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Mastering the Art of Relationship Building with Jaime Konzelman, Vice President, Sales at Unisys
In this episode of the Revenue Insights Podcast, host Lee Bierton is joined by Jaime Konzelman, Vice President, Sales North America & Canada at Unisys. They explore the intricacies of cultivating meaningful connections with individuals, delving into various subjects that encompass the significance of relationships and effective strategies for building them in the year 2023....
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How to close more target accounts with deal qualification
Sales methodologies guide sellers on how to engage prospects at various sales stages. At the very first stage, qualification methodologies (such as Challenger, BANT, MEDDPICC®, etc.) have long been established to create structure and process when opportunities enter the pipeline. Ultimately, the goal is to create consistency at different stages, ensuring sellers follow best practices…
6 Ways to Close More Deals (backed by data)
Sales communities flood with opinions and conjecture on how to win more deals successfully. In truth, all this advice is dependent on many factors. Who are you selling to? What industry are you targeting? What does the sales process look like? How long is the average sales cycle? How many stakeholders are typically involved in the buying committee?
Every sales team’s answers to these questions will inevitably differ. Hence, some advice will yield results, while others have little impact.
So how do salespeople cut through the noise? How do you work out what will help you make quota this quarter?
The answer lies in understanding why you are already winning deals. What activities are you doing to positively progress those deals? Similarly, what activities are you doing that are making deals stall or not move them forward?
We analyzed $37 billion of sales pipeline to understand the most common of those factors and
their impact on sales velocity.
- Increase win rates by 311% with MEDDPICC®
Interest in sales methodologies has grown by 23% year-on-year (according to Google), with MEDDPICC®. being the most popular at 46%. Despite the popularity, only 15% of deals are fully completed.
When deals have been fully qualified against a robust sales methodology and in this case MEDDPICC®. – the win rate is 311% higher than without. So how does MEDDPICC® help reps who are completing it?
Qualification frameworks work in two ways. To begin with, they enable reps to qualify opportunities as they enter the pipeline. At this stage, consistent checks ensure pains are understood and the process and criteria for making a decision are defined.
The goal at this initial stage is to clarify why an opportunity exists, and what the prospect will base their final decision on. Having these suggests there is a clear path to closure. Without them leaves the route to success in the dark.
The second benefit of a MEDDPICC® framework is to provide visibility on critical components of the deal while it’s progressing through the pipeline.
For example, if you identify economic buyers and champions at the beginning – this enables coordinated sales enablement plays with the whole buying committee. In addition, defining the paper process (when relevant) and your competitors provide a broader context to enrich conversations with the prospect and prepare for any potential blockers early on.
2. Increase deal velocity by 633% by prioritizing high-quality relationships
The number of stakeholders involved in a sales process has grown by 25% year-on-year. Depending on the value of the opportunity, the average deal now has between 4 and 10 members on the buying committee. Despite this – many sales teams report only working with a few contacts at target opportunities.
For those able to successfully multi-thread deals – the impact is substantial. Take enterprise deals, for example, where working 10-12 relationships on average garners win rates of 42%.
For mid-market-sized deals, 7-9 relationships averaged 48% win rates. Compare this to opportunities with 4-6 relationships, where sales take 10% longer to close despite building fewer relationships. In addition, deals in the 7-9 relationship sweet spot were 39% more likely to close.
High-quality relationships have become increasingly valuable compared to recent years. A strong relationship has long been a critical factor in ‘greasing the wheels’ of a deal. In an era of growth at all costs, it has become easy to forget how effective this can be.
High performers never forgot. Those who are successfully multi-threading deals are yielding significantly better results than their peers.
They multi-thread deals with understanding which personas need to be involved at which stage of the deal. They track their relationships and design sales plays to ensure strong relationships with the right contacts at the right time.
