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Putting the Right Team in Place to Close

Having the right team in place for your sales process can formulate your next win, or loss. Which will it be for you? Do you have the right people in the right roles to secure your next win?

Is this scenario familiar? 

You’ve finally landed a follow-up meeting with that elusive prospect. Your PowerPoint presentation is perfect, marketing collateral is on-point, and participants stay a half-hour longer than scheduled. The meeting seems to be a success…until it adjourns and you realize you are no closer to closing the deal than you were when you entered the room.

What happened? 

You came prepared to present, not to close

Somewhere along the way, without realizing it, you lost control of the meeting. This is especially common when high-level customer executives are involved. Decision-makers are used to setting the agenda and when you are a salesperson,this is the kiss of death for your deal. Without a sales lead driving to the close, engagements are stalled, meetings can go on too long, and important information remains unspoken. When the customer controls the agenda, they also control the flow of conversation. This means there’s no space for others in the room to say what’s on their minds (refer to my previous blog, Silence is a Sales Strength for more on this), leaving you without crucial data needed to bring a contract to fruition.

How do I make the close?

Having the right sales team in place is critical to closing the deal. This means not only getting the right people onboard, but also leveraging their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. Each person on your team should be in their “zone of genius,” as described by Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap. We each have innate natural abilities and when we capitalize on those, says Hendricks, they inspire and motivate us to excel.

At a minimum, the right sales team includes:

  • Sales Lead: The lead works with the prospect to set the meeting agenda and objectives in advance. During the meeting, the lead serves as the facilitator, controlling the agenda and keeping the group on task.
  • Subject Matter Expert: Prospects expect the sales team to deliver content expertise, as appropriate. The role of the subject matter expert is to provide specific functional or technical information. It is not to manage the flow of the meeting or push the prospect toward the close.
  • Account Manager: If the prospect wants to know the person who will be managing their business once a formal relationship is established. The account manager answers these who and how questions, building trust with the prospect that they will be taken care before and after the sale takes place.

To prepare for the meeting, determine your goals. The optimal outcome is a closed deal or, in lieu of that, a commitment to the next step. The meeting is successful if the sales team has a clear understanding of where the client stands: What are their concerns? What do you need to do to help them overcome their hesitations? 

The key to ensuring a sales meeting goes in the desired direction is to rehearse…and then rehearse some more. The most seasoned sales team needs to freshen their skills, as every prospect and every situation is different. Have your team practice the presentation, ideally, to people who are unaccustomed to sitting in sales meetings, as prospects often pull in others in their organization who are new to your product or service. Talk through potential objectives and concerns, ensuring each team member knows their role and is keeping the close in mind.

You may still need a great PowerPoint, but the key to making the sale is to come prepared to close, not to present!

The following tools can help your team members find their zone of genius:

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