This is part 1 of a 3 part guide. See part 2 here.
“We are so excited by [your software/SAAS product]! We’ve loved the presentation and our test! It is going to be a huge help to [save us time/money/make us money/scale our business]. Where do we go from here?”
For those of you SAAS veterans who have been in this position, you would instantly realise that while you may have nailed the demos up until this point, your work really only starts now.
There are many layers to B2B enterprise sales, with each layer presenting challenges and gate-keepers designed to shrivel up that early excitement and your bonus cheque along with it.
Oftentimes, despite our past experience in selling to many different types of organisations, we forget key steps along the way and find ourselves out maneuvered, lost and blind-sighted by an unanticipated decision by the “higher ups.”
In the hope of arming my fellow salesmen out there, I have put together a guideline, which I will publish in parts, to ensure that you can digest, critique and recreate the process for yourselves – never again to be dizzied by the complex world of B2B sales.
Please note: In this process, I am not going to cover the personality aspects of selling, such as building rapport and connecting with the buyer, as that should come naturally and each person has their own personal preference when it comes to engaging with the buyer.
Step 1, the objective
The first step in this process is to identify “the single sales objective” – why are they buying?
If the lead is from an inbound source or if your Sales Development Rep (SDR) has done a great job, then you are likely to know the answer to this question before the call, as they may have told you this already, at least in parts.
Contrary to public opinion, most of sales is not about talking. It’s about listening.
It’s about revealing layers of your product or service and truly hearing the responses of the buyer at each point. You will need to constantly be adapting your offering and ensuring that you address the buyer’s concerns, ease their pain and demonstrate the benefits to utilising your product/service. Some initial questions which you can ask to get the buyer to open up about their needs/pain point could be:
If you are not sure how they are addressing their needs:
“[Name], I’d like to make sure that this call is as relevant to you as possible, so before we dive in to the demo, would you mind telling me how you currently address your needs with regards to [problem your product/service is solving]?”
What I love about this type of question, is that it demonstrates that you value the buyers time and are focused on helping the buyer.
Consultative selling is a great method for building relationships with buyers and in the first call, when the buyer is at the height of their uncertainty as to the value you are offering, it helps them realize your interest in their needs.
If they already have a solution in place:
“[Name], can you tell me about your experience with your current [system/process/product]? What do you love about it? What do you think could be improved?”
The positives about this type of question is that you give the buyer the chance to talk about themselves and elaborate, but you have added some clearly defined directions in your question as to where you want them to take their responses.
People love to talk about themselves and how they feel and this too is a great in road to allow you to dig further into their response and flesh out the real motivation that is driving their decision.
Depending on your product or service, this may be the critical conversation in your sales process, so it is important to ensure that you outline exactly what it is that is going to generate the value for the buyer or alleviate their pain.
My next article will focus on finding and connecting with the buying influencer. If you enjoyed the read, please like and share!
Founder, CEO @Whistle
With over 10 years of selling technology to hundreds of SMB and Enterprize companies across multiple sectors, I have begun to wrap my head around the art of sales. I’ve been a part of two exits – one as a founder and the other as a founding team member. I’m a people person, who loves to connect, lead, share experiences, coach, strategize and implement. I take learning seriously and dedicate two hours per week to direct learning. I enjoy writing and sharing ideas and am a recognized thought leader in the SAAS community.