Sales Techniques to Control Internal Sales Presentations
In a process driven sales cycle, a major point of frustration can be when opportunities get stuck in the sales pipeline - somewhere between the proposal stage and the implemented stage. As a sales manager, you know that you have made your case to the right person and that there was enough interest to move the process forward. However, after you have matched needs with solutions, and painted a picture of what life will be like with that need met, there still seems to be no final buying decision.
Executed properly, a sales process will naturally lead a prospect or customer to a buying decision. As sales professionals, we are aware of the stages of the sales cycle. Salespeople are taught to prospect in order to fill the funnel, to qualify in order to assess possible fit, and to propose, close, then grow business. One place in the sales cycle that goes neglected, and is often the exact spot where things get stalled, go stagnant, and fizzle out, is the place where your contact has to sell your service internally once they are convinced that it is the right decision for their company to make.
If you listen closely to your prospect, and identify their internal buying process, you will note that often times your contact, regardless of title and influence, will have to justify the purchase of your product or service to others within their organization. There may be several others in the organization that will need to understand and give assent to your solutions. This internal customer sell is often where we need help, because the sale has fallen and can’t get back up.
Think of how long it has taken you to learn your product and to communicate its value. It can take many years to gain the old world selling skills necessary to persuade and move potential customers to take action. With this in mind, we must come to terms with the fact that the individual stakeholder, who becomes convinced of our value, must be educated so that they can turn around internally and sell on our behalf. Properly executed, a buying process will inevitably contain these elements of accountability, and this is a good thing all around, as long as we learn to present vicariously through our contact.
So what proactive customer interactions can we employ as sales professionals to make sure our internal contact/stakeholder is properly equipped and prepared to present our product or service?
First we must become mindful of the questions that our contact will be asked. The best run companies, the ones that pay their bills and become loyal advocates, are typically the most diligent in their purchasing procurement process. Elite sales professionals learn to visualize their contact, pleading the case before judge and jury in order to comply with the purchasing approval process. Here are some of the questions that are often asked:
- What is this company and what do they do?
- Why do we need them?
- What will this cost us?
- Where will the budget come from?
- Are there other companies that can do this?
- If so, can they do cheaper, and/or better?
- If this company has good suggestions, why don't we just implement their suggestions into our current process?
- How much of a pain will it be to implement this new solution, and how much of a disruption will there be?
- Will this cost of change negate any benefit we might get from implementing their solution?
- What is the return on the investment and how long before we breakeven on the investment?
These are just a few of the potential questions and thoughts that will arise as your stakeholder attempts to implement your solution. Obviously there will likely be many more specific questions that will also arise.
If you use these questions as a guide when you are making a proposal, always thinking about the next move, you can educate your contact to present your solution more effectively. Just to be clear, educating your client is not synonymous with bludgeoning them with massive amounts of information. Rather, it is doing your job of qualifying and proposing properly and then putting the proper reference materials into their hands so that they have the answers to the test. Ideally, you would like to be there with them to help them through this line of questioning but that is simply not always possible. So what’s the next best thing?
First and foremost, remember that nobody buys confused. We highly recommend using an online sales presentation, built on the premise of your value proposition. With an online sales presentation, you are able to tell your story in your own words to the right person, to be consumed when they are ready! An online sales presentation also allows you to send a complete message directly to your stakeholder, so that they may review your value proposition, then send to their circle of influence. In this way, you will be able to disseminate large amounts of information, simply, powerfully and in context. Most importantly, you will be equipping your contact with everything they need to sell your product internally. Things to possibly include: the original presentation, ROI calculators, rates, contracts, contact sheets, links to customer interface, personalized messaging via audio and video, as well as implementation plans and timelines.
One of our clients recently made an online presentation to communicate an implementation plan for a very large multi-national prospect. They sent it to one person (their contact) and watched the tracking as it was forwarded throughout the organization 55 times! In a complex sale, there is tremendous value in leveraging multimedia online sales presentations to empower prospective buyers.