3. Increase deal velocity by 177% by targeting the right persona at the right time
Building relationships is time-consuming. Therefore, it then becomes vital to understand who to build them with. There are now different roles within the buying committee. You have your champions who love your solution – but lack the budget and buying power. You have vital decision-makers who hold the keys to the budget – but require more assurance of the return on their investment. Increasingly in 2023, you also have finance personas involved who are much closer to where they spend their dollars.
Building stronger relationships with a growing buying committee means sales teams must work smarter, not harder, to use their time efficiently.
This comes by understanding which personas have the most significant impact on deal velocity through the sales cycle.
In this example from one anonymized B2B SaaS business, win rates improve when operations leaders are prioritized early in the sales process.
It’s not about ensuring solid relationships with all personas from day one. It’s about identifying the best time to engage with which personas through the sales process to make the most efficient use of your time.
4. Improve win rates by 3x by prioritizing strong engagement with key contacts
Knowing a contact is very different from having a relationship with them. Sending ten e-mails with no reply differs from sending two that both get responses. Calling and going to voicemail five times differs from dialling once and going straight through.
Strong relationships with buyers has smoothed the entire process for as long as sales has existed. They help overcome stalled deals. They help convince unsure co-stakeholders. They help secure the signature on the last day of the quarter.
But in an age of growth at all costs, prioritizing building quality relationships is often forgotten. According to our analysis, the highest-performing reps were those who could grow genuine relationships with key contacts.
We measure the strength of the relationship with a Relationship Score. This calculates strength based on engagement metrics, including e-mails, calls, meetings, etc.
So it’s not just a case of targeting the right people at the right time. The secret behind closing more deals is building strong relationships with the right people at the right time.
5. Deals are 60% less likely to close when they run one month too long
High-performing sales teams are ruthless prioritizers. Consistently making quota requires focusing on the deals most likely to close. Most sales leaders are familiar with ‘whales’ – huge deals that demand a reps’ attention because of their potential to make or break their quota.
All too often – these deals slip. Single-threading, proposals missing the mark and poor engagement are just a handful of the factors behind why.
And when they slip – the chances of them closing successfully drop dramatically every day they run longer. On average, when deals run a month longer than their close date – the likelihood of winning that deal falls by 60%. Make it two months, and that figure reaches 90%.
Worse yet, when analyzing over three million opportunities – 37% of all deals slipped.
As the data shows – when deals slip, the likelihood of winning them falls dramatically.
When deals slip, honesty is the best policy. Truly how likely is this deal now to close? The alternative is to re-prioritize and focus on deals likely to close in the quarter.
6. Identify the source of opportunities that drive the greatest deal velocity
Not every opportunity is made equal. Some deals come in and move through the pipeline at pace. Others are a steady slog to get them over the line. The source of those deals significantly impacts the velocity at which they progress through your pipeline.
For example, some deals enter the pipeline and progress quickly because the prospect has already been ‘warmed up’ to the solution. That could have been through word of mouth, a partner, or a referral.
Those that stall are often far colder. For example, prospects who understand the problems you solve – but not how you solve them.
To understand which source is most effective – use deal velocity. High-performers prioritize these opportunities, as they know those deals can be moved through their pipeline rapidly compared to others.
The normal tendency is to prioritize opportunities by their deal size. However, if those deals take twice as long to close, reps can better prioritize smaller opportunities that they can close in half the time.
How to start closing more deals today
- Introduce MEDDPICC® to qualify deals as they enter your pipeline
- Use MEDDPICC® qualify opportunities you create
- Identify how many stakeholders are usually involved in your successfully closed deals
- Prioritize building relationships with a similar number of stakeholders in your live pipeline
- Identify which personas are most common in your successfully completed deals
- Prioritize engagement with those personas in your live pipeline
- Prioritize growing strong relationships with those key stakeholders
- De-prioritize deals that have slipped – and consider removing them from your pipeline
- Identify which source of opportunities generates the highest sales velocity
- Prioritize opportunities from your top sources
MEDDPICC® is a registered trademark of Darius Lahoutifard, exclusively licensed by MEDDIC Academy, and is being used with permission.