There are five truths to getting in every quota carrier should acknowledge and embrace:
Truth #1 — If you can’t get in you can’t sell
It’s obvious. If you cant’ get in front of a decision maker, there’s little chance of winning a sales opportunity other than luck. Yet many sales people never get close. Too many sales opportunities are artificially limited by sales staff taking their lead from recommenders and influencers, as opposed to decision makers. The difference is huge.
The problem is it’s easier to get in front of those who recommend and influence as opposed to make decisions. So, many sales reps. take a meeting with people near, but not directly involved in the decision to purchase. This is a leading cause of poor revenue forecasts. The sign are sales opportunities forecast week-after-week at high probabilities to close, then quickly disappearing as the end the month, quarter or year expires — explanations given include things such as They went with someone else…The budget wasn’t approved…A friend of the CEO was given the deal…etc.
You have to be in direct contact with decision makers to consistently win and exceed quota.
To get in front of decision makers you have to offer something more valuable than the products and services you offer. You have to address business problems and opportunities — becoming more a business person than salesperson. Business people rarely have time to deal with sales people, but they always have time to meet a business person to discuss important business matters. That’s the rub: to access decision makers you need to be versed in the bushiness interest the decision maker values and then map the products and services you offer to that worldview.
The things you do are more important than the things you offer.
Truth #2 — There’s never a good time to meet and no one really wants to meet with you anyway
Getting in is about taking initiative. You can’t wait for the right time or an invitation. Yes, in the world of permission marketing and social media, being invited is important — it’s just not realistic for a salesperson working under a quota.
People are busy. And decision makers are especially busy. That’s no excuse to not getting in – you can. It merely means your products and services aren’t enough. Calling to introduce yourself to talk about the things you have to sell is rarely going to work — you can’t build a business that way.
So, it’s back to the need to attract interest from someone who doesn’t have the time to talk to you. The secret to winning that attraction is something we’ll hammer away at throughout this program: you have to solve a business problem or create a business opportunity the decision maker cares about. When you do that, the busy decision maker will make time to meet you.
Truth #3 — Budgets rarely matter
Certainly, there are some markets more budget sensitive than others — government comes to mind. But for most enterprise sales, budgets are flexible. Decision makers can always find money.
A truth of budgets is they’re easy to use as an excuse to get rid of a salesperson. Tell a salesperson you don’t have money this year, but may set aside money in next year’s budget and the salesperson happily goes away.
My recommendation about budgets is to never ask about them — it’s an amateur question of a salesperson who isn’t engaged with the decision maker. Decision makers know what things cost. And they aren’t interested in wasting your time or theirs. If you encounter a situation whereby an option in the opportunity significantly raises the price, just say so. Decision makers are businesspeople, become their peer and have a business discussion about price and cost.
There’s always money available to spend on things that matter. And what matters is fixing a problem or creating an opportunity that’s valued by the person making the decision to purchase.
Truth #4 — No one wants your MARCOM
We all know this as salespeople: The majority of times we’re asked to send a prospect marketing materials — brochure, white paper, case study, etc. — it is a polite way to get rid of us. But here’s something many salespeople don’t recognize: decision makers rarely ask for marketing materials before the discussion — the reason is MARCOM is overwhelmingly about the products and services we offer, not about the business issues the decision maker values. The discussion the decision maker wants to have doesn’t require MACOM.
Salespeople deal in the world of brochures and white papers, business people don’t. Yes, there’s a time for MARCOM during the vetting process, but that happens later in the opportunity, mostly when dealing with recommenders and influencers.
So, what do you do when asked to send literature? Two things: 1) realize you’re likely not engaged with a decision maker 2) send it anyway and re-group within the account. Keep looking for the decision maker and hone your ability to talk about the business issues the decision maker values.
Truth #5 — The greatest truth of them all
Getting in is about you. You have to take initiative to get in. You have to offer something more than the products and services you wish to sell.
You can’t fight the truths above — you don’t need to. Just accept them as truths and learn how to work in the environment they create.
Don’t worry about people being busy. Don’t worry about Gatekeepers who are charged with keeping you away. Don’t worry about not being asked to meet. And don’t worry about the sales tools you do and don’t have — none of it matters when working to get in.
What say you?