It is right around this time of year when I start to get very anxious. The summer is beginning and our buyers are looking to finish up projects before everyone goes on vacation. As sellers, our sense of urgency increases because the “dead season” is within sight – and the same is true of our buyers. Or is it?
Try this little exercise. Pull up the pipeline you have been working diligently to build over the first 5 months of the year. Sort it by revenue from highest to lowest. If you are like most sales professionals, you will find there is a correlation between the size of the deal and the proximity of the close date to June 30th. In other words – the largest deals are generally the ones the furthest pushed out. This is natural and stands to reason. After all, these deals aren’t fully scoped therefore we don’t want them gaining the attention of the powers that be. However, we still want the recognition that there is a whale or two swimming in our pool. Since we don’t know when this deal is going to close – we assume that the buyers will have the same source of urgency that we have and that it will eventually close by the end of June.
Three items we need to consider when we are thinking about these whales at the end of our pipeline for June 30th. Start doing these things now so you can be assured you are well positioned to close out the year strong:
1) ROI is not enough. You need to ensure that someone will look good by buying your product and acknowledges this to you. CEB notes that the typical B2B purchase has 6 decision makers but most sellers are talking to the one who is calling them back.
To Combat this, Find the Powerful People: Align with the individual who can and will walk your proposal into the CFO’s office and say, “I need this signed because it is critical to the success of our business.”
2) Our sense of urgency to close by the end of June is motivated by our internal pressures to make quota. Our buyers do not share this motivation.
Uncover their Source of Urgency: Find out what does motivate the decision-makers to buy and by what date they need this solution. If July 1 comes and goes without our solution in place – what are the negative ramifications to the organization?
3) Ensure you are spending your time wisely. Salespeople look at logos they recognize or Opportunity value and think this is naturally where they should be spending their time.
Prioritize your funnel. Analyze your most successful customers and ascertain the critical components that lead to their purchase. In what industries are you most successful, what titles are buying your products and what services are being sold, who are you most often defeating or replacing? Once you have this data, ensure you are spending the most time with the opportunities that look the most like your successful customers – not just familiar logos.
This is a great exorcise to ensure your are doing the right things in the right deals. Here are some more ideas on the topic.