Manage Deals to a Successful Close in a Shifting Economy
Categories: Sales Process | Economic Change | Mission Critical Success Series
This blog is part of our Mission Critical Success Series, where we dive into the strategies leaders are using to execute on mission critical sales objectives during times of economic change. Each week, we will cover a different essential area of sales effectiveness. Check our blog next week for the newest installment, or subscribe for updates straight to your inbox.
Buyers are more cautious when the economy is uncertain. If these heightened concerns aren’t identified and addressed early in the sales cycle, deal times may get longer and stalling is more likely as more stakeholders get involved. Sellers need to be able to tie your solution directly to the business outcomes that will capture buy-in from each decision maker.
Confidently drive deals towards a successful close by equipping sellers with data, content and the skills to drive toward company-wide buy-in from the customer. We compiled strategies for leaders to drive high-level execution of selling practices that get results in times of economic uncertainty.
Selling From an ROI Perspective
When operating in a cautious economy, sellers can minimize stalls in the negotiation stage by clearly communicating the promised return on investment to each stakeholder. Ensure that sellers have a plan to identify all buying audiences early in the process, and equip them with both technical and economic value messages to address these audiences.
If your customer organization is concerned about economic downturn, there are likely to be more decision makers and higher scrutiny in their buying process. Someone with authority will be asking - do the quantifiable outcomes attached to this engagement outweigh the potential risk to our business?
Empower sellers to anticipate and answer that question. Arm them with a powerful value message that proves their solution will move the needle on the customer’s business. Effective value negotiation takes place early and often in the selling cycle, before the buyer even knows they’re negotiating. When sellers are fluent in these skills, negotiation stops being about features and price and becomes about outcomes. Leaving negotiation until the end of the engagement will lead to stalls, smaller deals and last-minute discounting to save the deal - especially in a challenging selling environment. In a recent conversation, FM Managing Partner Brian Walsh shares how to avoid some of the most common mistakes that sales organizations make in the midst of economic change
Some of your most successful sellers are already implementing this in their day-to-day, but with shifting buyer expectations due to the economy, it’s critical to align your entire sales team on an ROI perspective. Elite leaders are digging in to uncover what’s important to buyers right now, providing crucial context for their teams to have these value conversations. This ebook contains more insights on pivoting and aligning a sales team to a new economy-conscious strategy.
Creating Proof Points
Add power to your sellers’ value conversations by providing a solid catalog of results achieved by past customers. Whether quantitative or qualitative, proof points enable sellers to successfully structure the narrative around tangible outcomes, rather than features and functions.
Earlier in our Mission Critical Success Blog Series, we discussed the benefits of getting close to your customers in times of economic change. Proof points can be both a result of and a method of getting closer to existing customers. Organizations who remain highly engaged in their buyers’ experience after the sale not only improve the customer experience, but become more familiar with the outcomes and benefits their solution provides.
Champions within the customer organization are under increased pressure in the current economy. Their executives are more skeptical about the use of budget, and failure poses a higher risk in a shifting market. Proof points make these vital players more confident in pitching your solution. By crafting a narrative around evidence of customer success, sellers can provide their champion with a story that will gain buy-in from more skeptical stakeholders.
Align your sales and customer success teams on a strategy for collecting data and stories from customer organizations throughout the engagement. Empower sellers to use these proof points as a point of differentiation from the competition, taking the conversation out of the hypothetical and into an attainable vision of what the customer’s business could look like with your solution. Learn more about aligning your organization around a repeatable process for developing and leveraging customer success stories.
Getting to the Collective Yes
You’ve equipped your sales team with the value drivers and proof points needed to execute an effective ROI conversation. Now, make sure it’s reaching the right ears. Ensure sellers have the skills needed to access and influence decision makers.
We often refer to this level of negotiation as the “collective yes.” Particularly during times of economic change, not every person involved in the customer decision will see a new solution as a priority. Capturing the collective yes means achieving unanimous agreement from all influencers and decision makers that a) a solution is needed and b) that solution is your offering.
Equip your sellers to identify the stakeholder voices early and communicate value that is relevant to their perspectives and priorities. With increased scrutiny due to economic changes, stakeholder voices could arise later in the sales cycle that cause the deal to stall or even fall through at a late stage, resulting in missed quotas or deep discounting to save deals. Sellers can confidently drive deals to close by executing on the elements of great qualification, discovery and listening. Ensure that your sellers are being intentional about honoring and spending time with every person in the decision process. This alone creates a competitive advantage that makes all the difference in a challenging selling environment.
Maximize Deal Size for the Upcoming Year
Economic shifts can create a challenging selling environment. Your sellers are spending valuable time progressing deals to a successful close. Ensure that when they get to the final hour, they're not resorting to discounting. Managing deals to a successful close involves alignment on value and sales process across your organization. Start here for strategies leaders are using to equip their sales team to close bigger deals with confidence in the new year.