Not too long ago, I was looking for a specific software product to help us with a particular task here at ATP.
I knew of a few different options but went to a particular company’s website first and chatted with somebody. But for some reason, they (self-admittedly) couldn’t answer my questions without scheduling a call.
I was confused… why make me jump through hoops to get the information I need, instead of just answering my questions on the spot?
Or better yet, just having the information on the website! Wouldn’t that save us all a lot of time if it’s not the right fit?
This is a perfect example of how SaaS sales processes fall short these days. I mean, I’m ready for information that will help me make a purchase decision – give it to me!!!
Friends, buyers have more options to solve their problems than they ever have. They will go elsewhere if your process doesn’t meet them where they’re at.
Case in point, I signed with this company’s competitor 3 days later.
Don’t make your customers jump through unnecessary hoops to get to you… get to them where they are and want to be.
Here’s how to do that better.
1) Talk to them (and harness their insights).
There is no better way to learn how to improve your buyer’s purchasing and post-purchase experience than simply asking them. Embrace your active listening skills and have an honest conversation about it with them and get it raw and unfiltered (more on that in a sec).
One of my favorite ways to do this is a ‘post-mortem’ with my clients to figure out what they thought every step of the way.
Or a post-purchase interview where you can discuss things like:
- Why did they buy from you versus anyone else?
- Did they get everything they expected post-purchase?
- What did they like about your sales process?
- What didn’t they like?
- What would they recommend changing?
- How did we deliver well?
- What could we improve?
- Did we lose you at any point in the process? Where?
Dig in deep and ask them to get specific on the entire sales cycle – from the time they engaged to the time they closed. This is the information you need to make changes to your process and products to better serve them!
(Remember, check your natural inclination to get defensive. There may be some things that are hard to hear, but will ultimately be helpful)
Don’t stop here though. Bring everyone together – your rep, your CS partner, your Sales Enablement person, implementation, etc.
Meet with them first to set expectations and get their valuable perspective but have them listen and absorb to not ‘gang up’ on your customer. Each person will likely have some important perspective on what happened and what could be improved.
Having multiple perspectives is very important!
2) Listen actively (to the space in between).
Truth be told, I was a bit foolish in the early days of ATP to assume that my sales background would speak for itself as a recruiter. Sadly, that bit me hard with a potential client early on.
They were looking for help fast (like NOW). We spoke the same language and hit it off. But I made a mistake assessing their priorities (quality vs. speed).
I assumed that because all of their verbal cues were on, they were expressing interest and were wanting more, they were on board with the way I work. But looking back, there were signs that this wasn’t the right fit that I ignored.
It turned out their number one priority was speed versus quality – something that would have been a deal breaker for me (I always operate on a quality-first mentality).
That’s where listening better to the space in between would have helped me. Had I paid attention to what wasn’t being said (as well as what was), I could have helped us both avoid the entire scenario.
Instead, I failed to truly meet them where they were at.
This is why listening actively is probably one of the most important sales skills you’ll ever learn… both as a leader and an individual contributor.
Your team and your customers won’t always tell you everything explicitly. But by paying attention to the space in between, you’ll be able to meet them where they are better anyway.
3) Leverage technology (but don’t bog down your team).
So many sales leaders try to figure what the best software to invest in is, but they end up overburdening their team instead. And as a result, their reps get bogged down in admin details.
In fact, a study from last year indicates that nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of your reps’ time, on average, is spent on non-revenue-generating activities.
That means they’re only spending 35.2% of their time actually selling. The rest is spent getting bogged down in the minutiae.
The best tech stacks remove friction for your sellers and in turn for your buyers too. Why make it harder for your reps to serve your customers with too much?
Find the tech that helps your team serve your customers best and scrap everything else. They will thank you for it!
4) Collect failures (to learn from them).
I personally believe continuous learning is what it really takes to be successful in sales for the long haul. Because anyone who has been in this profession for an extended period of time knows making a career in sales is never a smooth ride.
No matter what you do, you’re just not always going to get it right.
And I think that’s ok! We all stumble and fall – it’s how you pick yourself up to learn and grow that matters the most. I know the failures I’ve had are usually the things I credit for the biggest lessons I’ve ever learned both professionally and personally.
So while I’m certainly not advocating that you go out and make mistakes intentionally… I do think it is a necessary practice for us as salespeople to not fear them.
And even to take a mindset of “collecting them” as lessons we can learn from.
If you want to meet your customers where they are (and make it easier for them to choose you), it all starts with a mindset of discovery and curiosity.
Be curious about your customers, your team, and their perspectives. This helps to activate your listening skills to apply that valuable feedback into meaningful action. Throw your process/agenda/ideas out the (mental) window for a second and just absorb what’s on their mind.
Ask them what’s bogging them down and solve for it!
The more you do this as a leader, the more your customers and team will feel like you “get them.” And this will help your business grow!