As a seller, are you responsive? Think carefully about this question.
Do you know exactly how long it takes you to respond to email and phone calls from prospective clients?
How quickly are you responding to leads that come from the marketing department? Do you respond at all?
How often do you have to say someone, “I’ll get back to you.”, because you did not know the answer to their question?
What about your proposal creation and delivery time? Do you respond within an hour or two, or is it more like days?
In today’s fast-paced, competitive business world, it is all about velocity.
It might come as a big surprise to many sellers to find out that they are slowing down the purchasing decision a buyer needs to make. I imagine right now some of you are saying, heck no, I don’t slow the process down, buyers move slowly. In truth, many salespeople are their own worst enemy.
If you sell, you have one job to do. Contrary to what you might think, it isn’t to sell something.
Selling is about helping customers solve their business problems and make buying decisions. I want you to think about delivering value in a different way. Think of adding value as providing information quickly, in order to move buyers one step closer to a purchasing decision. If a core issue has been identified within an organization that needs to be addressed, there is executive support for the initiative, budget has been allocated and an implementation timeline has been put in place, then buyers typically do want to move quickly. Make it easy for them to get what they need.
Sales acceleration is big business.
In 2013, companies spent $12.8 billion dollars on sales acceleration technology. By 2017, that number could be as much as $30 billion according to a research report by InsideSales.com. Huge investments are being made in technology, which conceivably should improve performance. The problem is that it isn’t working.
Technology might deliver a lead faster to a sales rep, but if they don’t respond quickly, what’s the point? Or, you can have web forms established to encourage people to sign up for demo’s of your product, but if you don’t contact someone immediately once they do, the buyer moves on. As an example, as part of the research I’m conducting for a client, I used the web to request a demo of their largest competitors platform. That was 10 days ago and not a peep from anyone. I specifically said, “I was representing a client who had an interest in purchasing a solution like what they offered.” Crickets.
In fairness to the salespeople at the company, there is no way to know what the internal process is for moving a web inquiry for a product demo over to the sales team for follow up. What I do know is that by the time they get around to contacting someone, if they ever do, the opportunity is missed.
At team and individual levels, sales response time needs to be evaluated carefully. Selling and knowledge skills need to be examined as well. Every time a salesperson talks to a prospect or a customer considering another purchase, they must be able to answer questions in the moment.
Work faster and smarter.
Sales acceleration is not only about moving more quickly, it is also means working smarter. That’s where mobile, the Internet and social networks come into play. You need to be able to access and gather real-time sales intelligence from LinkedIn, Twitter, the web, InsideView or Owler. When you are reaching out to prospects, you need to have something relevant to talk about beyond today’s weather. When I’m talking to a prospective client, I can answer their questions immediately, even if it means quickly going online to source what I need.
If you are a field salesperson, how often do you ask yourself if you really need to meet with everyone face-to-face? At least initially. How often do you use the phone or web conferencing to shorten the sales cycle? Buyers are busy. They will appreciate that you are saving them precious time. Integrating virtual strategies into your sales process also means that you can talk to more people each and every day.
Stop dragging out the sale.
I want to suggest to anyone reading this post that they challenge themselves to move faster and work smarter. Technology can only take sales acceleration so far. Sales remains a people business. Your ability to respond more quickly than your competitors, as well as being prepared to answer any and all questions that can move the buying decision forward… well, my friends, that’s how deals are won!