The purpose of this blog post to explore the shifting dynamics of the buyers’ journey as it relates to your use or your sales teams’ use of the sales deck. Guess what, you’re using your sales deck wrong.
Time after time we get the same question, “How can we shorten our sales cycle?” While there are a lot of things that companies can do to shorten the sales cycles, this one answer seems to be a shock to their system, the timing for the use of a sales deck. Even when we point out the obvious based on research our comments are almost always shot down immediately.
The dynamics of the buyers’ journey has shifted from a “give and take” to a “take and give” scenario in the last 5 years. No longer are you able to tempt your prospect with a goose that lays the golden egg. Now your prospects demand the goose, the egg, and they want to test for purity of the gold. Then, and only then, will they begin to open up and share with you the pains they really feel and if they believe your solution will work for them.
What this means is that your prospects are doing all of their research before they want to speak with you. In fact, rather than pontificate this topic, we will let those who do the research speak for us:
Harvard Business Review and The Corporate Executive Board, “…nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier…”
So what is it that we are telling our clients? It’s simple, we tell them to do one of the following:
- Make your sales deck downloadable as a lead gen tool.
- Send your sales deck (even if downloaded) after the appointment has been set.
Hint: Use Docsend, Clearslide, or something similar
As you can imagine, the immediate response is quick, harsh and with extreme condemnation. It’s as if we were speaking with a child and told them there is no such thing as Santa Clause. This is what we hear:
- We can’t do that, what if they see it and decide they don’t want to talk to us?
- We can’t do that, what if we don’t cover what they want to talk about in our deck?
- We can’t do that, what if they send it to my competitors.
There is one common theme in all three of these statements, “fear”. And its’ all related to fear of losing the deal. What it really means is you are not confident in your product, your sales deck, your company, and you are really afraid you competition is better than you. For the record. At this stage of the cycle, there is no deal. There is only the potential of a deal. And at best, it’s the potential of the concept of a deal. In short, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Pressing further, we have this very specific and well thought out research indicating that you should do this yet we allow the fear monster to override our rationale thinking. Guess what folks, get over it! Fast Company said it best here: Adapt or Die
For now let’s follow the traditional path and see if this sounds familiar by waiting to show the deck on the first call.
- Your deck is all about your company, who you are, where you came from, your leadership team, your customers, VC’s, your fancy algorithm, and your pretty UI. Hint: They only care about 5% of this and all they want this information for is that it justifies your existence and that you will still be around next year when it comes time to renew.
- Your deck talks about how easy it is to install and use. Let me guess, only 5 minutes to install and test, right? Hint: Everyone says this, and in fact in the context of the prospects mind, it really is not true based on their own internal procedures and processes, not yours.
- Your deck only speaks to features and benefits, not pains and the value of solving those pains. Hint: If you present a real pain, with a real solution and some level of an ROI, then you are missing the entire point of a sales deck.
- You deck always makes you run out of time. It forces you to talk to much and listening to little. Then you are hurried at the end of the call to confirm another appointment or forced to disclose price both of which make you look and sound weak and wimpy. Hint: If you think you are talking too much, you are talking too much.
- You get the second meeting however but now there are going to be 3 new people on that call and the first 20-30 minutes of that call will just be a quick re-hash of the first call and the same deck.
Sending the deck early
So this brings us back to where we started. Why you should send your sales deck early.
- It let’s your customers come prepared with better questions instead of superficial ones.
- It let’s you dig deeper and faster into their real concerns and pains.
- It let’s you better position your solutions to meet their specific pains.
- It allows you to make the most use of everyone’s time and in some cases cut a 1-2 meetings out of the sales cycle thereby speeding up the process.
- Allows you to establish a greater level of trust and rapport.
The sales world has changed. Between the internet and the democratization of software from Saas it is now possible for new cutting edge technologies to make the world go faster. People are able to find the information they want at their fingertips and we as sales people have two choices, adapt or die.
If you are a sales professional in the 21st Century, you must get beyond the evangelical sales cycle. You must shift from a give/get thought process and adjust to a get/give. Your prospects demand you cut to the chase while still maintaining pure professionalism. Stop wasting their time (and yours) get them the information they want by sending your sales deck sooner.
Want to learn how we help sales leaders and sales teams learn this? Contact us