No matter how you slice it, being a sales rep is hard. You have engaging conversations with prospects, ask all the right questions (giving all the right answers!), and build custom proposals to meet budgets and needs—only to find yourself ghosted after final contracts are sent.
If you’ve found yourself nodding along, you’re not alone—far from it. In our recent webinar, we discussed current trends in hybrid and virtual selling environments and the challenges reps face when trying to close deals. Here, we take a closer look at the research and explain how you can keep late-stage deals from falling through the cracks.
Despite general sales enthusiasm, deal complications persist
On the surface, virtual and hybrid selling environments have largely been met with optimism from sales folks over the past couple of years. Our research, which surveyed more than 300 sales professionals across industries, found that over half of sales reps consider today’s virtual environments beneficial to them.
Providing access to anyone, anywhere, virtual selling gives sales reps a big opportunity to grow their networks. Complementing this widening customer base is an ever-expanding media landscape, and sales reps now have even more channels to engage with their prospects and leads.
Yet beneath this optimistic exterior linger less-than-ideal deal complications. At large, sales folks report feeling confident about their deals when sending out contracts and asking for signatures, with more than 75 percent of people believing a deal will close after the contract is sent.
However, despite this confidence, sales reps continue to see deals regularly fall through late in the sales cycle. Nearly half of respondents shared that their deals go dark post-contract nearly 25 percent of the time and more than 30 percent said their deals go under over half of the time—pretty stark differences when you consider their initial optimism.
Keeping your deals from going dark without warning
While virtual selling provides plenty of opportunities, it can also lead to deals that go dark without warning. Identifying warm leads and building meaningful relationships with prospects is a lot more challenging in virtual environments than in-person settings, and these obstacles coexist with the optimism we see today. More than 70% of sales folks cited these two concerns—identifying leads and relationship-building—as top anxieties of virtual selling.
Sure, we might be connected to more people in more places but being able to interact with them in meaningful ways has become much more difficult. Knowing which leads are actually warm and which prospects are genuinely interested is little more than a guessing game when you’re relying on emails and 15-minute Zoom calls.
But it’s not all bad news. On the contrary, with the right tools and a few strategic selling tweaks, you can remove common communication blockers and keep your deals progressing. Consider the following four tips to keep your momentum in the deal cycle from stalling.
- If your prospects have to work to consume your content, they won’t. Eliminating content and communication hiccups is one of the easiest ways to boost engagement and keep deal cycles humming along. Are you sending prospects large files to download? Do your emails frequently get lost in spam filters? How much time is your prospect spending searching through your email thread for that proposal you sent last week?
These are common bottlenecks that can keep your prospect from understanding the value of your offering. Using a prospect-friendly sales tool will make sharing and updating content fast and easy for you and your audience. Using a single link to share all your sales and marketing material makes content consumption fast and frictionless. (And easy for you to manage!)
- Leave the cookie-cutter sales decks to your competition. Don’t overlook the power of personalizing your content as conversations with prospects progress. Just wrapped up a stellar customer conversation and product demo? Take it a step further by customizing your materials based on what you learned from the conversation.Marketing teams can become a consultative partner to sales by nailing down which slides are effective as templates and don’t need to be custom. For example, if a rep spent time customizing each page in a deck but only one or two slides were actually important, marketing can create a template and sales can customize the two important slides. The ability to see how the custom materials are being consumed help save time and create a scalable process between marketing and sales.
- Skip those dreaded check-ins with unengaged prospects. Focus your follow-up activity on the right people and stop wasting time with unengaged and uninterested prospects. Real-time document insights are key here. When you send documents in DocSend, you can see when they look at your content, who they share it with, and how much time they spend on every page.This not only arms you with valuable intel on who to follow up with and when, but it also lets you tailor data-driven messaging based on the content your accounts are spending the most time on.
- Avoid the element of surprise. Nothing curbs deal momentum like an unexpected stakeholder entering at stage right. Virtual environments can make visibility into company stakeholders more complicated, and it’s not always clear which decision-makers need to be involved or who the champion reading the ROI deck you poured so much time into is.DocSend pulls back this curtain of surprise, letting you see which deals are being actively reviewed and what new stakeholders are being introduced to your pitch. When you know all the players, you can follow up more strategically and close the deal faster.
“Salespeople have always been at an unfair advantage because we don’t always know what’s going on. DocSend levels the playing field.” — Mark Parkinson, Vice President of Sales Enablement at Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness (CMOE)
Sometimes it’s not goodbye. Sometimes it really is “See you later.”
Every sales rep knows that life happens, prospects get busy, and projects get re-prioritized. Sometimes, your most interested, highly engaged customers just inexplicably fade away with no rhyme or reason.
These circumstances are another sweet spot you can stay connected with using the right tools. DocSend notifies you whenever a months-old prospect or unengaged customer returns to look at pricing proposals or content you’ve previously shared with them. This gives you the perfect opportunity to call them back and pick things up right where you left off.
How can you use insights from DocSend to close more deals faster and efficiently? Watch the replay of our webinar, “Closing more deals with DocSend,” to learn how Mark Parkinson, VP of Sales Enablement at CMOE, and his team use the platform to personalize, accelerate, and close deal cycles.