B2B software sales can be a daunting process. Not only are sales cycles usually quite long for most business solutions, but pushing prospects down the sales funnel requires a great deal of patience. What can you do when you need to meet your sales targets, but prospects are not converting fast enough? Here are some tips for software sales reps that can help you in the short (and long) term.
Tip #1: Build a Nurture Pipeline
In order to have a continuous flow of qualified opportunities, it’s important to build a solid network that is nurtured over time. You can do this by creating a strategy to reach your target audience across channels, including social selling, cold calling, and email outreach. It’s important to remember that punctually reaching out to prospects is an important way to stay in touch and keep the lines of communication open. This will not only help establish trust with prospects over time but should help you be on the front lines when business priorities shift. Very often, projects to acquire software are pushed off because other things “come up.” When those projects become a top priority, you want to be in the right place at the right time. By nurturing your pipeline proactively, they’ll know who to reach out to when the time is right.
Tip #2: Leverage Content
Content marketing is more than designing a slick product brochure. Sharing value-added content with prospects can help build thought leadership for your brand, and enhance visibility for your offers; it should be used as support for sales to help educate prospects about your value proposition, and showcase success stories with clients you have worked with in the past. Leveraging content (whether by actively promoting it through content syndication, online ads or other lead generation tactics) is an important way to ensure that the right people engage with company assets. Writing with SEO in mind will help you rank higher for certain keywords, and, of course, using social media platforms to publish new content means your network will be exposed to your content regularly. Good content is a must-have for any software company; as a software sales exec, you should learn how to harness the power of the content you have in order to influence key decision-makers and take your discussion to the next level.
Tip #3: Get Support
Demos are a huge part of software sales. In fact, they can make or break a deal! If you are planning a demo with a technical decision-maker and you feel that you are not well-equipped to handle highly technical questions, invite someone else from your team to join you. Getting support from the experts will help you build credibility with the prospects you are nurturing. Not only will prospects appreciate such initiatives, but you will also learn from the experience too.
Tip #4: Conduct Win-Loss Analysis
At the end of any sales cycle comes a win—either for yourself or for your competitors. In order to understand what influences your prospects to make the final decision, it is highly recommended to conduct win-loss interviews. By analyzing why a prospect decided to buy your solution or go with your competition, you will gain valuable insight, which can help you improve your sales process. Despite popular belief, price is usually not the reason for your loss. Very often, the relationship with the sales executive is cited as being a key reason why one solution was chosen over another; building trust with prospects and having good customer rapport is essential therefore if you want prospects to choose you.
While software sales is not an exact science, there’s no doubt that knowing your buyer personas inside and out will help you target them more effectively. Leveraging content and getting help from internal (technical) experts will help you make your case when educating and nurturing your pipeline over time. Conducting win-loss interviews when the sales cycle is over will help you improve your game so that you can continue to improve next time around.