It’s human nature to search for easier ways to get our work done. Selling will never be easy, but there’s a lot that we can do to simplify the work, enabling us to achieve more than we currently do.
Somehow, however, we tend to do the things that don’t make selling easier. We avoid the things that improve our effectiveness. We aren’t as efficient as we could be.
In the past years, responses to our prospecting outreaches have plummeted, as a result we have to up the volumes and work that we do to get the same number of prospects we got through prior efforts. Gartner is now telling us it takes over 60 “touches” to get a customer to respond to our outreaches. And if we want to grow, the amount of increased work we must do to engage customers sky rockets.
Or when we find a qualified opportunity, we invest all sorts of time in talking about our products to those customers–yet 60% of the time, they fail to make a decision or buy anything. So we have to make our numbers out of 40% of the opportunities in our pipelines–and we are competing with others for that. To make things worse, we don’t know which 40% are going to finally buy from someone, so we have to work on all these deals, knowing that 60% will fall by the wayside.
And sales cycles are getting longer and more complex. More people are involved in the buying process, meaning we have to talk to more people on each opportunity. And with the uncertainties in the economy, buyers are focused only on the things most critical to them.
I could go on, but you already see this. We have to do more and more, just to get the same results we had before. And each win is tougher. And matching what we did last year is no longer sufficient. We have to grow the business, we have to close more deals.
For many, technology has offered us the opportunity to simplify things, to make it easier for sellers to achieve our goals. At least that’s what the theory says, but now we have to spend more time trying to understand and leverage these growing technology stacks. And our own businesses are becoming more complex, so getting things done is tougher.
As a result, an already difficult job is getting much more difficult. And we see this in the results, fewer people, on a percentage basis, are achieving their goals. While we took jobs because of the potentially great OTE, fewer and few are achieving it.
Something’s broken. All the things that should be making selling easier aren’t working. In fact, somehow, every year it becomes more difficult. What do we do?
Perhaps we are looking at things incorrectly. Maybe instead of focusing on making selling easier, if we made it easier for buyers, we might get more work done. If buying could become easier, maybe our jobs would also become easier.
How do we do this?
We have to put ourselves in our customers shoes. What do they care about? Where do they struggle? What causes so many to get derailed in the buying process?
They are plagued by information overwhelm, they don’t know what information is most important to what they are trying to achieve? They are faced with uncertainty. They don’t buy every day, in fact buying is a diversion from their day to day jobs. They have to fit it in to their normal responsibilities. They don’t know how to buy how to manage their change initiatives. They wander, start, stop, shift priorities and directions. They are very inefficient and ineffective. They need help in managing their buying process. Finally, they are plagued with FOMU (fear of messing up). They have little confidence that what they are doing is the right thing–personally and for their companies.
Buyers may be making things more complicated than it should be–because they just don’t know. If we made their job easier, perhaps it makes our jobs easier.
How do we do this?
We talk about the issues the customers are concerned about, in the ways they think about them and that impact their ability to do their work. Unfortunately, only a small part of this has anything to do with our solutions—but if all we do is focus on our solutions—we aren’t making their jobs easier (which, in turn, makes our jobs tougher.
Selling will never be easy, but it could be easier. But only if we could help make buying easier.