How to Combat "Not Right Now" Decisions

How to Combat "Not Right Now" Decisions

Categories: Sales Productivity  |  Sales Qualification

If "not right now" or "no decision" deals are crippling your pipeline, you likely need a concerted sales effort to minimize their impact on your forecast. Do you have clarity around what’s leading to not right now decisions? 

The top-tier sales leaders we’re working with are successfully driving win rates and numbers up by helping their reps align with their buyers through their sales process and message. Define where deals are breaking down in your customer engagement process. Here are two areas to assess.

1. The alignment between your sales process and your buyer’s buying process

If you have stalled deals in the pipeline, you’re likely dealing with a qualification issue. How can you equip your entire sales organization to get ahead of the not right now competitor and minimize their impact on your forecast? Assess for misalignment with how your buyers want to buy right now. Look back and review how well your sales reps and managers diagnosed pipeline opportunities and determined next steps.

Find out what’s working and fix what isn’t. Look for evidence to determine if a majority of the not right now decisions in your pipeline could be reignited or avoided, like:

  • Reps stuck in deals they don’t belong in and aren’t going to happen
  • Qualification conversations happening too late in the buying process to have an impact
  • Lack of consistency around what a good deal looks like
  • You can’t count on what your sales team is saying
  • Sales chasing leads whether they’re qualified or not
  • Gaps in customer knowledge and relationships are causing deals to draw on too long
  • Reps and managers aren’t able to determine what's needed to move their deals forward

Ensure your reps are spending time on deals with high-value potential that they can and should win. Be certain your managers are equipped to drive accountability and support for reps as they qualify, progress and close opportunities. Assess these questions with your leadership team. They are a great way to test for misalignment between your buyer’s buying process and your sales process:

  1. How aligned is your selling process with your customers' buying process?
  2. How do sales reps ensure opportunities are qualified?
  3. What customer outcomes progress a deal?
  4. How do managers inspect sales opportunities and pipelines?
  5. How do sales stages align with forecasting?

2. Your salespeople’s ability to articulate buyer value and solution differentiation

Your salespeople need to help buyers conclude that they have an urgent business problem. Regardless of the current state, buyers are always going to hold a tight grasp on discretionary funds. 

Salespeople can propel buyers to action when they have a repeatable mechanism to identify and attach to big business problems that demand urgency. If they can’t identify these issues, they won’t be able to progress and close opportunities at a high value. Can you say for certain that your salespeople are equipped with a repeatable messaging framework they can use to instill urgency in front of high-level buyers? 

Look for evidence to determine if a majority of the not right now decisions in your pipeline are the result of salespeople not uncovering and attaching to the biggest business problems facing their prospects. Evidence like:

  • Reps never gaining access to the economic buyer and other key decision makers
  • Reps constantly being delegated down to someone they sound like (lower in the organization)
  • Reps having trouble articulating a buyer-focused message of solution value and differentiation, leaving them to resort to conversations focused on features and functions
  • Reps quickly moving into demos and technical conversations, without defining their buyer’s positive business outcomes, solution requirements and metrics
  • Managers not providing reps effective support in mapping buyer pains to their solutions
  • Managers not helping reps identify and close gaps in customer knowledge

Equip your reps to ask great discovery questions and succinctly convey your message of value and differentiation. Start the conversation with your executive team on the importance of building a sales messaging framework that’s aligned with your buyer. Sometimes the best way to start the conversation is to pinpoint that there is misalignment to begin with. Assess how well your leadership team is aligned on these four essential questions and how they may have evolved due to our current economic environment.

  1. What problems do you solve?
  2. How do you solve those problems?
  3. How do you solve them differently and/or better than the competition?
  4. Where have you done it before? 

Build a Culture of Alignment with Your Buyer

Right now, elite sales leaders are assessing their own sales organizations, ensuring they are building cross-functional alignment on how they can best serve their buyers. These revenue leaders are taking the necessary next steps to operationalize this alignment across their entire sales organization. Use this time to make the same strides. 

In this on-demand webinar, Force Management's John Kaplan and Dave Davies cover how to build a culture of buyer alignment in your organization and enable sales to execute on this alignment where it matters most — the bottom line. Watch the webinar.

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