By Andrea Abbate, VP, Revenue Enablement at Showpad
Closing is the zenith of sales. However, many deals end up stuck in the pipeline due to poor collaboration between the buyer and seller – whether that’s a lack of nurturing, engagement, or an inability to strike at the heart of the customer’s needs.
In sales, the longer a deal is left to languish, the more likely it is to fall apart. But there are strategies to mitigate risk and drive efficiencies.
Slow down to speed up
It may seem paradoxical, but the most basic lesson when it comes to orchestrating a successful sales motion is to know that sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. The discovery stage is critical and is the most impactful interaction to ‘slow down.’ Lingering here is proven to speed up deals later on in the cycle.
During this phase, sellers must focus, listen and truly understand prospects’ needs. If sellers jump into the pitch process and skim over pain points, they won’t drive the customer toward a relevant solution. Sellers should ask questions about the products or services the prospect has tried and where purchasing ranks among their priorities. They need to demonstrate and articulate value in the way the customer sees it. This slow but steady approach will ultimately lead to fewer objections – particularly with the complex sales cycles and multiple stakeholders of today.
Antiquated internal processes can also slow down sales motions, but data can highlight bottlenecks, or where cycles progress rapidly. It can also help to diagnose gaps in the sales cycle and isolate the processes that allow sellers to get closer to deal closure. With this level of insight, sales teams can inform the creation of a standardised process or playbook that can be used widely across the commercial organisation, increasing conversion rates and improving bottom-line outcomes.
Increase engagement with Multithreading in virtual deal rooms
Multithreading is another secret weapon for deal acceleration. If your sellers think internal alignment is tough in their business – imagine the challenge their clients are facing, to engage the right stakeholders at the right time to make decisions about buying. This feeling of “herding cats” can lead to both buyer and seller frustration, and is a key obstacle, particularly with deals in enterprise or larger customers.
Sellers can regain control by first – in their discovery – uncovering all of the necessary parties in the buying cycle. Who needs to say yes? Who can say no? Who needs to be involved and at what stage? Once that is mapped out, the seller has an opportunity to accelerate the process by creating real-time collaboration between seller and buyer, and with the various parties involved in the client’s buying cycle.
Pitch deck approval can also prove laborious. Other internal stakeholders (whom your seller probably did not pitch to initially) will have questions, and the primary customer stakeholder will have to toggle back and forth with questions.
This is where virtual dealrooms come to the fore, allowing for real-time content collaboration while dissolving friction between buyer and seller. Sales or marketing teams can upload, update and distribute content with a single click, and multiple stakeholders within the buyer’s circle can review, input and ask questions, without having to coordinate multiple meetings. This allows the sales team to align with the prospect and engage in real time, minimising approval delays.
Buyer-led, personalised content
Buyer-led, personalised experiences are non-negotiable in today’s highly competitive sales market. Regardless of industry, delivering an insightful sales deck with customised content allows sales reps to differentiate the buyer experience and showcases value post discovery. Surfacing the right content to the right customer at the right time is mission-critical. After all, even with cold prospecting, a buyer can tell immediately what’s cut and paste and what’s not. By knowing and understanding what a customer needs to learn about a product or service, sellers can help to expedite decisions and close faster.
While fanfare may once have made or broken a deal, standing out in the sales pitch is no longer about being the loudest; it’s about personalisation to capture and hold the buyer’s attention. Sellers should skip traditional PowerPoint decks and utilise tools that bring presentations to life. Sales reps should go above and beyond the standard pitch, but it provides a whole new layer of focus to understand that they should orient their content around a specific topic or persona. Presenting to a client in an innovative and dynamic way creates a wow factor and helps a pitch stand out. We know too well that generic decks rarely translate into exciting reads and can alienate buyers.
Closing deals takes focus, engagement and personalisation. Listening and adapting to a customer’s business challenges and needs has assumed a new level of importance. Once this strategic approach is in place, closing deals will become more collaborative and faster.