Your Sales Team is Poorly Positioned
Your salespeople are poorly positioned and that is stretching out your sales cycle and preventing deals from closing.
I know, I’ve been coaching their deals. Their deals are stuck.
Your salespeople are starting off too low in the organization and not finding enough of the buyers which is leaving them poorly positioned.
The 1 or 2 buyers they know are ghosting them. (By ghosting, I mean that things were going great and then, all of a sudden, silence.)
You and I both know this statistic, the number of people involved in a B2B purchase has climbed from 5.4 to 6.8 (Gartner).
Yet, your salespeople are trying to close 6 and 7 figure deals working with 2 or 3 buyers who are manager level. If one goes silent or leaves the company, they are stuck.
You know it’s true. Go look at the opportunities they have in their funnel/pipeline and ask them who they have relationships with.
They continue to make the fatal mistake of contacting 1 or 2 people before they have done the research and found all the potential buyers, including what Miller Heiman Group calls the Economic Buyer. The person who allocates the budget to make the purchase.
They are poorly positioned and surprised that the deal isn’t moving forward.
It Doesn’t Have to be This Way
You could be helping your salespeople get positioned and close these complex deals.
The complex sale is more difficult for many reasons. But, the main one is there are many buyers involved. It’s tough for your salespeople to develop relationships with all the buyers, navigate the buying process and bring everyone to consensus, so these deals have a lower close ratio.
We know the problem is that salespeople are not communicating with the many buyers involved in the decision and in many cases, don’t know how to find them or build relationships with them. That leaves them poorly positioned.
We know that opportunities get stuck for other reasons, but in the end, if you have great relationships with the right buyers you will know why the deal is stuck and you will have buyers that are willing to help you navigate.
13 Questions to Ask
When an opportunity is stuck, ask these questions. The answers will reveal what you need to coach your sales reps or your account teams to do next.
- When was your last meeting with the buyers?
- Who did you meet with?
- What did you do to prepare for that sales call?
- What was your objective for the call?
- Who else will be involved in the decision that wasn’t at the meeting?
- What did you do to bring value and insight?
- What other solutions are they considering?
- Where are they in the buying process?
- What is their timeline for implementation?
- When will they make a decision?
- What actions did they commit to?
- What actions did you commit to?
- What are the next steps?
These questions will help both you and the salespeople understand more about the status of the deal. Far too often, salespeople get way ahead of the prospect, they predict a close date based on their quota instead of on the customer’s needs. Many have heard me say, “Close dates come from customers, not from quotas.”
[bctt tweet=”The only way to know when a deal will close is to ask the customer. ” username=”AliceHeiman”]
Salespeople must learn to ask for the implementation date and a time by which a decision will be made in order to know the close date. They won’t get accurate information if they are poorly positioned.
Salespeople will be more inclined to get the needed information if they know you will be inquiring about it. The problem comes when they don’t know how. You need to show them.
Sales leaders will have fewer surprises if they make these questions part of their coaching routine. The benefits include:
- A shorter sales cycle
- More effective selling
- Better close ratios
- More accurate forecasting
Of course, you want to know when the deal is going to close, but instead of asking, “When is the deal going to close?” start asking, “How are you positioned to close the deal?”
By getting involved earlier, asking questions and coaching for better positioning, you’ll have better results.