Decision makers spend nearly half (45%) of their buying journey researching on- and offline. We’ve known that for a while. What may be surprising—and sobering—if you’re in sales, is buyers spend more time (22%) meeting together than the 17% of time they spend with you.
You read that right: Only 17% of buying time is spent talking to vendors.
Following are seven ways you can actively increase that percentage.
1. Ask for meetings 18X. You have to earn time with SPM buying committees. Hubspot research shows sales professionals call an average of 18 times before they reach prospects.
2. Use “we” language. Sales professionals who use collaborative power words increase sales success 35%, and top-performing reps are 10X more likely to use them. Examples include “we,” “us,” and “our,” instead of “I,” “you”, and “they.”
3. Ask 10 questions. The more senior your buyer, the more specific and targeted your questions need to be. Salesloft research shows top performers average 10 questions per hour and stay laser-focused on key topics—not fluffy ones.
4. Understand people and process needs first. While six in 10 buyers want to discuss pricing on a first call, and half want to see the product, make sure you also spend time understanding the people and process needs driving a firm’s interest in buying. (The average committee has 11 members, so decisions are complex).
5. Synthesize complexity. According to Gartner, decision makers need a strategy for parsing information more than anything. So you maximize meeting value when you balance feature and pricing discussions with information synthesis. Each buying committee must parse an average of 44 to 55 disparate pieces of information, collected by different members. This is particularly true in SPM, where even the topic has different interpretations. (Like the famous question, “Is SPM the same thing as ICM?”)
6. Follow up five times. Eighty percent of sales require at least five follow ups. Most-opened emails have subject lines of four to five words. And Wednesday and Thursday from 7:00-9:00 AM and 4:00-6:00 PM are the best times to call.
7. Give champions tools to educate their team. Content that answers FAQs and common misconceptions is valuable, as are calculators and diagnostics. So are customer referrals! Nine in 10 purchase decisions are made with peer recommendations. You can also offer miniature proofs of concept that solve buyers’ most difficult problems—like calculations, reporting, or workflows.
- Buyer enablement, Gartner, 2020. https://www.gartner.com/en/sales/insights/buyer-enablement.
- 5 tactics to build trust with virtual decision makers when selling SPM
- Why B2B Sellers Need A Sense Making Strategy, Gartner, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/b2b-sellers-need-sense-making-sales-strategy/.
- Blum, Kelly. “Future of Sales 2025: Why B2B Sales Needs A Digital First Approach,” Gartner, 2020, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/future-of-sales-2025-why-b2b-sales-needs-a-digital-first-approach.
- Frost, Aja. “75 Key Sales Statistics to Help You Sell Better in 2020,” Hubspot, 2020, https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-statistics.
- “The Lead Responses Management Survey,” Lead Response Management, http://www.leadresponsemanagement.org/lrm_study
- Madden, Mike. “What Email Subject Line Length Works the Best?,” Marketo, 2017, https://blog.marketo.com/2018/02/email-subject-line-length-works-best.html.
- Assemi, Ramin. “40 Shocking Sales Stats That Will Change The Way You Sell,” Close, https://blog.close.com/39-shocking-stats-that-will-change-the-way-you-sell/.
- “New Research: Yup, You Should Still Ask More Questions,” Salesloft, 2017, https://salesloft.com/resources/blog/new-research-yup-still-ask-questions/.