Top 10 Reasons Why it's Hard for Salespeople to Land BIG ONES

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Nov 08, 2011 @ 06:11 AM

I'll be the first to admit that selling to big companies can take much longer, may include many starts and stops, musical chairs, committees, task forces, layers of management and additional competition.  But beyond those considerable annoyances, what makes it so difficult?

I'll offer my thoughts and you can feel free to add your own:

  1. Staying Power - some salespeople become frustrated by these opportunities tending to either not gain traction early on, or stall after gaining traction.  They become impatient and simply do not pursue them.
  2. Royalty - some salespeople become intimidated by the additional zeros that could be part of a possible deal and treat the opportunity quite differently from their regular opportunities.  Instead of asking tough questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects they become facilitators, failing to differentiate themselves from their competition.
  3. Decision Making - In large companies it can be difficult to figure out who is actually making the decisions and even more difficult to meet that person.  There must be a compelling reason for the decision maker(s) to get involved early in the process and failure to ask tough questions means it may not be very compelling for them at all.
  4. Money is no Object - For some reason, salespeople tend to believe that big means unlimited funds.  As a result they invest an awful lot of time pursuing opportunities that they never completely qualified.  Being big does not mean they will spend whatever you charge them and, in many cases, they expect to pay less, not more than their smaller cousins in business.  Some may even expect you to conduct tests and trials at no cost to them.
  5. Happy Ears - Because salespeople are hearing signs of interest, they may pursue big opportunities for much longer than they should.  Slight interest should tell the salesperson to turn around - dead end - but instead seems to invite them to play it out.
  6. Relationships - Most salespeople fail to develop strong relationships with all the various players and as a result, may have a champion, but fail to have an entire team on board with their solution.
  7. Chauffeurs - I've never been much of a believer in the Champion or Influencer goal.  Instead, I believe that salespeople must identify a Chauffeur - someone who can drive you to the person who cares and has enough power to do something - like make a change or pull the trigger.
  8. Fit - Just because a salesperson is trying to sell the big company, does not mean that her solution actually fits the big company's needs.  Back to thoroughly qualifying; will your size, location, track record, capacity, team, references, timeliness, delivery, availability, expertise, experience, pricing model, quality, country of origin, contract, compatibility, ownership, terms, or billing/payment method be issues?
  9. The salesperson - Sometimes, a salesperson who does fine with smaller companies, just does not have the self-presentation - poise, posture, wardrobe, polish, look, vocabulary, accent, hygiene or eye contact to take it up a notch and present in the board room.
  10. This is where you can contribute - simply enter your comment for what you believe is the 10th reason and I'll choose a winner!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, key account sales, major account sales, selling to big companies, national account sales

Key Account Sales - More Than Just Important Accounts

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 02, 2009 @ 09:11 AM

Over the last several months I have engaged in several on line disagreements about the importance of asking questions early in the sales process.  More than one sales expert has claimed that asking questions violates trust.  More than one marketing expert has claimed that asking questions is offensive.  My position is that unless your salespeople are asking lots of good, tough, timely questions, they won't uncover their prospects' compelling reasons to buy and buy from you instead of your competition. In addition, you won't create the urgency you need to move the opportunity forward and prevent delays, put-offs and ambivalence.

My guest on last week's edition of Meet the Sales Experts was Sales Development Expert Hal Thorsvig.  We were talking about psychology, the art of asking questions and listening and he said that "when people are sharing their emotional reasons for buying they are into the highest level of rapport there is!"  He added that you should "ask questions with a true sense of wonderment and curiosity".

Hal also had some interesting thoughts on Key Account Sales where, according to Hal, there is much more to it than just identifying important accounts and assigning account managers to them.  He said you must have:

  • strategy to ward off competition
  • ability to deal with multiple buying influences
  • great control/understanding of the needs of each of those influences 
  • ability to maintain the account (maintain should be interpreted as retain)
  • ability to grow the account

Are you or your salespeople struggling with ways to justify pricing that is being attacked with unrealistically low prices from your competition?  Listen to the show for the great Uncle Charlie story that Hal told. Hal's story is bound to put an end to that problem!

Click here to listen to the show.  Click here to contact Hal.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Salesforce, Sales Force, pricing, key account sales, hal thorsvig, price objections

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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