The sales cycle can be arduous. Nurturing a lead and landing the actual meeting with the correct people at the table can be a culmination of days, weeks and more often month’s worth of work. In a recent survey of 1000 B2B marketers, almost 50 percent of respondents noted their average sales cycle ranged from three to six months. Depending on the size of the account, that can mean a lot of nurturing: emails, phone calls, research, energy and money spent to bring one account from a lead to a sale. Along the way, a plethora of CRM and other software tools are available to sales and marketing folks. This graph shows just a fraction of what’s available in the new sales tech stack from contact data to marketing automation to referral. The sales tech world is huge with Venture Capital funding alone tipping at $1.6B USD in 2015.
If all that effort rests on a 1:1 meeting with a potential customer, then you have to get it right and engage with your customer in the right way. You’ve got one shot to connect and make sure your point is coming across. Why, then, do so many of us rely on the standard default software at the most critical time in the sales cycle?
With the initial meeting so critical, below are three ways sales leaders can make their presentation more memorable and engaging with their audience:
Invest in tech throughout the sales funnel, including the last mile
The tech stack is changing. It’s not adequate to have just Salesforce and hope that once a lead is in the system, it turns into a sale eventually. Sophisticated and savvy sales teams have technology to support them at every step throughout the sales process. If we consider a sales cycle to have six phases including engagement; productivity and enablement; sales intelligence; pipeline and analytics; and people management it’s easy to see in this graph that there’s plenty of tech to choose from.
Which one is right for you and your needs is up to you.
Having the right tech is important. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2016 report, the tools that a salesperson uses is highly correlated to their sales performance. The report finds that “top salespeople are 24 percent more likely to attribute their success to sales technology: 82 percent of top salespeople cite sales tools as ‘critical’ to their ability to close deals, compared with 66 percent overall.”
Working with a proper sales pipeline, with tools to support at each phase is the best bet for success.
Utilize technology that complements an engaging sales style: Conversational Presenting
Even with all the best technology at hand, most sales professionals prefer to meet with potential clients with a 1:1 interaction. According to a report, 40 percent of prospects converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings, and 28 percent of current business would be lost without face-to-face meetings.
When a business presentation is too rigidly structured (with strictly ordered slides and a one-size-fits-all script), there’s no room for adaptability. Presenters are forced to wade through slide after slide of text to reach the stuff that’s relevant to a particular customer. With a shift in approach, sales and marketing professionals can easily turn presentations into dialogues that are collaborative, dynamic, and engaging enough to keep viewers tuned in from beginning to end.
No matter how terrific your content, it will fail to have an impact if your audience can’t remember it once you’ve gone. If you want to make a lasting impression, you need to deliver a message that’s memorable.
Utilizing technology that allows for a two way, engaging conversation will allow both parties to feel like they’re having their voices heard and less of a sales push.
Make data work for you
VC general partner Karan Mehandru may be on the mark when he said, “…we are in the early innings of this massive transition where we would have access to more data than ever before…Sales people are craving the same level of sophistication their counterparts in marketing have had in the last decade to be more successful and where productivity is the driver, not an afterthought.”
Part of the beauty of using all that technology along the way is to learn from the data that comes as a result of all that hard work. Even though it’s tempting to want to move beyond a failed sales meeting or alternatively celebrate a win and move on, learning from the data will help you become a smarter and better sales person.
By utilizing technology that accounts for the full life-cycle of the pitch, which includes creating, presenting and analyzing, marketing and sales professionals can have the confidence that their presentation won’t just resonate and connect with their audience, it will be memorable as well.