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By admin

How can a long sales cycle be shortened?

How can a long sales cycle be shortened?

timepiece by Robert Couse-Baker (Flickr)

The challenges of closing sales and reaching your yearly target are numerous. Are you under pressure to increase your average sales size? Would you expect an incentive if you achieve this goal, and most importantly, would the sales cycle of your product allow you to do so within the time frame allocated?

Let us explore in the article below some tools that have often proved beneficial.

1.Clarify the target Market

Once you start your research, you will initially need to find the influencers and decision makers you need to help you achieve your goal. Invite them, as well as several prospects, to a 1-day seminar held at your office. There you can explain to them what you do in greater detail and discuss the solutions your company can offer. 

2. Create a mutual action plan to reach your prospect’s goals

Start connecting with every person that will take part in the decision management. Identify their objectives, whether personal and professional. You can then start connecting with employees of the targeted companies that will likely benefit from using your solutions. Build a trusting relationship and recognize challenges that could be solved by working together as a team.  Building a strong relationship with your prospects can significantly shorten your sales cycle.

3. Select challenges you can solve

The correct systems and processes, as well as developing your sales teams’ skills, ultimately all have an impact on the shortening of the sales cycle.  The responsibility lies heavily on the Sales managers’ shoulders as statistics show that only 20% of salespeople have the skills necessary to sell successfully.  

Salespeople need to have a structured strategic approach when they operate. Breaking the sales process into sections allows them to analyze challenges and weaknesses.  The sales process can be compared to a GPS system on a car.  Once we provide the destination post code (goal to be achieved) the GPS provides the route to take (sales process) and the time needed (Sales cycle) to arrive to your destination.

4. Align your activities around your prospects

Establishing a time frame for your next step is crucial.  If you don’t confirm your next meeting or call time with your qualified client, you will find it may extend your sales cycle by an extra 2 weeks.  Be on top of the customers’ mind to maintain the momentum.  Getting the buy in and the “yes” is important at all stages; small yesses are just as significant. 

If you are skipping stages by jumping straight to the end contract or proposal and then face an objection, this means the client didn’t see your value or didn’t understand the full process.  Make sure you ask clearly: “Are you ready for the next stage or do we need to talk through any other details?”. 

5. Monitor your pipeline

Plan your pipeline flow versus your timeline. Is the speed of the qualified and potential deals in line with the date your want to close the deal?

Daily pipeline monitoring is essential if you need to manage prospects: is the size of your pipeline is satisfactory? Are the stages of your sales cycle optimized? Do you have enough prospects to reach your targets?

Answers to these questions will help you prioritize your visits to clients, prepare focused offers and follow up on pending matters with potential clients.

6. Master your self-limiting beliefs

One of the non-supportive beliefs usually sounds like this: “I don’t need to speak with the actual decision maker because my contact will take care of it.”

Our beliefs and emotions may sometimes negatively impact our sale. Thoughts like the following ones are self-limiting:

  • “In the markets I sell to, it is well known that the sales cycle is long.”
  • “The companies I target have long sales cycles.”
  • “The companies I target take a long time to respond.”
  • “Nothing moves fast in our industry.”
  • “New customers need more time to think about how they spend their budget.”

If the salesperson believes it is ok to think it over, analyze and research and accepts that the environment needs time, then the result can only translate in lengthier cycles and delay closing. The salesperson must understand the sensitive nature of the impact of self-confidence and speed on the sales procedure.

7. Deal with managerial pressure

Senior managers will always test their sales leaders’ capabilities and stretch their capacity towards better results every day. To make sure you will be amongst the successful salespeople, you need to create a sales effectiveness process that will insure you reach the required targets. The consultative selling approach has regularly proved highly successful in that respect

If you want to get more information, please access to following the following link. We will be more than happy to assist you.

By admin

Do you work with salespeople or sales leaders?

Do you work with salespeople or sales leaders?

1- Sales pitch or value proposition

In the last 10 years the business world has changed considerably, and the working life of a sales professional has changed right along with it. Customers have become more cautious and consequently their buying decisions have become more complex.Customers don’t want to be sold anymore; they want to be advised to quantify the value of their purchase. Cold calling is likely not working anymore nor the sales pitch.  There is no point in trying to sell without understanding the customers wants first.  Customers need to receive specific compelling information that drives them towards an informed decision.  Our customer wants to hear information directed to the problem they want to solve.  Poor listening skills result in not understanding the problem at hand.  Mastering the sales process is important to shorten the sales cycle and listening carefully is essential to understand the impact of the pain on the organization’s front and back offices.
What does the sales leaders need to achieve before they even call the prospect?

2- Pre-approach preparation

Do your research and prepare a target list, segment your potential clients per size, personae… and build a list of 100 companies to start with.  Make sure the selection of companies is in line with your organization’s strategy and offering. Companies selections might be diverse; Small to midsize or only companies in the IT sector etc. It will be beneficial to look into companies’ figures; Are they growing? Have they had flat sales for the last 12 months? Identifying such information will increase sales leaders’ chances to hit hot leads.  Be strategic about your list, be passionate about your list.  Give yourself a sense of direction.
Prepare a script and frequent asked questions: what challenges are targeted companies having? Build a list of questions that will qualify your prospects and identify the pain. Make sure your can build your competitive edge and stand out from the competition. Selling to Business to Business will involve identifying your decisions making unit that will be involved in the decision of buying. Identify their personality and communicate accordingly to facilitate your selling process.
What does the customer hope to achieve by the time they finished their call with you?

