Something is watching your every move. It casts a dark, deceptive, and often destructive, shadow upon each and every salesperson as they go about their day. It threatens to wreak havoc in the most insidious and unexpected ways. It is the perfect ally to have on your side, but it often stands as a formidable and unforgiving adversary. It cannot be bought or owned, yet it is yours to use as you like.
As you may have guessed, I’m talking about TIME.
If you had more time you could talk with more prospects or better prepare for your calls or presentations. More time would make it possible to set more goals and put more check-marks in the ‘done’ column. Time is the enemy however, when it comes to creating opportunities and closing deals in the pipeline.
Time Kills Deals
The longer it takes for a party to sign-off on your paperwork or proposal, the more chance there is of the deal ‘going south.’ Time flying by gives rise to many potential deal-killing events:
- Prospects’ priorities change
- Budgets get down-sized or eliminated
- Decision-makers change roles, or jobs
- Doubts or reservations set in, the competition seizes the opportunity
- Prospects lose focus (on your products or solutions and the value they bring)
The imperative is to generate more time for some things (creating more opportunities) while reducing or eliminating the time spent on others (chasing paperwork to close deals).
Boost the Time Available for Closing Opportunities
The ability to create net-new time defies laws of the natural world. It isn’t possible. On the other hand, it is possible to free-up time by becoming far more efficient, thereby accomplishing or producing more in the same amount of time. In that case, you’ve created net-new selling time to close opportunities.
Here are three ideas for using technology to free up time for opportunities:
- Know who’s interested: Tools like Website Visitor tracking and Intent-to-buy sales intelligence will increase the likelihood of contacting the right people at the right time, which is to say, when prospects have the highest propensity to buy.
- Evaluate your processes: Identify which tasks in your workflow consistently slow you down and which can be eliminated. For instance, it’s not uncommon to have 10 steps in the normal signing process. Think through everything you do to get a contract signed (creating the contract, getting internal approval – and redlining to get the approval, negotiating terms and conditions, emailing it to your prospect. eSignature and Contract life-cycle management solutions can help shorten the time from quote to close and reduce risks of lost deals.
- Eliminate the losers: Don’t contact prospects that will never buy. If you’re going after long-shot opportunities with multiple decision influencers who all have different agendas, consider whether its worth your time. There are white-space, buyer-sentiment, opportunity analysis solutions, and even AI solutions that can help you know the likelihood of a close and whether you should even try.
Check out our 2017 SalesTeck Landscape for sample technologies in each of the above categories.
Time vs momentum
“Fell off the radar.”
“Disappeared into thin air.”
If you find yourself uttering those phrases, it’s a pretty good sign that the deal is either losing momentum, or has vaporized altogether (and you didn’t get the memo). The more time passes—especially given every prospect’s ultra-busy agenda—the more the deal-momentum is at risk of slowing to the point that your prospect forgets why they were even interested to begin with. To protect against that happening, here are 3 pointers for slashing the time it takes to close deals:
- Implement intelligent persistence: Use a sequence-based sales outreach program that will help you stay in front of your prospect. Use an e-signing solution to know where your contracts are in the signing process and stay on top of each step with confidence.
- Eliminate barriers: Every deal will have bumps in the road-to-closing. Many have to do with motivation to change. Provide prescriptive content to keep your buyers engage using Sales Enablement solutions that can serve up the most relevant and effective content.
- Provide Ammunition: Anticipate uncertainties and doubts your prospect may face from colleagues and decision influencers. Give them the ammunition they’ll need to address each one internally. Consensus-building presentation and tracking tools are great for that and they also give you insight into what’s resonating.
No matter how intensely interested your prospect professes to be and no matter how far down the sales process they have endeavored to go, every opportunity is at risk of falling victim to time. Manage every deal in your pipeline as if an invisible force was plotting to turn it into stone. Remember, time isn’t a friend or a foe. It’s both at once.