Three tips on the proper RFP response: it’s in your talk, your technique, and your technology (quoting software, CRM, and more).
The Catalog As Classroom: Teaching Team Members Product Specs
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Selling in highly technical industries is very demanding. Not only are the products themselves more complex, but so are the people and targets you’re selling to. This often creates frustration in salespeople, which ultimately manifests itself in the form of poor sales numbers. In order to be successful, you need to understand sales strategies that specifically apply to tech industries.
The 6 tips you need to know
You have to spend some time in technical sales before you can come to fully appreciate its complexities. Sales professionals in other industries have no idea how challenging it is to close deals in such an advanced marketplace. But once you’ve been in the industry for a while, you start to think, “There has to be a better way.”
Implement the following tips and techniques into your current sales approach and you’re sure to see some healthy returns.
1. Create Detailed Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are extremely valuable for sales professionals. They allow you to understand exactly who’s on the other end of the line/table/email and instill some clarity in what’s otherwise an uncontrollable interaction.
However, as a sales professional in a highly technical industry, it’s not enough to have a single buyer persona. It’s very rare that you’ll only interact with one type of prospect, yet many reps think that it’s okay to have one standard persona.
You need different buyer personas based on every possible individual you could interact with. This includes CEOs, VPs, IT professionals, and more. Each of these individuals has a different responsibility. One is a decision maker, another is an influencer, and the other is a gatekeeper.
For example, the CEO will want to know about the big picture and bottom-line stuff. How will the return on investment be measured? The VP will be curious about implementation and impact on employees. The IT pro will want to know specifics about how the technology works and how it will impact current processes. This is why it’s so important to tailor your approach based on who you’re communicating with.
2. Become a better storyteller
In technical sales, you absolutely must become a good storyteller. Since the products and services you’re pushing aren’t exactly the most compelling at times, you have to do your best to offset these disadvantages by drawing people in.
In fact, storytelling is often the best way to make your initial sales pitch. By telling a brief story, you can frame the product in a particular light and grab the prospect’s attention before they tune out and move on with their day. By no means is it easy to become a good storyteller, but you’ll learn over time. The sooner you start developing this skill, the quicker you’ll see results.
3. Avoid premature selling
When you’re speaking with a prospect, your heart often starts racing and all you can think about is closing the sale. Unfortunately, this often leads to premature selling, which can be detrimental.
“‘Forced appointments and communications result in closed sales less than 14 percent of the time,” says Jacques Werth, president of High Probability Selling. “When feeling pressured, prospects who don't commit to doing business on the first visit are even less likely to ever buy - then, the probability of ever getting the sale drops to 5 percent.”
As Werth points out, premature selling does you no good. Resist the temptation to force communication and instead let the process happen naturally. As they say, patience is a virtue.
4. Focus more on value and less on specs
If you’re looking for one simple way to change your entire technical sales approach, then this is the best piece of advice you’ll ever hear: Focus more on value and less on specs. When you focus on value over product specifications, you’re able to speak directly to the prospect’s pain points.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a CRM solution to a small business owner. While you may feel inclined to rattle off specs – such as marketing features, data analysis capabilities, and employee relationship management – the business really just wants to know one thing. Is the solution going to reduce friction between the company and the customers?
Instead of listing off specs, you should be discussing the specific ways the CRM solution reduces friction and the benefits his business will enjoy as a result. That’s how you sell.
5. Choose your words wisely
Technical professionals are notorious for being hard sells. In fact, it’s quite rare for a sales personality to get along with a technical personality. However, you have to find a way to overcome this. One of the keys is to be careful with the words you choose.
“Technical professionals engage in rigorous academic and professional training to earn their degrees and certifications. Word choices are extremely important to technical professionals,” explains Babette Ten Haken, author of Do You Mean Business? “They interpret your words literally. They’re data points that can be designed against. They also think they’re the smartest folks in the room. You know what? They usually are!”
In other words, you have to choose your words wisely. Never throw around superfluous words in hopes that something will stick. Instead, deliver a very strategic message that speaks to who the individual is and what they need.
6. Use product configuration software
Part of sales success is being able to close the deal by offering the right quote and proposal. If you’re still taking a manual approach to pricing, then you’re risking losing sales as a result of your inefficiencies. What you need is a product configuration solution.
With product configuration software, you can implore dynamic pricing schemes that take into account dozens of different quantitative and qualitative parameters and deliver accurate prices every single time. And, somewhat surprisingly, these solutions are quite intuitive!
Try iQuoteXpress Today
If you’re looking for a product configuration software that will allow you to streamline the technical sales process and increase close rates, then look no further than iQuoteXpress. Our proprietary solution makes tracking, quoting, and closing as easy as possible, so that you can focus on building relationships with prospects.
For more information regarding iQuoteXpress – or for a free demo – please reach out and contact us today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!