Proposals sometimes stall because customers sometimes don't see the details behind why a specific recommendation might be good for their business. It's up to you to make sure this doesn't become an issue by building a strong business case.
I get a lot of salespeople who ask me how they can expedite closing sales and shortening their sales cycle. We know that closing a sale isn't something that happens overnight. It can take three, six or even 12 months or more, which is why patience and a strong proposal are so important.
One thing that I've noticed with salespeople is that many tend to shy away from building a business case that demonstrates why a company should invest. For VARs especially, it can be easy to spend a great deal of time on what the solution will be (right down to a specific product configuration), yet avoid explaining why and what it will do for the customer’s business.
When you make recommendations during the sales process, follow through in your proposal with supporting financial justification. This reminds customers about the real issue driving your recommendations, showing them the “need behind the need” and reinforcing why moving forward with your proposal is important to their business.
Focusing on Financial Justification
As a seller, it's important to have a firm grasp on a customer's needs, and the solutions that might help them to reach their goals. One of the main reasons why proposals can sometimes stall, however, is the fact that customers sometimes don't see the details behind why a specific recommendation might be good for their business. It's up to you to make sure this doesn't become an issue by building a strong business case.
Take the example of hosted cloud services. If you're selling cloud, you'll explain in your proposal that implementing hosted cloud services will help to streamline their business, but you should also be outlining the financial justification of doing so based on the needs you’ve uncovered. Once customers see that hosted cloud services will help increase their productivity, avoid additional staffing, or reduce the risk of another data intrusion and the associated costs, they'll better grasp how making the move will improve their core business.
A Sense of Urgency
The main benefit of including a business case in your proposals is that it creates a sense of urgency. Your customers want to save money, increase revenue and streamline productivity. If you can create a strong sense of urgency by presenting the perfect business case based on their business situation, you increase your probability of closing the sale—and doing so more quickly.
Get specific in the business case. Show what risks may be avoided, new projects launched, new revenue generated or costs saved. These are just a few examples. There are countless other elements that can be included in a business case.
As you gather solution requirements, get the data from your customers. Use their information and your business case to make it relevant. Then present your proposal in person where you can review the business case and adjust the data together as they see it in a new light.
Business cases aren’t hard to develop and create exactly the sense of urgency you need to get prospects—and customers—to make a decision now. Be sure to watch next week, when I'll go into greater detail on how to gather the information you need to develop a business case.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.