We typically are so focused on our own sales process that we ignore whether or not our customer/prospect is engaged in their buying process. However, there are tell-tale signs that your customer/prospect IS actively engaged in their buying process, and signs that they are NOT. Time is money. So, at some point, you’ll have to assess their level of engagement. And, you’ll have to decide when enough is enough. Usually, it’s when deals start cascading month to month, quarter to quarter – and ultimately fail to close.
The big sales deal that you thought would blow your quota away is not closing. Your customer/prospect is not giving you information about their specific business objectives or project timing. They tell you that if they tell you this information, then they will “have to kill you” or give up negotiation leverage.
So, you continue to slog through. You keep taking them to lunch and ask for more meetings. You continue to tell your management that this deal will close. You continue to bring in your best and brightest resources to convince the customer/prospect of why they should buy. What is wrong with this picture? The customer/prospect is not engaged in their buying process.
If your customer/prospect sees you as a vendor who is just selling them something, rather than providing value, then the above scenario makes sense. You are selling them what your management is telling you to sell them. Or you believe they could benefit from your products and services, but you just can’t get the momentum.
We have all seen this tons of times. But think about it. What typically occurs in deals that you DO close? Key stakeholders at your customer/prospect are engaged in their buying process and pushing you steadily through your sales process. Wait, what?
When I talk to any sales person or sales manager, they highlight that the one thing that typically happens in deals they close: there is active engagement from their customer/prospect. Below are some typical, clear signs that a deal has momentum resulting from that level of engagement:
Now, I could go on but I think you get the point. Your customer/prospect needs to be engaged in their buying process – at the right level in their organization. The more you can solve priority business needs high up in the management hierarchy, the larger the deal. That’s because the business outcome tends to be greater, and therefore, the sales cycle is shorter.
Take a close look to see if and at what level your customer/prospect is engaged in their buying process. If it’s not there, then your deal will most likely never close when you want it to. Your forecasting goes out the window since you are basing it on what you and your management need rather than what the customer/prospect wants. So, the deal cascades from quarter to quarter, robbing time from you and your team. When this happens, ask yourself: Is enough, enough?