Why is it that sales people and sales management have no issue with wasting time on deals that never close, but deem making an effort to understand customer’s executive goals and priorities a total waste of time? I have seen this situation over and over again and do not understand why. But there is hope for those in sales who recognize their fundamental flaw and change course.
Think about it. Sales people are notoriously persistent. They will schedule demonstrations of their products and services and do proposals way too early in the sales cycle, hoping and praying something will come out of it. They will hang in there forever even when the prospect has no budget or they never get to talk to executive management.
They will work a deal while being totally clueless as to how their product helps key executives achieve their business outcomes. They know their software can do something faster or save money, but have no idea if that benefit is a priority for executives with money to spend. What’s worse is that they don’t care. They’ll simply do what clients ask them to do. They may ask for specific timeframes as to when things need to be in production and, get nothing. No biggie. But, in fact, it is a big deal because they’re wasting time. And time is money.
Why talk to anyone in the organization who says you can help them? Most sales people are more comfortable talking to those who already use their product or services. Sure, they’ll give you a ton of information on how a certain feature or function doesn’t work for them. But you rarely gain insight on how that links to the top challenges and priorities of senior executives.
The problem is, these deals typically take up a lot of time, yet go nowhere. How do you stop wasting time? Connect with people at the executive level.
Take the time to research and identify what executives are trying to accomplish. Find out what their priorities are over time and the timeframes that would make them successful. Why not build your sales pipeline top-down versus bottom-up? And only work on deals you know have executive management support and priority? This is how you’ll start maximizing your time and your customer’s.
However, much of the problem comes from occasional positive reinforcement: every once in a while, you win one of these deals. But even then, the only thing you know is how your product and service can make something faster, or save some money − without truly understanding how these benefits link to larger executive goals and priorities.
Stop wasting time and think where you would best like to spend it. Would you rather work deals that cascade quarter to quarter since there is no executive sponsorship? Or only work deals that you know will help executives achieve their most critical business outcomes? Seems like a no-brainer to me.