Want To Sell More? Help Them Buy. Here’s How to Get Started:

You represented yourself and your product/ service well. The prospect wants it. They told you they need it. You know they can benefit from it. You bragged about this one being a slam dunk in last couple pipeline reviews.

Now, the prospect has gone dark. Your estimated close date has come and gone (twice). What the heck? You know your sales manager is gonna ask about it next review period. What could you have done about it? Where did it go wrong? Great questions to ask. However, there’s a chance it wasn’t you. Read on:

Blog 6 of 7

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the six sales imperatives- Things that simply don’t change because in sales because they are so important to customers. This week’s is dedicated to learning why we must help buyers buy. Just selling to them is not enough. Unfortunately, internal complexity, matrix management, and more collaborative workplaces have changed the way people buy. It changes the way people get approval to buy. If you are unclear about the hoops your prospects must go through in order to make an approved purchasing decision there may be a whole bunch of ‘behind the scenes’ blockers you aren’t even thinking about. If you want to make that sale, you’ll have to help your prospect navigate their own internal buying process.

A recent study by CEB (now Gartner) showed that the average number of buyers involved in a sale went from 5.4 in 2015 to 6.8 in 2018. If you’re in B2B sales, you’ve probably experienced this trend, much to your chagrin. Not only does selling to a team take longer, but it’s more likely to stall out and end in no decision. 

If bringing others in is likely to delay a company’s initiative–or worse, stop it in its tracks–why would your prospect involve others at all? You might think your prospect would be motivated to push through a purchase on their own. Why the increase in team buying? 

Never lose alone. Making a large investment of company dollars is risky. If the initiative fails, your prospect doesn’t want to be the one holding the bag by alone. It’s easy to fire one person, but it’s not easy to fire the entire team of leaders that collectively made a bad decision. Safety in numbers.  

Another reason for involving others is to increase the likelihood that the initiative will succeed once the purchase has been made. If a decision is made by  a single leader, but it impacts many departments, the others will likely feel like the change was thrust upon them. They are more likely to be resistant, or prioritize that decision behind the initiatives and purchases they were pursuing on their own. 

What does this mean to you?

Oftentimes purchases are delayed because the person that first sets out to find the solution doesn’t know who should and should not be involved. They may invite peers into the process, even if the initiative only has tangential impact on their departments. 

Another reason the deal slows or stalls out is because an entire group has a hard time coming to consensus. It’s easy to agree to not move forward. It’s difficult to agree to making an investment. 

Chances are this could be a new team, and they are purchasing this service for the first time. Do they all agree now is the time? What must be in place for it to be a go? What happens internally once your prospect makes a decision? Who else must see it? What are deal-breakers for each stakeholder? What features are must-haves versus nice-to-haves? Can you help them come to agreement about how they come to agreement? 

To truly be a trusted advisor, this is a valuable place to advise. You know your product and the stakeholders that should be involved in the buying decision. You know which departments and roles will be impacted by making this change. You can help them bring the right team together. 

Whether they decide on you, a competitor, or working with what they’ve got, they need to agree, believe in it enough to move forward, and to hold themselves and each other accountable. Look for ways to offer help and advice. Remember, you are the pro here. You’ve seen many of these deals. You likely already have valuable insight that can help your prospect buy. Call them and offer it up. Maybe then you’ll have some good news to share in your next pipeline review.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

Is Tech the Big Sales Trend?

Blog 1 of 7 in a series.

In a world where everything in sales seems to be changing so rapidly, I thought it would be good to put some perspective on what it really means for those of us in this rewarding profession. This is the first of a series of blogs that focus on 6 sales imperatives—attitudes and approaches that put you in a position to help your customers succeed in a super challenging, rapidly changing sales environment.

Curious about the latest trends in sales? Me too. It seems there are thousands of online articles (usually published by sales technology companies) that tout the benefits of all the latest advancements in sales tech.

  • CRM. 
  • Plug-ins to help with researching prospects, who to sell to and when. 
  • Email automation with sequences and scheduling. 
  • Apps to serve up collateral material at the right time. 
  • Tracking of what’s been opened, shared, or deleted. 
  • Buyer portals. 
  • eCommerce enablement. 
  • Seller support. 

There are now more than 3,400 sales apps available! It feels like every part of the sales process is being optimized and computerized. 

Could the latest trend be that technology is rendering salespeople obsolete?

Hard no. 

For as much good can come of using technology, it has done nothing to displace sellers. The Occupational Employment Statistics program of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics semiannual report states that one out of every nine American workers are in a sales role, and they project that the US will add nearly two million new sales jobs by 2020.

The need for salespeople continues to rise because only people (not technology) have the ability to provide buyers what they really need; a trusted advisor. 

You can’t be good at sales if you aren’t good at people; technology can only take you so far.

Buyers today are under a lot of pressure. They are tasked with judiciously spending company money on only the investments that will garner the greatest return. As a result, 45% of buyers are doing more pre-sale research, and 45% are consulting more sources than just one year ago. They must cull through more information, sort past best-foot-forward marketing and sales pitches, and hope they’ve found the solution they really need. 

The best way to sort through sterile information about products is to get advice from someone you trust. The best way to solve complex problems is with help from a person that “gets it.” 

The best way for a company to succeed in sales is to teach their sellers how to create trust and give good advice. They need to know how to listen, ask questions, curate information, and solve hard problems. 

Not one of the 3,400 sales apps out there can do that. Only people can. And the need for that kind of help is trending upward.

Do you need help teaching your sales team how to become a trusted advisor? We can help with that. www.winsourcegroup.com

Stay tuned for the 6 sales imperatives.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

Clear or cloudy will make or break your year

I was driving through Buffalo, NY and I was approaching an area where there was some construction going on (shocking, right?). From a distance it looked like they were de-icing something. Whatever they were doing caused an incredible amount of steam and the steam cloud spread across the street.  I was three car lengths back and I heard the screech of breaks and the crash. The guy in the truck hit the breaks and came to a complete stop in the middle of the cloud and minivan in front of me plowed into him. Fortunately, I was able to stop in time. I didn’t even spill a drop of my ice coffee. 

[bctt tweet="When the path is cloudy we instinctively hit the breaks."]

When the path is cloudy we instinctively hit the breaks. 

The same exact thing happens in business. When your team approaches something cloudy or unclear, they hit the breaks. 

Lack of role clarity, mis-alignment, unclear objectives, not having ideal customer targets, not understanding the comp plan or the way to win are all things that will cause your sales leaders and sales team to ‘hit the breaks’. 

Those breaking moments are lost revenue, lost productivity, and lost efficiency. You can not afford them. 

Here’s how to prevent it: 

  1. Have a plan. 
  2. Make sure your plan outlines your objectives. (Big rocks) 
  3. Include how you will hit those big rocks. 
  4. Add specific action items. 
  5. Ensure your people know where they fit and what is expected. 
  6. Break the objectives into small, digestible bites. 
  7. Get your leaders on board. 
  8. Communicate the plan. 
  9. Do it again. 
  10. Measure progress. 

It sounds so simple, but it is often missed. Believe me, I’ve seen the break lights. 

Good luck. Let me know if I can help you plan for a productive 2019. 

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!