Simplify and Shorten Your Sales Cycle: Part Two
We recently hosted a webinar on how to shorten your sales cycle while increasing your deal size featuring SalesFolk CEO Heather R. Morgan and NewVoiceMedia’s VP of Sales and Customer Success, Paul Turner. They shared priceless anecdotes from their own prospecting experience and research, and their insights inspired a two-part blog series on the topic. Part one explored how to create messages that stand out in crowded voicemail and email inboxes and how to craft a proper sales cadence strategy. In part two, we’ll cover creating a sense of urgency in sales messages, qualifying prospects, overcoming objections to a sale and using technology to your advantage.
Creating a sense of urgency
Instead of trying to create the urgency in sales messages by offering a discount at the end of the quarter, for example, use what you know about the customer, through research and previous conversations, to uncover their priorities and incorporate them into your pitch.
“I think any sense of urgency has to come from them, not you,” Paul said. “Help tap into that by providing insight and being relevant. If you’ve done your research, you know who you’re speaking to, what they do, what they’ve blogged about. So, leverage that and let customer create a sense of urgency.”
Using technology to your advantage
Telephony integration technology, when paired with a CRM system, has made life much easier for sales reps by automating time-consuming manual tasks such as dialing and logging calls. These solutions allow reps to click to dial; use a local number; automatically record calls; and create dial lists that can react to inbound hand-raising and surface high-priority prospecting. CRM-integration allows sales reps and managers to access data that can shorten and simply sales cycles. Recent advances in speech-to-text technology has made it easier for sales managers to analyze calls for actionable insights. For example, which calls are the most effective and why? Are reps saying the right thing? Are they selling properly? Are they compliant?
Heather echoed the importance of using tools that automatically log data from sales interactions into the CRM. “It not only saves time for sales people, it also makes the data better, which makes sales organizations smarter.”
Qualifying the right prospects
Heather recommends defining qualification criteria for outbound leads early-on. “Ideally, you’re thinking about it when you’re building your lists,” she says. ”It’s tough to be 100 percent accurate, but you should only be sending emails to people and companies you believe are qualified, which goes back to having clear buyer personas. [That way] you can avoid sending messages to organizations that are too big or small to sell to.”
Sending the wrong messages can qualify YOU as spam. Define who you sell to, make that really clear to your sales and marketing teams, and build it into messages. It’s not just about getting a response; it’s about getting positive response from a qualified lead, so make sure you build in criteria for people to raise their hand and say, “this is not for me.”
Paul also cautioned against attempting to qualify out too soon.
“I want to speak to people, and I’m not going to try to push them down a path of self-qualification too quickly, whereas I’m also not going to hurry to put them into pipeline until I’m really happy that there is a closeable deal there,” he said. “But I think sometimes, in sales, there is a tendency to qualify out more often than we should.”
On overcoming objections
Salespeople often try to avoid potential objections to closing a deal. But it’s better to surface objections and confront them, rather than waiting for them come up when you’re not able to position them correctly.
“Even before we write our prospecting emails, we try to figure out what the objections might be,” Heather said. “There might be silent objections that are not being addressed that can kill a deal and prevent people from responding. Think about what those might be and address them.”
Heather recommends asking questions related to objections to try to get customers to bring them up and using anecdotes to overcome them.
Additionally, phrases such as, “I don’t’ think this is the right thing for you because,” or “I’m not sure not sure we’ll be able to do this for you because” are useful in surfacing potential deal-breakers. Prospects will either agree and qualify out – but at least they’ve done so early – or they will turn it around and say, “Why do you think that? You’re wrong…” At that point, you’re no longer selling; they’re buying.
For more on this topic, read our latest inside sales research, on how organizations could transform sales performance with better technology investments. Or listen to the webinar recording here.