3- Connecting and empathizing consistently

Social selling is now an integral part of sales leaders’ daily activities. Prospecting, checking companies and people’s social profile to take a good decision. Master the skill of connecting on social medias to network before any conversation.
Connecting with prospects or hot leads should always start with a humble, genuine, honest approach and a happy tonality. Simple rules to start a conversation and build the relationship even over the phone.

4- Answering questions and challenges

Ask relevant questions when you pick up the phone and connect with prospects. Ask tough, difficult questions like: what are the challenges your company is facing in today’s market? Why you are failing from hitting your numbers?
You need to love the process of developing relationships with clients and prospects. Create a daily schedule, business habits, build a network, follow your numbers to be sure that your target is achieved.

5- Take put offs positively

Keep the conversation going, stay on your client’s mind. This is the most important step, even if you get a ‘no’. It all comes down to how much the sales leader wants to close that account.
Nurturing prospects – even after a ‘no’ – is important. Sales leaders should keep reaching out on a monthly basis with an article, podcast, etc… Step out of the comfort zone and find different ways to connect with someone you want to do business with.  Keep the relationships alive and be always on the top of their mind.  When prospects are ready, they will contact you.  Don’t go and try hit and then split.

Sales leaders, should ask themselves daily what were the failures in the last 2 weeks?  What were the successes?

Discover a 12 weeks program to build your sales team capabilities and make sure they hit their numbers.

 

By admin

The #1 mistake you make in sales

The #1 mistake you make in sales

A week ago I had an appointment for a product I thought could help my business. The company has a good clientele and I was almost convinced to buy the product as its price was within my budget.

As I got on the call, it didn’t take long until I found myself led through a demo. When the demo ended, I’d gotten off the phone thinking the product wasn’t for us and I should keep looking.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED ? We started the call with “YES” and some how ended up at “MAYBE”.

The sales person committed the #1 sales mistake: They pitched their solution without knowing exactly what my needs were and without showing me the value of the solution he was proposing.

Before you pitch your solution, benefits and features – you must figure out the exact problem you’re solving in the first place. You need to ask about your clients’ pain points first and what their expectations are with your product. There are two benefit of this;

It will give an edge to present a solution which exactly matches their needs which can help you to hide the features that are irrelevant for them.
It gives you an idea how important it is for them; this will help you sell the product at a good cost.
Have you ever faced such a situation where you start selling without knowing what customers want?

Have you ever been in a demo where someone starts selling without knowing your expectations?

If yes… Let me know how it went and how you FIXED IT?

By admin

Do you get lots of “maybe” or “I will think about it” after your first call with prospects?

Do you get lots of “maybe” or “I will think about it” after your first call with prospects?

So far, I have posted a lot of content which tells you about general mistakes in a sales call. Today we are going to talk about the situation when you do everything right but still get a “MAYBE” as an answer.

Most people subconsciously avoid decision making after the first conversation. Every sales guru knows and advises that one needs to adjust their conversation to guide the prospect to come to a decision. This can be tricky as salespeople can become very pushy. So the big question is: how do we guide the conversation while still making the prospect feel like they’re in control?

There is a very simple solution for this: set up an agenda before the meeting. It will align you and your prospect on a plan for the meeting and make sure you’re both on the same page and moving forward together toward one of three outcomes:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Figuring out the next steps – Future meeting date & agenda

By following the above process, you are avoiding a limbo stage. The main advantage of this process is that you are saving valuable time on the lead follow-ups. This can feel awkward at first but if you practice it in your next meeting and make it your own, you will start seeing positive results that you’ll want to use again and again. If you have any specific questions or suggestions about the implementation of this process, we are here to help!

By admin

What happens to a prospect when they go dark and getting to the real objection.

When I first started selling, I often experienced the following scenario.

I’d have a meeting thinking I totally nailed it, only for the prospect to go dark after my attempts to follow up.

What the heck was I doing wrong? Well there were a few things, I’d made a classic error: I’d fail to uncover the secret objection my prospect still had at the end of our conversation.

Unless you directly ask, it’s easy for a prospect not to reveal their actual objections to buying. Not only is it too hard for a prospect to pin down the objection on their own, but there’s a stigma associated with rejection, and they don’t want to feel like a bad person by doing it to you.

Also, although the prospect realised both a pain and solution, they were still stuck with an existing process and habit which is hard to break.

On my side, there was still a lot of work to do if I wanted to consistently move these deals forward. The way you can motivate someone to make a change is to continue to play investigator. A few questions I like to use are:

  • Do you want to change this? (sounds simple, but no one asks this)
  • Where would making a change like this sit on your priority list? (get specific, are you in their top three or bottom three? you can learn a lot here. maybe you can solve other priorities and they don’t know it yet)
  • How committed are you to changing this in the next ______? (this gives you a sense of timeline to close/implement assuming you’re on their priority list)

These questions sound basic, but surprisingly very few have a habit of explicitly asking them.

What is your strategy to face this situation? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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What happens to a prospect when they go dark and getting to the real objection.