How to Reignite Stalled Deals
Categories: Sales Discovery Process
Mitigate the risk of deal stalls once and for all. Understand why stalls occur and three ways to avoid them.
You’ve got numbers to hit, and your buyers still have problems they need to solve. With the pandemic, you may find that stalled deals are “unavoidable”. Buyers may seem unable to move forward — fortunately, there are strategic ways you can compel them to action.
We’ve broken down the three main reasons why deals stall and how you can overcome these challenges.
1. Find more business pain
How well are you uncovering and attaching to the biggest business pain of your buyers? Are you continually uncovering quantifiable business pains (from multiple stakeholders) or are you just running with what you heard in your initial conversations?
When buyers understand that they have a problem so big it can't go one more day without getting fixed, they’ll take action. If the problems you’re attached to in your deals right now aren’t causing the deal to move forward, then the business problems aren’t big enough. Uncovering business pain early and often will help you define the bigger business issues, those that are associated with larger titles, more resources and a larger budget.
Elite salespeople understand that getting the customer to stand in their moment of pain is often the trigger that propels the deal forward at a rapid rate. How can you reach this level of urgency in your critical (and potentially already forecasted) accounts?
You may have already connected your buyer’s problems to your solutions in your mind, but getting the customer to validate this connection on their own is what will get them to act instead of do nothing. Remember, this isn’t your decision criteria, it’s the customer’s decision criteria. Grab their attention and get them committed by:
- Starting your next meeting by summarizing the discovery you've done up until this point:
Replay your sales conversations with your buyers and leverage what you know to ask questions in a way that aligns with your solution’s differentiation. When approaching your sales conversations remember, the metrics, required capabilities and PBOs are about your buyer, you’ve got to ask great discovery questions to help them define their biggest business problem and desired outcomes that indicate urgency. Articulate what you heard and use it to your advantage as you work to instill value in your offerings through real-world examples and trap-setting questions that set you above the competition.
- Using trap-setting questions to get your buyer to see weakness in the competition:
Use trap-setting questions to help the buyer see weakness in your competitors' offerings, by getting them to define their decision criteria in a way that favors your solution. Remember, trap-setting questions are discovery questions with the intent to trap the competition around your differentiators. This podcast covers effective ways to ask trap-setting questions.
- Asking yourself and the customer, “What happens if you don’t address this?”
If you get answers that are “do nothing” focused, you didn’t connect to the pain so go back to #1 and keep digging. Ensure you’re actively listening in a way that helps you get to the answers you need to hear.
Emphasis and uncover business pain early and often:
Being able to execute effective discovery and influence decision criteria, early and often, is a skill set that every elite seller has. It’s important to keep in mind with high-value deals that often involve multiple business stakeholders, uncovering business pain is not a one and done event. What’s critical to one decision maker, may not drive urgency in another. Uncover business pain early and often from each stakeholder to ensure they all see the value in propelling the deal forward.
Refine your skill set by learning how to ask the right questions in your sales conversations so you can hit repeatable high numbers in the next sales cycle.
2. Attach to each key decision maker
Moving a deal forward becomes a lot easier when the buyer(s) connected to the deal own the problem or own fixing the problem.
Become proficient at articulating value at all levels in your buyer’s business:
In today’s sales landscape deals continue to involve more decision makers. Being capable of speaking to the positive business outcomes and metrics that resonate with each decision maker will help you keep your deals moving efficiently and effectively, at each stage of the buying process.
Easier said than done. We refer to this challenge as “the house of the customer”.
Think of the sales process as a house, with many rooms and multiple floors. You may be doing a great job in one room, speaking to the PBOs, solution requirements and metrics that resonate with a single decision maker or technical buyer. But, that person is only in one room on their own. You may be making good progress with that person, but you don’t have any idea what’s going on in the other rooms. When you’re not going higher and wider into the sales organization you’re going to get stuck in that one room and your deal will stall. How can you open the windows and doors to connect with other key decision makers in the house of the customer?
Improve your ability to connect to the other decision makers in sales organization by becoming proficient at articulating business value at all levels in your buyer’s business; low, high and wide.
Be audible-ready to articulate value and differentiation at all levels:
Find ways to improve your ability to “be audible-ready”, or quickly and effectively able to articulate your value drivers in a way that’s meaningful to each key stakeholder (COO, CEO, CTO, CRO, CFO, procurement buyers, etc.) Go higher, wider and deeper into the buyer’s organization. Open doors to other decision makers by asking questions like, “who owns the problem?” or “how does this affect your manager or other departments on a day to day basis?”.
Elite sellers are able to keep their deals moving forward by getting really good at articulating their solution’s differentiators, proof points or metrics and PBOs in a way that’s relevant to each level. The more proficient you become, the more you’ll be able to quickly move deals forward and close them at a premium repeatedly.
If you’re a Force Management customer: you can leverage your value card and messaging framework to improve your ability to articulate the business value of your solutions in a way that resonates with people high, low and deep in your buyer's organization.
If you’re not a Force Management customer: you can use similar sales messaging tools and pre-call planning guides to prepare and list out the relevant buyer value drivers you’re often hearing. Then you can leverage this list in your sales conversations. It may also help to list out answers to the questions listed below, as they pertain to your buying community and your solutions. List out the answers for technical buyers, economic buyers, and any other specific types of decision makers that you often work with:
- What problems do you solve for your customers?
- How do you specifically solve those problems?
- How do you do it differently than your competition?
- What’s your proof?
3. Execute at every stage of the sales cycle
It can often be easy, even for veteran sellers, to skip over multiple stages in the sales cycle, especially if they’re selling to someone they know. However, regardless of the buyer-seller relationship you may have, skipping stages always leads to roadblocks that could have easily been avoided. Elite sellers understand that the more purposeful they take on discovery during each stage of the sales and qualification process, the more prepared they’ll be to move the deal forward efficiently.
Our founder, John Kaplan often refers to the discovery process as a golf swing. The slower and more deliberate the swing, the further and more accurately you hit the ball.
The analogy he’s making relates to being more deliberate in ensuring you capture all of the critical information in each stage before jumping too quickly forward. For example, not moving a deal forward too fast until you’ve quantified enough business pain, or identified your champion. Both play a large role in increasing deal velocity, so why rush through your sales process without identifying these key criteria?
The acronym MEDDICC can help you ensure you don’t move forward without missing critical criteria. Even if your organization does not have a customized MEDDICC tool of their own, using the acronym can help you ensure you’re discovering all the key information you need to qualify the highest-possible opportunities and move them forward in a way that avoids any last-minute surprises. Use MEDDICC to qualify your deals early and often. Identify any gaps where you may not be meeting the criteria and target those in your next meeting.
If you want to take a deeper dive on how MEDDICC helps drive deal velocity and improve margins, this on-demand webinar may be worth a watch.
Increase Your Ability to Uncover Business Pain:
For more insights on “Why Your Deals Are Taking Too Long” listen to this episode of The Audible-Ready Podcast.
The key to closing high-value opportunities (again and again) is to improve your ability to ask great questions. Learn how to dig deeper in your sales discovery calls so you can effectively uncover prospect pain points with real business implications. Subscribe to our blog, designed specifically for sales professionals, and receive your free Discovery Road Map Tip Sheet.