Avoiding The Ugliest Process

Got reminded today of what a nasty little shock can hurt like, when a decent-looking prospect suddenly ran aground.  I went on a sales training session run by the internal ‘sales ops’ guys of a software house I sold for in the early Nineties.  One theme of the day was on ‘process’, and they put up a slide of the worst sales campaign you could imagine.  With graphics to rub it all in, you can probably picture how it’d go.  You’re at the wrong level (in those days cases, at IT Manager rather than preferred CFO/CEO), the named budget is way too small, no business drivers shape the wish-list, after the first meeting you can’t get through to anyone, your competition get quoted at every turn, and on it goes….

It’s an intriguing Training pointer as well, that if you run a similar training session yourself, get the audience to say what characterises their ‘campaigns from hell’, and when the same kind of list appears, you can then knock over each one for them.

Momentum & Urgency

Anyhow, for what I sell there tend to be two reasons why deals stall in total frustration.  The first is about momentum, where everyone is excitedly jumping around in the initial meet, yet nothing ever happens after, and the second is more on urgency, with key business drivers that should kick-in quicker/easier not being pinned down.

So I’d certainly recommend as one sales tip, understanding what you want to avoid to ensure a smooth progressing campaign, and work out what you can do to head them off.  For me, one simple tool is the Close for a follow-up meeting in a few days time, to verify you’ve captured the benefits sought, provide extra credibility/proof we can indeed help, and to consider the best way forward with approaching others requiring involvement in the decision.

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