How to shorten a complex technology sales cycle by wearing your customers shoes …
Let’s Be Honest Why Don’t B2B Customers Buy From You?
Normally in a B2B sales cycle there are a few reasons or obstacles we face when chasing a contact that we thought was a warm prospect, but in fact is quickly turning into a mis-judged or premature sales call.
So what are those typical reasons?
1. The prospective customer does not recognise that they have a problem because they do not recognise the symptoms (inefficiency, bad productivity, customer churn, etc.);
2. They don’t realise that they need to take any action because they have not identified with a particular challenge (i.e. its always been like this …);
3. Or they do not believe or trust that your solution will work because you are selling the answer to early (i.e. before they realise themselves that they even have a problem or need to solve it.)
Trying to lead an uncertain customer through the sales funnel, typically ends up with a failure, in either a delayed or defeated selling process. Prematurely presenting a solution to a customer who does not identify with the problem is a recipe for disaster.
By putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and understanding their needs and pain points, there are some steps you can take to shorten the sales cycle by empathising with your customers challenges.
Understand your customer’s goals
Start by understanding your customer’s business objectives, goals, and pain points. Listen carefully to their needs and requirements so that you can better position your product or service as a solution to their specific challenges.
Keep it simple
Avoid using technical jargon or overly complex explanations. Instead, focus on explaining how your solution can help them achieve their objectives and solve their challenges. Use plain language and be concise – all they want to know is why your product, what is unique and why should they trust you.
Provide added value
Your customer wants to know what’s in it for them. Focus on the benefits of your solution and how it can add value to their business. Demonstrate how your solution can save them time and money, improve efficiency, or increase revenue.
Make it a streamlined process
Make it as easy as possible for your customer to evaluate your solution. Provide clear documentation, offer demos or trials, and be responsive to their questions and concerns.
Follow up, focus on education and information
Keep the lines of communication open with your customer. Follow up regularly to ensure they have everything they need to make a decision by providing them information that builds trust and shows you have their best interests at heart. Be available to answer any questions they may have and address any concerns.
How Do I Know If I Have A Problem With Sales?
If you begin to see inconsistent results – especially if you over rely on cold calling for new business development, then you’ll know that you have to re-assess your sales strategy and tactics.
If your prospects have to ask you each time “Who are you again …” then you’ll know you are not remaining top of mind with your prospects or maybe even existing customers – because you do less educating and only make contact when you are selling or reselling as a contract comes to an end.
If your approach to “reaching out” is the same for everybody, then you don’t really know your contacts that well – because you’ll need to understand how best to make a connection with your prospective leads, especially those who aren’t ready to buy yet.
A lack of knowledge or understanding on how to turn out reach activities into an opportunity based on advising rather than selling will end up as a “dead-end”.
Knowing how to nurture your leads that are just starting their buying process – resisting the desire to “jump” for the sale as soon as they do something remotely interesting will be a valuable lesson.
Changing “all about me” To A Buyer-Centric Mindset (remember those shoes).
Use your expertise, knowledge and experience as a way to educate prospects so they can self-qualify for you.
It’s important to set up your own lead scoring process and workflows to ensure that you work on the best opportunities, and that you’re not missing out on any others.
By becoming a trusted “expert” or “thought leader” by sharing insights and offering advice via your social networks, it opens peoples eyes to the value you bring and can be a starting point to building relationships with your audience.
Learn how to recognise when prospects are open to engage and understand from a buyer’s persona in what way a customer prefers to interact.
To keep on top of your inbound sales approach, make sure you implement and use a sales CRM tool to manage and record your actions and use Social CRM to collect insight via social media platforms and networks on a prospects readiness to buy.
And think of sales as relationship building, your contacts are people rather than decision makers and offer advice rather than think only of closing a sale.
The more that you can understand a buyer’s perspective the more likely you will be able to provide the right advice at the right time. By keeping an ongoing and engaged dialogue with prospects it will keep your business “front of mind” for the right time when the sales cycle moves on from a consideration phase to making a decision.
Inbound Sales Methodology
With so many touch points now in the sales process the sales cycle is becoming longer, so each contact with a prospect becomes even more important. Taking on an educational role will not address all the challenges that such sales processes have but it will help your solution stand out from the rest of the crowd.
The Inbound Sales Methodology covers every step of the buyer’s journey on the road from being a stranger to eventually a loyal customer.
“The inbound sales methodology transforms selling to match the way people buy”. (HubSpot)
The reality is that for many companies they just don’t have enough sales leads to fill their pipeline. So when you get a lead how can you shorten the time frame between nurturing strangers to become customers?
Read more: 19x proven ways to shorten the SaaS sales cycle
So the relationships you build through sales are what will keep your lead pipeline active. The Inbound Sales Methodology covers every step of the buyer’s journey on the road from introducing a stranger to what your company does, right through to qualifying and nurturing leads to become eventually a loyal customer
To help you fill that sales pipeline!
- Prioritise buyers that are active in the buying journey
- When a buyer expresses interest look at this as an opportunity to offer advice not just sell.
- Personalise your content to each buyer persona and adjust your approach to the demands of the buyer’s timeline – not yours.
If you want to go a little deeper in to how to shorten the sales cycle read more in our e-book.
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