How does a done deal come undone? Your rep had a good relationship with a great contact, the right solution to meet the customer’s needs, and strong buying signals right up to the last meeting. Then came the dreaded call: “Thank you for the proposal, but we’ve decided to go with someone else.” So, what happened? Could this loss have been prevented?
In our experience of looking at thousands of win-loss reviews and talking to salespeople and sales managers, in many cases the salesperson did not have a full picture of how the decision was being made, who was influencing the final decision, and what these influencers thought of your rep.
Equipping your salespeople with the right skills will ensure this kind of thing never happens to your team again. There are three important contributors to sales success: learning as much as possible about the customer’s decision process, ascertaining who is involved, and determining their level of influence.
In the business-to-business world, buying decisions have grown more complex. Multiple departments and multiple people are often involved, and frequently one person can say “yes,” but many people can say “no.” Often, a complex decision and/or one requiring a large investment will require a lengthy decision process with multiple steps and hurdles to jump over. And often, at the end, procurement steps in with more obstacles.
To understand and anticipate the decision process and recognize the players involved means establishing long-term relationships with a range of people who can provide information and answers to key questions. The payoff is to build a foundation of knowledge for an effective competitive strategy.