If you have been worried that you should be closing more of your sales opportunities lately then you are not alone. Here are some tips that have helped me regain confidence and improve overall conversion when dealing with lengthy sales cycles and a Decision-Making-Unit (DMU) that consists of multiple members.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. While this may seem obvious, it is something salespeople usually don’t allocate adequate planning time to. Set aside at least 15 minutes before every b2b sales meeting, even if you think you have enough information or know enough about your prospect.
- Read through your communication history in your CRM tool to remind yourself of your communication with the prospect as well as any other team members involved. If you are working with Pipeline Factory, your pre-sales agent will have done all of this for you so it is vital you are up to speed.
- Read through the Linkedin profiles of the participants and their most recent shared posts. This will let you know more about their personality and have information for a short icebreaker before you begin the meeting.
- Read through relevant sections of their company website to make sure you are well informed so you don’t ask questions you should really know the answers to.
In your preparation, it is important that you find things to talk about that are relevant to you and your prospect. Your willingness to work with them will make them feel the same about you.
After the icebreaker and before the official part of the presentation ask these 4 questions:
- “What prompted you to attend this meeting?”
- “What are the main challenges you are facing today?”
- “What are you expecting to gain from this meeting?”
- “What is your role in the purchasing process?”
With these questions, you are looking to discover important information that can be used to make the presentation relatable and address their challenges effectively. You also want to know whether this presentation can lead to a quote, or if a follow-up meeting is needed with more stakeholders.
Remember to take notes, and do it openly. They’ll appreciate your attentiveness.
- Include discussion around their challenges and how your solution can address them.
- Cover the specific ways in which your solution can help achieve their goals.
- Mention the clients you have and any results you achieved with them.
Questions to ask after the sales meeting
- “Did (solution) meet the expectations they had upfront? (ask how and why)
Was anything missed?
- “You mentioned a few challenges at the beginning of our conversation (like A-B-C).
Do you think (solution) can solve these challenges in your organization?”
(if yes ask how to let them explain in their own words to achieve more buy-in)
- “Based upon what you just mentioned and what you’ve seen so far would you be interested in taking things further?”
Even if they have said they are the decision maker you will still need to ask:
- “Who else would be involved in taking this purchase process further?”
This is to find out who is part of the Decision-Making-Unit (DMU) or who the budget holder is.
- “What would the purchase process look like within your organization?”
This gives more insight into the decision-making process.
- “How can we help you to take things further?”
Code for, how can we get this to the attention of budget holders/decision makers?
Decide for yourself if a second meeting with more DMU members/stakeholders is required. If so, explain how this is different from the first meeting and ask: “Which other stakeholders should be involved?”
It is important to make sure you do not miss crucial people in the decision-making process
Ask them to provide input for their specific requests/situations to be discussed in the next meeting. If possible, agree on a date for the next appointment.
Follow up actions
Salespeople are often socially well attuned, so being annoying is against their nature. But it is part of the process and can be done well without becoming annoying.
On average 80% of deals require 5 follow-ups or more.
44% of salespeople stop after the 2nd follow-up.
Here are some simple things to include on your first follow-up:
- If participants are not first-degree Linkedin connections: send an invite and thank them
- Send a follow-up email with:
- The specific challenges they mentioned
- The problems your company and your solution solves
- General benefits of your solution or added value
- The agreed actions (eg participant X will send an email with more specifics by date YY)
- The date and time of the next meeting and who should be in attendance.
Managing a sales process well is essential for success and requires more time and effort than most people think. When dealing with lengthy sales cycles and a DMU that consists of multiple participants you’ll want to keep the momentum going and make the deal.
Good luck with your sales activities and if you have any comments or suggestions send me a message at email@example.com
Here is an example of a follow-up email that works well and makes a nice template for use after most of your first meetings:
Thank you for your time this afternoon. It was good to get a better understanding of your challenges:
(insert specific challenge 1)
(insert specific challenge 2 etc)
and your goals:
(insert goal 1)
(insert goal 2)
The key to success here is to get your sales team to present to qualified prospects from international markets with an extra 5 appointments per month.
I will flesh out the solution we discussed, where we talked about how many international appointments you could expect from having an improved pre-sales strategy.
You mentioned that you could send me some additional information about (topic XX)
Please let me know when I can expect that so I can reserve time to get it all done for us.