Today's guest post is by Chris van Löben Sels, director of business development and marketing at Selligy.
You know the pattern: your salesperson’s initial reports about the deal are positive. She works the playbook and the deal moves along – sounds like there’s not much to worry about.
And then . . .
The deal goes from the front burner to quiet...to stuck.
Why didn’t the sales manager and salesperson see this coming? When a deal goes just a bit off the rails or the warning signs are few, it can be easy to just let it go, so the deal doesn’t come up at the next status meeting or is skipped over, as everyone believes it to be proceeding without incident. By the time the manager and salesperson realize there’s a problem, the coaching conversation may be too late.
Experienced sales leaders know that being proactive about coaching can prevent deals from getting stuck in the first place. They know that you can’t manage what you can’t see.
Here’s a four-point checklist to help you get a stuck deal back on track.
- Get to the right people. Is there a stakeholder blocking the deal? Have we sold high enough into the account? Are we solving a problem that some people have but the decision maker doesn’t?
- Solve the right problem. Does the customer see us solving a problem that isn’t big or urgent enough? Conversely, is the problem so big that it has to wait until later?
- Change the engagement. Either find a way to change the process or, if it really seems that your solution doesn’t address the need, shift to an engagement for which your solution is better suited.
- Talk early and often. Are you talking about each and every deal with your salespeople? Certain Sales 2.0 tools can make keeping pace with deals easier (and not just with the ones that are progressing or blowing up). Our mobile solution allows salespeople to report all of the key information about a deal with just a few swipes on the iPhone: with whom they met, who the buyer is, the buyer’s three most important needs, the next step, and the forecast. That way, the sales manager gets vital information about each deal sooner, and that can help guide the coaching process.
These questions allow the sales leader to have that critical conversation – the one that keeps the deal from getting stuck.
Join Selligy and hundreds of B2B sales leaders at the Sales 2.0 Conference on May 5–6, 2014, in San Francisco. See the agenda here.