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Everyone agrees that the sales battleground has changed irreversibly. Let’s first take a sneak peek at the current situation.

The Situation Today

It is no secret that today's buyer has done his or her research about most of the available options before they reach out to vendors. While the buyer may not have decided in your favor yet, your offering is probably on the short list of potential options to fulfill their needs. That being the case, it is also no secret that your prospect has reached out to ALL other shortlisted vendors.

In summary, you may be intercepted by the prospect in their last mile of their buying journey. What you do now and how you respond will determine whether you will accelerate the sales cycle or lose the deal.

The Three Influencing Factors

Here are the three influencing factors:

1. Speed

Since the situation may be that you are being intercepted at the last mile of the prospect’s buying journey, speed is MANDATORY. You might still have a chance if EVERY vendor on the shortlist is slow to respond, but hoping for that is like hoping to clean up the casino with your luck.

Making a potential customer wait for information that will help them decide in your favor is a serious “sales crime” and should be avoided at any cost.  But existing systems make it difficult for your salespeople to respond with the right information and valuable time is lost while salespeople search for and validate the latest pricing, case studies, competitive information, whitepapers, presentations and more.

In a recent IDC survey, only 34% of companies could respond to an ROI inquiry in less than four hours and nearly 50% of vendors took anywhere between a day to a week to respond. This responsiveness gap can be fatal 

2. Relevance and ROI

Your solution can rarely operate on an island in the potential customer’s ecosystem. Hence, relevance becomes key. Your product or solution has to co-exist with their existing solutions, and it has to be aligned with how their business is evolving.

Once you pass the relevance test, you are faced with the ROI test – your potential customer will evaluate how and when they will get a return on the entire investment. The money they pay you is only a part of their investment. Other factors include switching costs, training costs, support costs, and so on..

 3. Consistency

This is a subtle, yet important piece of the puzzle.

Since there may be multiple touch points for the potential customer with your organization, it is imperative that everyone on your team speaks with one voice. Break that rule and there is potential for confusion in the sales cycle.  And if you don’t recover quickly with clarifications, this could lead to disengagement and loss of the deal.

Remember that your potential customer is not responsible for putting together the jigsaw puzzle of all the confusing messages you may be sending them. They are looking for simplicity that comes with one voice.

Trifecta-sales-cycle

All Three Factors are Equally Important

You can’t pick and choose the influencing factors based on your convenience. Miss one and it might very well derail the sales cycle rather than accelerate it.

If you are covered on Speed and Consistency but missing Relevance & ROI you may have an incomplete offering for the current marketplace.

If you are covered on the Speed and Relevance & ROI but missing Consistency, you are painting a confusing brand image. 

If you are covered on the Relevance & ROI and Consistency but lacking speed you have a responsiveness problem.

If you are covered on all three, you have laid the foundation to accelerate sales cycles.

About the author 

Raj-setty-aug2012

Rajesh “Raj” Setty is a serial entrepreneur and a business alchemist based in Silicon Valley. He currently serves as president of WittyParrot. He was instrumental in founding several US or India based technology and publishing companies. Raj has been a member of Band of Angels since 2007 and is an award-winning teacher at the Founder Institute. He has authored 13 books and has published more than 1800 blog posts. You can read his blog and follow him on him on Facebook or Twitter

 

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