Hey tech sellers. Nick and Paul back again. Today we briefly chat about this whole “managing the pipe” thing.
Right, and what's the sort of big problems you're finding?
One of the issues we are finding is that some companies get good at having disciplines on how they look at the sales pipe, and understandably what they do is spend time and energy at the closing end, around sales proposals and closing the deal, and that's important.
Yeah as that’s how you get the money.
Yeah, get the money and get over the line, but sometimes that causes lack of focus on the top part of the pipeline, which is where your leads and opportunities are. So, what could happen is you can be so focused on getting the deals over the line, you forget you need to be doing some work on the leads, to qualify them, understand opportunities and keep in touch with them.
This is so that when we do manage to get some of those closing deals over the line, we don't end up with this big “lull", and that we keep our whole pipe moving.
Which impacts cash flow and all of that.
Yep, because if we don’t promote, or qualify stuff at the top of the pipe enough, we're going to lag and that's a terrible thing, as you say, the cash flow stuff comes into play.
There’s lots of you out there that go through the peaks and troughs of the sales as we have briefly described, and as we mentioned last week, we can identify gaps and opportunities for you quickly.
A couple of hours with a good sales audit process will give you that picture. A good place to start, understanding where you are at right now.
So, if you aren’t already, “manage both ends of the pipe.”
Hi, Nick here again from Sell More Tech. I want to talk about the power of storytelling.
Stories are real and people get them
There's lots of research now that supports that people remember things and get inspired by stories that they can make a link to. I'm sure you can think of some stories that you've heard that do that for you.
I just think back to my first hi tech sale, to a C suite person, who just didn't believe in the product. So I said to her, "Just watch, let us prove it." And I've used this story many times over. She simply did not believe. So she watched the product at work so to speak and came back and said, "Hey, I get it now, you've proven it to us." And I've used the power of that real story with equivalent roles, selling again. Absolutely works a trick because they can totally relate to it themselves.
Potential customers love the power of the story where you're telling them that the solution that you have makes a really big difference. And as it’s directly relevant to them, it really reinforces that.
Take the story to the next level - let the customer tell it to your prospect
And it’s even more effective if you then say to them that they can have a chat to that customer. Now that's an incredibly powerful way to sell. It's a story that gets people interested, it gets them engaged and they're now prepared to go and do a bit of hard work to make it happen. Talk to that person and the opportunity for you to engage meaningfully and make a sale go quickly and well.
I would encourage you in your travels to keep a note of really good stories that potential customers can relate to, because it will help you with your sales. And on that note, we've written a “five insights” document covering this and other sales tips. So go onto sellmoretech.biz and sign up and enjoy.
Technical founders and owners often make a real point of being very well prepared with a formal presentation when going to an initial sales meeting.
Through trial and error, I have learned that clean sheet selling can be a much more effective tactic.
I remember the day I went to a meeting at a major healthcare facility and arrived without my prepared presentation.
Panic set in!
Deciding to press on left me with two choices:
I chose the latter, and that meeting was the start of a new and more effective way of selling.
Clean sheet selling can seem intimidating, if you like the security that comes with being super prepared.
However, it is a very effective way of approaching that initial sales meeting, particularly if you go into it with an open mind and a willingness to learn about your audience. You need to be prepared to back yourself. You know your stuff and that means you will be able to communicate what you offer and how that could benefit your audience.
This freer approach is much more interactive and productive; a more formal product presentation runs the risk of losing people from the start.
You shouldn’t be getting into complex descriptions and demonstrations at that first meeting when you have no understanding of how and why that might be of interest to your audience.
In the case of the health care facility, we closed the sale and they became one of our closest and most successful customers. They really valued how we took that time to understand them, rather than just telling them our story with no context.
I continue to use clean sheet selling early in the sales process. And I find that it’s a highly effective tool for fast tracking sales process and creating deeper relationships with customers.