Six ways to win deals quicker
Sales teams have learned a lot over the course of 2020. Perhaps chief among those lessons is that the need for adaptability, flexibility, and quick thinking is more important than ever. Many sales teams had to reinvent their playbooks in 2020, and about 40% of sales leaders reported that they missed their revenue targets for the year.
One of the challenges sales teams find in meeting their targets is deals that move too slowly in the sales pipeline. Meeting targets now and in the future will rely, in part, on deals having a speedy journey. Today’s competitive market leaves little room for slow deals — there are just too many competitors waiting to swoop in. Truly stellar sales teams must adapt their sales techniques to win more deals faster and beat their sales forecast. Read this article for six tips to do just that.
1. Know your prospects
For sellers looking to close deals more quickly, one of the first things they should do is research their industry to truly understand who they are selling to. Building detailed, accurate buyer personas based on internal or external data can help sellers better comprehend their target prospects. Each member of a sales team should be able to answer the following questions effortlessly:
- Which industries do their target prospects operate in?
- Which companies within those industries should they target and why?
- Who are the key decision makers at target companies?
Sales teams that understand their target audience and what role their product or service plays in their industry will build a fuller, more detailed prospect list.
2. Understand buyer intent
In today’s competitive market, it’s not enough for sellers to pitch their product or service as a solution to a prospect. Today’s buyers want to understand why a product is the right solution for them. It’s not uncommon for a company to compete against others with similar products. Sellers must prove why their product is the right option by illustrating a unique ROI and outcomes and aligning it with what buyers want.
This means sales teams must educate themselves on what is top of mind for their prospective buyers, their business, and their pain points — even those issues they’re not aware of. Then they should personalize the educational sales pitch or presentation by showing how their solution can solve the prospective buyer’s unique challenges.
One way to understand buyer intent is by adopting a sales philosophy called collaborative selling. Rather than focusing solely on closing a deal, sellers who use collaborative selling focus on building mutually beneficial partnerships. In a world where 44% of buyers say that sellers who don’t understand their company and needs is an immediate deal killer, understanding buyer intent is key.
3. Leverage your network
Throughout their careers, sellers develop huge networks of people. One of the primary ways these networks can be leveraged is through referrals. A 2014 study by IDC revealed that 73% of executives want to work with sales professionals who have been referred to them by someone they know, so sellers who use their network to their advantage are more likely to find and develop meaningful connections that can lead to quality deals.
It’s fairly common that sellers who operate in small or niche industries have a contact at a prospective company. Even for those sellers in broad or diverse industries, these types of connections are not uncommon. At Collective[i], we’ve built ConnectorsTM with this in mind. Connectors utilizes social selling theories to uncover people within your sales team and your professional networks who have meaningful connections with each and every prospect. Connectors can even identify existing contacts that sellers may not be aware of — automatically building a bridge for sellers to use when making contact with a prospect.
4. Know your competition
To close deals faster, sellers need to understand who they’re up against and what their competitors are offering to better convey their product or service’s value. Product differentiation is an essential part of sales, and sellers need to be able to effectively demonstrate why their product or solution is different from and better suited to a prospect’s needs than competing offers are.
While product differentiation has become increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced market, there are five key ways sellers can differentiate the value of their offerings:
- Truly unique features that benefit buyers
- Proprietary or patented technology that’s a cut above the competition
- Stellar performance and proof it outperforms competitors
- Functional design elements that make a solution stand out
- Winning customer service that promises long-term partnership and support
To best differentiate, sales teams should keep up with industry innovation among competitors to stay abreast of new and upcoming developments. Consider competition a challenge, not a detriment. It provides sales teams with a jumping-off point and a way to illustrate ROI — not just about how good a solution is, but about how it’s stronger than the competition.
5. Streamline your process
The sales process takes time — time for sellers to respond to buyer inquiries and for every decision maker on the buyer side to weigh in. All that leaves plenty of time for deals to sizzle out. Smart sales teams know how to organize and streamline their processes to cut out as much empty time as possible.
An easy way to accomplish this is by getting all the sellers and decision makers together in one place. Collective[i]’s response to this is our Virtual DealRoomsTM. Virtual DealRooms provide a space for all the stakeholders to gather, collaborate, and communicate. Lawyers and finance teams can negotiate contracts. Marketing and communications professionals can support the sales journey. And sellers can collaborate and communicate more effectively with buyers in real time. Virtual DealRooms streamlines sales processes by aligning sales activities.
6. Partner with the buyer
Sales isn’t a “one and done” activity. Sellers should focus on building and maintaining relationships with potential buyers and long-term customers alike. In fact, buyer-focused selling has the ability to increase conversion rates and keep prospective clients engaged. A 2021 study by LinkedIn revealed that 89% of buyers describe the salespeople they ultimately choose to do business with as trusted advisors — demonstrating the need for true partnerships. Gaining insights and building valued relationships allows sellers to foster better connections now and in the future.
Furthermore, building long-term partnerships and connections drives revenue more readily than acquiring new prospects. Bain & Company found that across financial services, a 5% increase in customer retention could lead to as much as a 25% increase in revenue, which has a big impact on a company’s sales forecast. Satisfied customers, on average, tend to stick with their sellers. Maintaining true partnerships is a sales technique to win prospects once and potentially sell to them for years to come.
With Collective[i]’s Intelligent InsightsTM and C[i] RecommendsTM tools, sellers have access to optimized, daily lists of next and best actions to take with prospects and current buyers. Gone are the days of remembering — and potentially forgetting — to check in on buyers and any new needs they may have. By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, Intelligent Insights will guide sellers to tasks to make the most impact possible in their day.Explore Collective[i]