At a recent conference, a sales rep was telling me about a deal he should have won. After hearing his story, I couldn’t help but agree. He should have made the sale.
Even worse, it was clear that someone was ruining his chances. And I knew exactly who it was. (This same person has sunk my own deals, too.)
Alex sells software that helps clients grow sales by speeding up new product introductions and shortening ramp time for new reps. It automates aggravating, time-consuming procedures and lets the sales team easily create and update sales portals — without having to wait for a slow IT department. (For some decision makers, this is all they need to hear!)
Not only is the software great, but the firm’s principals excel at making sure their clients accomplish the key strategic initiatives that drove them to make a change.
Clearly Alex has a strong value proposition. But for some reason that he couldn’t pinpoint, he was really struggling with sales.
The sales opportunity
Last week, Alex and I debriefed a recent sales call with the head of sales in a company that truly fit his firm’s ideal client profile.
After a bit of initial chitchat and positioning of his firm’s capabilities, Alex asked about the company’s direction and the gaps in technology that needed to be closed in order to achieve their business objectives.
So far, so good. He was focused on learning about key strategic initiatives that could be addressed by his firm’s software tools and expertise. Then his prospect started talking about something that really bugged him…
Prospect: I’m so frustrated with our IT department. There’s been a typo up on our website now for three weeks. And it’s in an area that we’re really trying to drive customers to right now.
Alex: With our system, you could have that corrected in 20 seconds.
Prospect: Wow! Impressive. What about when we come up with a new update to our proposals. Right now, we’ve got all those old versions floating around out there and it’s creating a huge issue.
Alex: No problem. We can take care of that right away too. If we get it set up right at the beginning, we can totally automate that step.
Prospect: Wow, that would save us time! How about…
Alex: We can do that! When we set up a demo, I’ll show you how easy it is.
Prospect: What about…? It drives us nuts here.
Alex: Simple, simple, simple. I can show you or anyone else on your staff how to do it in three seconds flat.
And so it went. After the call, Alex was ecstatic. Everything the decision maker asked about, he could do! In fact, he felt like he was really removing a burden from this person and reassuring him as to how good it would be to work with his firm.
Yet he’d felt like this far too many times before, only to be disappointed when nothing happened.
Prospects kept saying that his software was really “cool,” and that when it was time to make a switch. They promised to take a more in-depth look at his product. But Alex couldn’t make a living off of future promises. He needed sales now.