I was recently having lunch with a close friend and we were planning a future golf outing (should not be a surprise for anyone who knows me). As we discussed our plans, there were two sales reps sitting at the table next to us. They obviously didn’t realize how clearly their voices carried in this particular restaurant and that everyone could hear their conversation. They were talking about all of the challenges they were having in closing deals as they approached the end of Q2. The bulk of their conversation revolved around their difficulties closing deals and that they were in jeopardy of slipping into the second half of the year.
When the two reps finally left, my friend and I finished discussing our golf plans and began to reflect on what we had heard. I shared the results of a recent Sirius Decisions study. Sirius Decisions discovered that one of the top challenges for their sales leaders was to have a buyer-driven sales process that allows them to retain control and drive predictability in their team’s forecasts.
The last 30 minutes of our lunch was spent talking about how many reps truly understand what drives decisions in their accounts, and do they know how the projects they are working on and the problems they are trying to solve link to the mission-critical C-Level priorities within those organizations? It’s imperative to understand that resources flow from connecting to these priorities! Do we actively move up the food chain to understand these ‘uber’ priorities or do we stay in our comfort zone?
Here are a few tips and questions you can ask yourself to ensure your deals don’t slip:
- What business outcomes do our clients and prospects drive that the executives can’t live without?
- Business Issues are among the one or two most important priorities of the C-Suite.
- Remember to “drill upwards” before you “dig deeper.”
- This moves us out of the Solution box and towards Problems and Business Issues. This is where we can start to uncover real value.
- Are we asking WHY enough? Simple questions such as “Why are you putting resources into this initiative/ project?” or “Why does this problem need to be solved?”
- Remember that a lack of connection to a primary Business Issue is one of the biggest reasons that a deal slips or stalls.
If you clearly understand what is driving your customer’s buying decisions, and purposefully link to the mission-critical C-Level priorities, you will position yourself to close more deals and finish the year in a dramatically better position than when you began planning for 2016.