No two deals are ever quite the same, but every seller needs the same set of core skills to win sales. From the first outreach to closing a deal, each of these skills is necessary to move the sales cycle forward.
Are you finding the sales cycle is getting longer? Increases in loss to the dreaded “no decision”? Difficulty selling in an uncertain economy? You're not alone.
Meet Morgan. A hard-working seller. Focused and productive. Morgan’s developed strong sales skills and knows what it takes to sell. At the end of the year, does Morgan hit target? Beat it by 20%? Fall short by 30%? Does Morgan know: How many sales they need to win?
Too many sellers have similar problems: Bloated pipelines filled with dead wood Lack of clarity on what opportunities to focus on No plan to win their biggest, most important opportunities Losing too often to the competition
Interesting tidbit: the concept of a sales funnel dates back to Chicago meatpackers in the late nineteenth century. Even then, the Armours, Swifts, and Morrises of the world were tinkering with the best strategies for selling their products to other businesses. In many ways, the fundamental challenges of selling remain the same for the modern B2B sales funnel. That is, how to strike a chord with potential buyers—how to find alignment, create value, and deliver—instead of putting them through the same generic steps.
Sellers who win consistently plan to win from the start. They're methodical in their approach to opportunities. They carefully map their sales process to the buyer's, set goals for every meeting, and do an exceptional job of communicating value.
As one of the final steps to close a sale, the proposal presentation is essential to answering lingering questions, demonstrating impact, and connecting with decision makers. While there are several things to keep in mind for the presentation itself, just as important is the preparation you do before the meeting. Asking key questions of your buyer and working with your internal team will give you the edge you need to outshine your competition.
You can be spot-on building rapport with your buyers and uncovering their needs, but without communicating the impact of what you’re selling, you—and your initiative—won’t be a priority. When you’re able to understand and articulate the impact of your solutions, you can help buyers start thinking differently.
When sellers lose a sale, we often hear something like: The other vendor had an in. Our competitor offered a lower price. We didn’t have the best solution. They decided to do nothing at all.
Alison Brooks and Maurice Schweitzer, two researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted an experiment to induce varying levels of anxiety among negotiators. One group was subjected to the not-so-melodious screeching strings from Psycho. The other group was treated to calming Water Music by Handel. After listening for a while, the groups were sent off to conduct simulated negotiations.
By: Mike Schultz and Jason Murray After three months of talking and promises of moving forward, your fully qualified, enthusiastic champion is ready to pull the trigger. You send them a proposal and…silence. It's frustrating when buyers go cold. Whether late in the process or after one good meeting, most sellers at least want to hear, "No," or, "Here's what happened," or, "I'm still interested, but something happened…" Unfortunately, sellers often don't get the high sign from buyers, just the cold shoulder. Before we cover tactics you can use to resurrect opportunities with buyers who go cold, it helps to understand why buyers go cold.
At some point or another, you've probably heard of the ABCs of selling: Always Be Closing. The mantra was popularized by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (warning: strong language).
If you've spent any time in complex sales, you know there's been a significant shift in how you win sales opportunities and grow accounts. In our client work and studies through the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, we've seen that:
When it comes to winning big sales opportunities, sales leaders often share 2 complaints: Sellers aren't proactive. They fail to drive their most important sales opportunities forward with determination and rigor. Even when sellers are proactive, they don't follow a consistent process to put themselves in the best position to win the sale.
I spend a good percentage of my time selling. I also spend a lot of time coaching and training sales teams. One question that comes up time after time is, "How do I shorten the sales cycle?" My quick response is usually, "Have more in each stage of your pipeline at all times, so the sales cycle just seems shorter." Of course, that rarely makes anyone feel better. So based on our experience, here are 10 rules that will help make your sales process move more quickly:
If you don't know your destination, any road will get you there. When prospects ask for a formal proposal, they are telling you their desired destination: a business relationship with you. And they're asking you to answer the question, “What road do we take to get there?” Since it's your job to give directions, you want to tell them the straightest, shortest, and easiest route. After all, you don't want them to get lost along the way, or so tired on the path that they give up before they get to the end.