March 1, 2017 Ted Bauer

Sales Process, Step 4: A wild ride down the funnel

Been doing this series recently on the sales process: from the introductory phase (“Who the hell are you, anyway?”) to the discovery phase (“OK, I’ll kick some tires”) to the opportunity phase, where the deal starts to get closed. We heard from a client partner who said something like “This is all very nice, but it’s too inside sales!” Disagree. Here’s the deal: we aren’t walking through every pitch and approach we use in these blogs. They are just that: blogs. But hopefully you realize that if you want to grow or scale your business in central Europe, this is the process we can undertake for you. We go through a repeatable approach — what we’re describing! — and your end game is predictable revenue (what you want!). So now let’s get real serious: we’re moving down the funnel.

Sales Process Buyer Journey

At the last stage, the buyer was active. He committed to an analysis with you. Congrats! You’ve come pretty far from “I don’t have time to take your call.” You’re almost there. Let’s bring this home. But how?

The end goal of the down-the-funnel stage

You need to move the buyer from “active” — which can still mean “I listened, but I will stay with my current option” — to committing to change. This is where you move from “A” (the status quo) to “B” (your option and your commission and your revenue).

Bring out the guns:

  • Field sales
  • Inside sales
  • Demos
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Testimonials
  • Connect the buyer with a previous buyer who faced the same pain points

This is the “kitchen sink” stage. You’ve done all the work to walk them up to the edge of the diving board. Now you need ‘em to leap.

The psychology of this stage

This is important. Some “thought leadership” articles probably over-play the psychology of sales, but it needs to be constantly repeated that change is hard for people. We all love our status quo. You ever worked at a place where clearly, something hasn’t been working for 10-15 years? And every month you wonder “Why do we still do things that way?” Because people fear change. Change is hard. It creates a sensation of fear, and no one wants that.

With the buyer, let me be pretty real on this: buyers don’t want to jump off the diving board because they are worried about their perch in their company. If they buy your solution and your solution bombs for some reason, it’s their ass on the line. Their boss is now down on them. Right now, in Situation A (their status quo), their boss is fine with them. Why would they create a situation (your sale) that might harm the status quo?

Always remember: the biggest fear of most people at work is being seen as incompetent. They’d rather sit on a bad solution (A) then change to yours (B) because they are terrified that if the change isn’t perfect, someone will see them as incompetent.

Make your money

For all the BS and bluster about sales guys “eating what they kill,” this is the stage where you make your money and earn your keep. If you don’t throw everything into this stage and tear down Option A, the buyer will stick with A and you won’t get the sale. The next stage — final post, next week — is about keeping the buyer and becoming a consistent solution (retention).

Down the funnel is what you work for. Remember when this buyer was just an email contact you had to create a message for? Now he’s here, on the edge of this diving board, and if you can get him six more inches, you will make money. What does he need to leap?

And quickly, a moment on outsourcing sales: when you enter a new market, you almost never have the in-house resources to do this. By “do this” I mean get someone to this stage, but also push them into a sale. You might not know the market well, or the product-market fit, or the decision-makers, or whatever else. This moment, right here, is when you need someone who knows the market and knows the approaches. This is where outsourcing sales can become predictable revenue.

Final one, next week: Retention and the end game

 

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