Let’s say you’re using Datanyze to identify prospective customers who use a competitor's product. You reach out to your new prospects and end up speaking with the decision maker.
Great—except, they don’t want to switch their software.
Even if your solution is more cost efficient and effective in the long-term, prospects don’t care. In their mind, new software means processes would need to be updated, people retrained and data migrated.
As much as they might hate their current solution, convincing prospects to switch to your software will still be a huge undertaking. Overcoming their objections requires time and effort. That’s why the very first thing you want to do is:
Decide if the prospect is worth the effort
Properly qualify your prospect in order to deeply understand their wants and needs, their workflows and the size of the opportunity.
- Can your product solve their problems, and help them meet their objectives significantly better than their current solution? There needs to be massive value in it for them in order to make it worth their while. If their current solution gets the job done well-enough, and yours is just a bit better, they probably won’t—and shouldn’t—jump ship.
- Does your solution work well with other systems they have in place? If you’re selling a marketing automation solution that doesn’t integrate with the CRM system your prospect uses, it could be a deal-breaker, even if everything else is a match made in heaven.
- Is the potential size of this deal large enough to make it worth your while if you stay engaged with them for several months? Oftentimes, prospects are tied into annual contracts, and even if not, it might require several months for them to evaluate how your solution fits into their organization, and to gather the internal support to make the switch.
If a prospect fulfills these three criteria, treat them as a lead worth their weight in gold. Even if the likelihood that they’ll buy is currently very, very low.
Put in the work now in order to have a pipeline of high-quality leads in the future.
On the other hand, a prospect who doesn’t fulfill these three criteria, but expresses a strong buying intent, isn’t worth the effort. Tell them why you think buying your solution wouldn’t be a good decision for them. Selling to the wrong customer might win you a quick commission, but ultimately causes more damage to your reputation and your business than having them choose a competing vendor.
Two qualities that will make prospects switch software
Sometimes, you might make such a compelling case that you’re able to close a deal right away. Or, you might be able to use a special offer or discount to get a financial commitment right on the spot, even if they won’t actually start migrating over to your solution several months down the line.
However, most of the time, you won’t be able to close these prospects on the spot. That means the two qualities that are required to win these deals are patience and follow-up.
That doesn’t sound exciting, right? What about the latest, coolest sales hack and Jedi mind trick? But your approach doesn’t need to be exciting if it works; patience and follow-up work.
With that said, I’m not going to leave you with some feel-good platitude. There are four things you need to do to make a long-term deal a reality.
1. Acknowledge the bad timing
There's a giant neon elephant standing in the corner: your timing sucks. It's not your fault, it's simply a part of the reality of sales. Until you address it, the elephant will continue standing in the corner, blocking any deal.
As I said earlier, switching to a new software—no matter how amazing or cost effective it may be—is a huge pain for any prospect. You want to make sure they know that you understand their predicament.
This step doesn't require a long, drawn out speech. Simply tell the prospect:
I understand that moving to our product will be a short-term inconvenience for your company, but it will pay off big in the long-term, and we will fully support you in making the transition.
By acknowledging their pain, you are demonstrating that you are on the same team as your prospect.
2. Design your follow-up process
Put a system in place that makes it easy to keep in touch and ensures you’ll stay top of mind. A great sales pipeline management software is crucial to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Close.io’s workflows and follow-up reminders make it easy for you to automatically be reminded to reach out to your leads at the perfect time. Combined with Datanyze’s lead intelligence data, you’ll be there when they’re most willing to listen to you—which is why we’re very excited about our soon-to-be-released integration that connects Datanyze & Close.io!
3. Be valuable
Stay in touch with them by offering relevant updates and become a source of valuable resources for them. Show them how your solution would make their life better.
Depending upon your preference, you could follow up every month or every quarter by phone or email. If you're looking for ways to enhance your follow-up, read this article in order to learn how to follow-up like a pro.
Continue learning about challenges they face, and be helpful in any way you can—even if it doesn’t relate to your product. But if you keep doing something of value for them whenever they share a challenge or problem with you, they’ll be motivated to keep sharing these challenges with you, which will lead to more opportunities to show how YOUR solution can help them solve their problems—and ultimately get them to switch to your solution and close the deal.
4. Embrace a marathon mindset
Approach the deal with a marathon mindset, not a sprint attitude. Avoid being pushy and don’t try to force their hand if the timing isn’t right—but keep them engaged over several months so you can be aware of windows of opportunity, and immediately seize those moments.
Opportunities can't happen if you're not there to seize them.
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About the Author
Steli Efti is the CEO & Co-founder of Close.io, the inside sales CRM of choice for startups and SMBs. Make and receive both calls and emails right from within the app and focus on activities that close deals, instead of wasting time on manual data entry.Follow on Twitter More Content by Steli Efti