Your prospects want to succeed as much as you do. And they want to boost their companies — and hopefully their own careers — in the process. So, if your offer will help them succeed, why wouldn’t they call you back immediately and sign now? If something’s good for you, surely you should want it!

Your prospect has a tough job. She must convince her organization and relevant stakeholders (the proverbial average of 5.5 internal stakeholders) that change is a good thing. She must build a business case and balance the cost, risk, and effort associated with that change. She must own the results post-purchase. And she must accomplish all of this while doing her day job.

She’s balancing priorities via a buying equation like this:

Value > Cost + Risk + Effort

If the prospect can’t get the equation to work, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that 58% of deals stall in the middle of the funnel. It’s just very tough for a prospect, whose job is not to purchase things, to move a deal along. If she can’t convince others that the math in the buying equation works, well then, why should they support her aim to move ahead with change?

Enabling the Buyer via the Seller

The last two weeks I participated in two excellent conferences: CEB’s ever-informative and data-rich summit and the Sales Enablement Society’s inaugural conference. In listening to the sessions and in discussion with the speakers and participants, one theme categorically jumped out: we need to enable our sellers to enable our prospects to succeed.

That theme centered on the fact that buyers are researching your products, engaging with peers and analysts, and discussing options with their colleagues outside of interactions with the seller. Does that mean that sellers will vanish and that we’re moving to a completely self-service environment?

The answer is no, but the nature of sellers is shifting. Increasingly, we’re seeing sellers as enablers themselves. That is, sellers are becoming information concierges that guide buyers toward the information and resources they need to support the calculus of their buying equation.

We as sales enablers need to recognize this fact and act accordingly. We need to equip our sellers to service our buyers. A useful way to think of how to achieve that is to return to the buying equation.

  • Value: What is the business case for change? This is the ‘promised land’ for the buyer’s company after change has been executed. Sellers need to equip buyers with the reasons for change, why the status quo is untenable, and why the future state is so compelling. But too often enablers stop here. It’s not enough for sellers to show value. The other side of the equation awaits.
  • Cost: This is often seen as the flip-side to value. How does a prospect justify the spend on your solution? Traditionally, this involves ROI calculators and the like. Are there other approaches that you can take to show total cost of ownership or cost versus status quo?
  • Risk: There’s a lot of risk — corporate and professional — in making a change. “If this fails, what does that do to my career?” is a scary question. That’s why risk is often the hidden derailer of sales processes. Look to references and case studies to allay these fears.
  • Effort: Even free can be too expensive if it’s tough to get up and running or to operate. How do you enable your sellers to show that effort won’t be onerous? Try equipping sellers with information about fast-tracking implementation, post-purchase support, and other guidance.

Regardless of the solution, the aim is the same. You need to help your sellers support buyers as they proceed through their journey. And by looking at your buyer’s calculus, you can focus your enablement efforts where they can help sellers to best guide their prospects to success.

Today’s post is by guest author, Peter Mollins, VP of Marketing for SAVO, an insightful, prescriptive, and secure global sales enablement platform that delivers content to sellers within the context of each deal.