through his newest book, MERGE 2.0, due out in the fall of 2017.


MERGE undergoes continuous process improvement to reflect best practices and, above all, drive revenue growth.

Let’s take a quick peek at each stage of the MERGE process.

M for Magnify

Conduct deep research into prospect behavior─buying preferences, attitudes, pain points, barriers to decision. Prospects buy when they need to fix, avoid or solve a problem. Know when and why. As you magnify, your prospect occupies the AWARENESS stage on the buyer’s journey. Your research leads to the initial formation of questions, needs, and a practical overview of the situation.

E for Explore

Go deeper. Find the need behind the need. Complex sales demand deeper exploration. At this stage, your sales opportunity risks ending up in status quo with no decision made. Your prospect still occupies the AWARENESS stage. Ask the right questions at the right time. Otherwise, you can damage a sale. Prospects dislike answering questions the salesperson should’ve learned from research. At this stage, you “cross the chasm” and get a commitment from the prospect to fix his problem.

R for Recommend

Recommend your process to find alternatives to the prospect’s problem, which you learned in Explore. Get hired for the consulting opportunity─your second order of business, after getting commitment to fix the problem. Use your process to amplify the conversation so the prospect can fully communicate his vision for a solution. Your prospect now enters the CONSIDERATION stage.

G for Generate

Prospects usually know more than one solution can solve their problem. In the Generate stage, you offer an evaluation of all possible alternatives which, when done correctly, leads your prospect to self-discover your solution. Your prospect remains in the CONSIDERATION stage unless you build the case to make a decision now, along with consequences of not doing so.

E for Engage

Your prospect reaches his DECISION point. You reinforce your value proposition. You reassure the prospect he made a wise decision.

The real sale begins after the close. Continue to bring measurable value to this trusted relationship. You’ve worked hard to acquire your new client; it’s time to consistently engage the client and leverage client value to accelerate business growth.

The MERGE process complements other proven sales processes.

PleinAire is certified in such processes as LAMP® and Channel Partnership Management.

Large Account Management ProcessSM (LAMP®)

The LAMP® process delivers a road map for sales leaders to identify strategic client/customer relationships with growth potential.

A one to three-year plan, LAMP® builds strong account relationships through team selling and customer collaboration.

Aimed at helping you keep your position as trusted advisors, LAMP® teaches you a cadre of critical methods to manage the customer’s perception of the relationship. You’ll find this training valuable if you are looking to:

  • Open up the potential of strategic accounts
  • Minimize price sensitivity and competitive threats
  • Protect continuity of relationship if face of manager attrition
  • Fulfill account growth objectives set by senior management
  • Enhance account profitability

Channel Partner Management

More than 65 percent of the world’s GNP transacts through indirect channels. Channel structure and partnerships command a large portion of most companies go-to-market strategies. We’ve developed an information-packed workshop around channels that will help you:

  • Clarify objectives and programs
  • Align direct, indirect and mixed channels
  • Set priorities and allocate resources
  • Devise realistic performance expectations
  • Expose hidden issues thwarting success

Sales Planning and Metrics

Adjunct to sales management process, we offer subject-specific consulting on:

  • How to build a sales playbook
  • Developing a SMART sales plan
  • Building key performance indicators
  • Buying into the right CRM system
  • Improving user adoption

You can’t improve what you can’t measure.

And metrics matter. World-class sales companies outperform average respondents by 22 percent*on such metrics as:

  • Number of qualified opportunities
  • New account acquisition
  • Average account billing
  • YOY existing customer growth
  • Quota achievement
  • Forecast accuracy
*[MHI’s Sales Best Practice Study]

Build Your Own Sales University

Who is teaching the next generation to sell?

College and universities are not.
Companies try, but often fail to get senior management commitment to reinforce sales training.
Sales training firms try, but trainees forget 77 percent what they’ve learned in only six days.

“Sales representative” is the third most difficult position to fill out of the top ten job positions.
And 40 percent of employers in all industries cannot find good sales talent.

It is even more difficult to find B2B salespeople with a command of complex sales.

Download our white paper, Drive Behavioral Change and Revenue Growth: The Business Case to Build Your Own Sales University.    Let’s us help you build your own sales university.


Next: Everything DiSC®

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New online training course, B2B Complex Sales Success Course for the MERGE 2.0 sales process is now available! Learn more