Dan Dal Degan, one of the first Junto mentors, shared his experiences on building sales process and strategy at a recent session. He has deep experience building sales organizations for SaaS companies, notably among the original teams for Salesforce.com.
During his session, Dan covered everything from identifying potential customers in a “funnel” versus a “pipeline”, the effective stage-naming of a sales funnel, the best practices from successful sales leaders, better qualifying leads and preparing yourself for the sales process.
Here are two, in particular, that resonated with the attendees.
Most sales are lost due to the lack of communication (from both sides) or unexpected surprises and changes to the process. In order to avoid the confusion, Dan offers key insights:
Salespeople close business all the time through sheer dumb luck. A plan allows clarity and a path forward.
When you tell salespeople you want them to have a plan, “they gag”. But, if you position it as a value-add, and let them mark it up, they buy into the concept.
Prepare a written document with the potential customer.
Include action items both sides agree to and others that are likely to be encountered, such as budget constraints, the boss’ vacation schedule, etc.
Include a timeframe that is reasonable to the buyer and seller alike. But, keep it on track.The plan helps prevent a deal leak.
The sales cycle is a living entity. The mutual plan is like giving it a spine.
The mutual plan is never finished because it is a living document. Sometimes changes occur–those that are within your control, others that are not.
QUALIFYING SALES LEADS
It might be obvious, but it’s worth stating: We want to qualify leads to maximize win rates and eliminate surprise.
Dan’s suggestions include asking these three important questions about the lead:
1. Is it real – Do they have pain?
Sell to fear of pain more than greed. The fear of pain is, “I can’t function until I solve this problem”. Someone running from the beast will run faster than someone running towards the oasis.
This includes thinking about whether or not they have a budget for this. When is there going to be budget for this? Why? This is the best question in the history of humanity
2. Can we win it?
Are we the right company? Do we have to change anything important to win this? How well do they match your ideal customer and application profile?
3. Is it worth it?
How much money does this deal mean to us?
You can and should struggle with these questions. Too often salespeople mindlessly pursue deals so the answers will help you make decisions on where you will spend time, energy and resources. Remember, although this is counter-intuitive to sales-minded individuals, sometimes the best decision you can make is to walk away from a deal. This will save time and other resources that can be directed at better-qualified leads.
As Dan says, all of this helps get us to the point where “This deal is ours to win.”