This guest post from Leslie Ye, Senior Executive Communications Strategist at HubSpot, contends that not every sale is a good sale. There are times when it’s best to hit the brakes before sealing the deal and assess whether this customer is right for your offering and able to implement it for maximum value.
Traditional marketing wisdom tells us that building customer relationships begins with the sales process. Every product, company and industry has its own unique journey, and it’s our job as B2B solution providers to establish trust, credibility and value every step of the way.
As a former salesperson and sales manager, I know how much effort it takes to close a complex sale. Although it took extra work and time to create a business case to prove the ROI of investing in my solution (an ERP system), I always felt the process was well worth it.
There are a few reasons I advocate using a business case as part of the sales process, particularly for long and/or complex sales cycles. One reason is obvious: a business case includes ROI calculations that prove to your customer the financial logic of investing in your solution.
What makes sales management such a tough job? There are many reasons, but a very basic one is that your success as a B2B sales manager depends on the performance of your sales team. If your sales team doesn’t perform well and make quota—despite your best efforts to coach, motivate, support, mentor, and lead—then you can’t succeed.
Recently we wrote a blog post, When Demos Sabotage the Sale, about the dangers of showing a demo too early in the sales cycle. At least one reader reached out to us to ask a logical question -- if you’re not going to lead with the demo, what should you lead with?
In our view, the answer has something to do with that old quote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” The best opportunities can be found when initial conversations are centered around the prospect’s business problem. Both the salesperson and the prospect need to understand that business problem before they can enter into a mutually beneficial relationship.
Many times an offering may have what a prospect might consider to be indirect benefits. These are benefits that, although real, are harder to directly link to the offering and/or are harder to actually capture. A couple of categories of benefits that often fall into this indirect bucket are labor savings (e.g., productivity gains) or revenue enhancements (e.g., sales growth). If your prospect struggles with the direct linkage of these benefits from your offering, how can you use them in your business case?