Everyone who has sold something has experienced it before - everything has gone well to this point; you’ve found a use case, scoped success criteria, and even agreed upon a POC and the prospect goes dark. What happened, and what do we do? Below are some common examples, but it’s important to find the root of why this happened in your deal by reviewing the gaps in where you may not have answers in your Deal Scorecard.
Roadblocks vs. Unqualified Deals
The way we define a roadblock in this scenario is that something is slowing down a deal, but you have a truly qualified opportunity (refer to your Sales Scorecard). Anyone involved in the sales process (Founders, salespeople, etc.), always get over-excited about a POC. Although it's a good signal, it means nothing until the digital or physical ink has marked the contract and you’ll want to have the most clearly defined path to decide how much effort you should allocate towards a deal.
A few common roadblocks are:
Sometimes, the deal is unqualified. A few examples:
Controlling any part of the sales process is challenging, especially once you are competing with conflicting schedules, priorities, and other variables. There are certain ways you can improve the quality and efficiency throughout your Product Testing Process which includes, but is not limited to:
Schedule time with the end-users and your Champion once a week (at minimum) to confirm the product is meeting your mutually agreed upon Success Criteria and expectations.
Since most organizations use Slack, we always encourage founders and salespeople to create a shared slack channel with your prospect to answer any questions or address challenges that may arise vs. scheduling a high volume of meetings. Many challenges can be addressed through Slack, and other escalations can be moved to a call as needed. Assuming your contacts are comfortable with it (and confirm), text messaging allows for more asynchronous communication as well.
Learn from your Champion the areas of opportunity for your solution and how to ensure you meet the Success Criteria their team and the Buyer need to see prior to executing an Order Form.
Reviewing the Results
When walking through the Product Testing Doc and creating the MAP, make sure to timebox the product testing phase and schedule a date for reviewing the results with the prospective User and Buyer.
Assuming you’ve met the Success Criteria during the evaluation, you’ll want to highlight in your Product Testing doc and/or a short slide presentation:
Securing the contract
If you’ve reviewed the results of the completed POC, work with the Buyer and your Champion to understand the signing process. Ask who needs to review once you send the Order Form, when they plan to review it, and set a firm date by which you’ll answer any final questions prior to signature to timebox the conversation.
Pick any e-signature solution (preferably HelloSign or DocuSign) where the prospect can sign electronically. This may seem obvious, but just sending a PDF or other static document causes presents several challenges including not being able to track if anyone has viewed the document and creating additional friction for the signer (ie. printing it out, signing it with a pen, faxing/mailing the completed contract).
The reality is you won’t have full visibility or control over 99.9% of deals. Still, the best way to increase your odds of closing a deal is having as much visibility and control over the process as possible. By creating a Product Testing Doc with our prospect, you can gain a better understanding of your prospect’s decision and buying processes and help them justify why your solution is valuable to their organization. The POC Scoping Call is also a critical opportunity to come up with a Mutual Action Plan to agree on clearly defined Success Criteria and build a clear path towards securing a contract.
Looking for ways to close more deals for your startup? Happy to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org