To continuously increase our closing and win rates, we must understand why our sales don’t close. While there are many reasons why a sale doesn’t close – these are the five most common reasons in B2B technology sales.
1. The Business Impact Isn’t Depicted
To close deals, we must think about the purchase from the buyer’s perspective instead of the sellers.
No buyer or leader of an organizations wakes up and proclaims, “I’d really like to spend our money on X product today!” Though it would be great if decision makers obsessed over and craved our product, they instead are focused on their problem or goal that our product can help.
When writing a proposal / presenting a solution, salespeople often forget that the buyer is most interested in acquiring a bottom-line business impact, not the product. Ultimately, they are seeking something out that will increase the valuation of the company, increase the competitiveness of the company, or maintain the survival of the company.
At all times during the sales cycle (and especially during the close), we must showcase how the proposed solution delivers a business impact. Namely, how it increase revenues, increases profitability, reduces cycle time, improves first time quality, or helps meet compliance.
By focusing on the business problem or goal of the customer, we build the strongest case for closing the sale.
2. “Why Now” is Not Addressed.
Okay, so you write your best proposal, give an excellent presentation to the buyer… and then it happens.
“Thanks so much for coming in, we’ll get back to you!”
From here, we see sales cycles drag on and on… and even a large percentage of them never end up reaching a real conclusion. To avoid this, we need to help the buyer understand why they need to implement the solution now.
Because buyers buy to reach a goal or solve a problem, we must remind them of the ramifications of delaying reaching that goal or solving that problem.
Since we are already focusing on the business impact of the offering – let’s put it in tangible terms that captures their interest.
- For every month that goes by without X in place, you are losing Y of profit from Z cost.
- If you don’t have X in place by Y date, you risk failing to meet ABC & cannot legally serve Z category of customer.
- If profit margins of X product line don’t reach Y by Z date, you could be out of a job.
By showing the buyer that timely action is in their best interest (for valuation, competitiveness, and survival), we are more likely to close the sale, and do it quicker.
3. Areas of Risk aren’t Mitigated.
We’ve demonstrated why our offering is in the best interest of the customer. We’ve demonstrated why it’s in their best interest to implement it now. So, what’s the hold up?
We need to address and mitigate risk!
In B2B sales there are 5 types of risk.
Contractual Terms & Conditions – What does the contract between the buyer & seller entail? If expectations aren’t met, which party is liable? What do the payment terms look like? Is there a warranty?
Scheduled Delivery – The risk that whatever you are buying isn’t delivered to you within the time frame that you need it and within the time frame discussed & agreed upon.
Performance – Will the product or service that you are buying perform as advertised? Can it reach the functionality that your organization needs?
Reliability – Will the product or service that you are buying perform constantly over time? Is the margin of error consistent and can you depend on it?
Obsolesce – Is this product or service an obsolete solution? Does it comply with the modern platforms and standards? Furthermore, does it protect itself from becoming obsolete?
By addressing these elements of risk, we can eliminate common points of objection and move the sales cycle to close.
4. The Buying Team is Not Assembled.
Ok, here’s another huge piece.
We must make sure that we assemble the full buying team when we build the business case, address the risks, and ask for the close.
There are 3 major stakeholders in the buying team. And we need to make sure that we are assembling and working with all of them right from the beginning.
Business-Level Decision Makers ultimately have profit and loss responsible for the entity that you are working with. It is their job to ensure that entity’s survival, growth, and valuation. We need to include the business-level decision maker because they are the ones most tied in with the outcome that your offering provides and they have the highest-level decision-making ability. If we can get the business-level decision maker onboard for talking with us, the rest of the stakeholders are sure to follow.
User-Level Decision Makers will be the people within the organization that use/leverage your product or service. They will be the ones who have to interact with it, so they have some level of decision-making authority. We will include them to discuss technical aspects like usability, reliability, and capability. By getting the user-level decision makers on board, it makes implementation timelines and conversations around risk much easier.
Financial-Level Decision Makers are the individuals within the organization that have a procurement role. It is their job to challenge price and review terms and conditions. Because of how involved they are (and how they could raise objections later in the sales cycle) it is best to include them from the beginning.
Remember, assembling this team won’t be easy, as buyers aren’t used to assembling this team themselves. Make sure you are actively leading the formation of the team and to address all three stakeholders throughout the sales cycle.
5. The Salesperson Doesn’t Ask for the Close.
Although it may sound funny, most of the salespeople we work with don’t when to ask for the close – or more commonly, don’t ever ask.
The reason why is simple – they are afraid of hearing “no”. See, the closer we come to winning a sale, we also become closer to losing it.
While this is understandable, salespeople have a commitment to closing. Whether that be closing with a win or closing with a loss.
We can take some of the pressure off my asking simply and casually to the business-level decision maker “Are you ready to get started?” or “Do we have a deal?”
In summary, if you are working with the real decision makers, have a real business case, describe why they have to do it now, and mitigate the risk, then you’ve gained the right to ask for the sale.
Posted on: June 5, 2019