Today’s challenging economy may be the best thing that’s happened for sales professionals in more than a decade and here is why. Every financial decision at any size company is now going through a level of scrutiny like never before. If you cannot demonstrate that your product or service will provide the customer with a rapid return on investment your chance of winning their business will be greatly diminished.
But what is most important here for sales professionals is the knowledge that due to the current economic uncertainty decisions that were normally made by first level management personnel may now require the approval of senior management.
This means you will need to fight your way to the top in order to win the business or risk spending too much valuable time with people who insist they are the decision makers when indeed they are not. How can you do this without alienating the people involved with the evaluation process? This is the art of good salesmanship.
Take Control of the Sales Process
The first thing you will want to do is establish some rules for how the sales process is going to work. Make sure that the prospect knows that you are willing to put forth a Herculean effort to earn their business as long as the decision makers are part of the selling process. This does not necessarily mean that you have to talk with the CEO on the first call. But you will want to know:
- if the CEO or key decision maker is aware that there is an evaluation process going on,
- that the company is budgeted to make a decision, and
- they have an actual timeframe for doing so.
Obtaining this information won’t win you the business, but it will help to ensure that you have a real prospect and that a decision will at some point be made.
CRM Software can help
If you are in an industry where you are juggling a lot of sales opportunities at one time, CRM software may be a nice tool to use to manage opportunities, follow up on them and make sure that high quality opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.