A client asks: “In these more challenging economic times the number of formal pricing proposals that my salespeople generate for prospects has decreased significantly. Now, after seeing our product demo, prospects tell the sales representatives that they are very interested, but not ready for a proposal. When the sales representatives follow-up with them on an agreed upon date, they are still interested but not ready to move forward. How can we increase the number of clients willing to accept the proposals that will ultimately lead to closed sales?”
You are off to a good start in two ways. First, you are not pressuring your sales staff to aggressively turn out pricing proposals for prospects that aren’t yet ready to receive them. Secondly, you have identified the specific place in the sales cycle where sales are stalling. What you need to do now is analyze the message the sales organization is presenting to the prospect prior to the product demonstration.
Talk to your customers
Interview those customers who have purchased software from you very recently, in spite of the economic conditions. Why did they decide to purchase your software? Did they forego other purchases in favor of your product? Why? What else were they considering buying? What made them decide that your product was a priority? How has your product helped them improve their bottom line?
Review your sales and marketing materials
Were your company’s marketing materials (paper and electronic) designed in more robust times? When were they last updated? If it has been awhile, re-do them so that all sales presentations and marketing literature are focusing on the benefits just mentioned by your most current customers.
Ask for the objections up front
If the sale is stalling after the product demonstration, improve the sales dialogue that takes place before, by asking better pre-demo questions such as: If they like what they see during the demonstration, what will the next step be? What large purchases are they planning to make this year? Is a software program like yours a top priority? Who at the company is in favor of a software program like yours? Who would likely lobby for other purchases? What other factors could put the purchase on hold?
These three exercises will help the sales representatives put together a sales presentation that works with the current economic conditions and makes a more compelling case for the prospect to buy your product in the near future.