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Rachel Clapp Miller

By Rachel Clapp Miller

Aug 28, 2014


Inbound Sales
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Inbound Sales

The Actionable Advice You Need to Overcome These 3 Sales Challenges

Rachel Clapp Miller

By Rachel Clapp Miller

Aug 28, 2014

The Actionable Advice You Need to Overcome These 3 Sales Challenges

This post originally appeared on the Force Management Blog. To read more content like this, visit the blog here.

Even the most experienced salespeople can find themselves in the middle of a challenging sales opportunity that they’re struggling to either move ahead or close.

With that being said, we've decided to break down three common sales scenarios and provide you with some easy steps you can take to correct your course, or avoid the same challenges the next time around.

1. You're Late to an Opportunity 

Perhaps you received an RFP late or your customer is merely price shopping because he/she has done a plethora of research online. Coming in late to an opportunity is a common sales scenario that every seller at one point or another is going to have to encounter. 

Your Options

  • Change the required capabilities by mapping them to the positive business outcomes your customer is trying to achieve.

  • Influence the current decision criteria by using trap-setting questions.

  • If you aren’t situated to win the entire opportunity, go for a smaller piece of the pie.

  • Know when to walk away.

How to Avoid in the Future

  • Improve your discovery.

  • Improve your territory and account planning process.

  • Leverage your sales management team.

Read more on what to do if you arrive late to an opportunity

2. You Can’t Gain Access to the Economic Buyer

If you aren’t able to elevate your conversation to the economic buyer, you aren’t speaking the same language as this key decision-maker. Remember, you get delegated to whom you sound like. If you’re talking features and functions, you’re going to find yourself in meetings with technical buyers. If you’re talking large-scale business issues, you’re more likely to engage the economic buyer with access to discretionary income. If you’re having trouble getting to the EB in your current opportunity, here’s what you can do: 

Your Options

  • Change your message. Speak in terms of large-scale business outcomes, not features and functions. This case study is a great example from Welch Allyn that demonstrates how one of their sales teams was able to elevate their business conversation.

  • Focus on the positive business outcomes that will be achieved by implementing your solution. Make sure those PBOs are related to the economic buyer needs.

  • Reconfirm the value proposition with key stakeholders to ensure you are articulating the benefits of your solution appropriately. 

  • Reengage with key stakeholders and negotiate access to the economic buyer.

How to Avoid in the Future

  • Make sure you are audible-ready with the economic buyer.

  • Create wider and deeper relationships in your customer account.

  • Establish contact with the economic buyer early in the sales cycle.

  • Leverage your internal management to help drive access. 

Read more on gaining access to the upper levels of a customer organization

3. Your Negotiations are Focused on Price rather than Value

You are in the late stages of your deal and you find the discussions with your customer focused on price rather than the value and differentiation you thought you established earlier in the sales cycle. Unfortunately, if this is your scenario, you didn’t position your value as strongly as you could have. Sometimes it’s too late to make a difference, but here are some things you can try:

Your Options

  • Engage your champion to help you articulate the value of your solution

  • Focus on your differentiators, especially if they’re strong against the competition. Sell on the differentiation you are bringing to the table

  • Reconfirm the decision criteria and the minimum required capabilities.

How to Avoid in the Future

  • Quantify the pain with hard numbers. Having data associated with the current negative consequences can more than help you justify the price in the late stages of an opportunity.

  • Remember that negotiation is a process that you leverage the moment you start engaging a prospect. It’s a process, not an event. Position the value early in the sales cycle. 

Read more about improving your negotiation process

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