The market is changing quickly. Organizations are having conversations they couldn’t imagine two months ago. Projects and initiatives are getting greenlights. Capital spending is on the uptick. It all speaks to our resilience as individuals and companies, even in the light of challenging situations.
The past quarter has taught every organization the importance of being adaptable. Our Selling in Uncertain Times program emphasized the need for adaptability in today’s dynamic markets. One size doesn’t fit all. With a moment’s notice, sales teams had to adapt – their message, pricing, pipeline metrics, sales motions, and more.
The last few months have given organizations time to try new things. It’s been a great chance to test and learn from a market hungry to solve some unparalleled challenges. Many sales teams laid the seeds in the last few months – building new relationships, creating social capital, helping customers and prospects. These reps will harvest the fruits of their labor in the coming months.
The Action Plan to Drive Revenue Now
A key strategy to accelerate through the recovery is executing a smart customer re-engagement plan. This includes repairing lost pipeline and salvaging relationships that went dark. A quick, targeted rediscovery campaign in Q3 can put your team on a path to close the year strong.
There are three steps to implementing your re-engagement strategy:
1. The Data
Data is critical to help focus your team on the right targets to rediscover. It’s important to look back to March 1st or earlier to assess the impact of COVID on your sales results. There were likely many deals that have stalled or dropped from your pipeline since then. If you’re lucky to be in an industry that’s thrived in Q2, look for patterns of success. Your objective is to build a new target list for your team.
- Understand the pipeline leakage over the last few months with the goal to determine what, if any, opportunities can be resuscitated.
- What prospects dropped from the pipeline and at what stage?
- What accounts churned?
- Where did you see a drop in lead flow?
- Where did we see abandoned MQLs?
- Look at what’s in the current pipeline?
- Is it in the right stage?
- Who has gone dark?
- Which deals committed in Q2 will likely slide?
- What’s projected to close in Q3 or beyond?
2. The Play
The goal of rediscovery is to test your hypotheses about how things have changed in your targets. With a new view of the landscape, you can pivot to a new pursuit strategy or bolster your current approach. The objective is to reposition yourself by being transparent and offering value through the rediscovery process. We recommend examining the following areas as part of the rediscovery call:
- Tone & Approach
Reps must really check their tone as they proceed with the outreach. Effectively executing this type of call requires strong emotional intelligence. Your tone – verbal or written – needs to reflect prior conversations as well as their current situation. Know that recent events could have impacted your contact individually as well as their organization. Navigate your line of questioning with authenticity and transparency.
One of the most important things to reassess is the overall position of the organization. Many companies are under major duress. Sometimes that’s crystal clear. For others, the changes may be more subtle. Review your ideal customer profile (ICP) characteristics to ensure that they’re still a viable target before preceding to the next level of questioning.
Things to consider include:
- What is the overall state of their business?
- Do they have the required liquidity or available funding to move forward with your solution?
- How did they perform in Q1 and Q2? What are their projections for Q3 and through recovery?
- How has their long-term business outlook shifted during this time?
Every organization has faced new challenges during the last few months. If your deal is to succeed, it must meet the demands of the moment. Longer-term payoff periods likely won’t be tolerated. The impact of your solution must address near-term issues.
Questions to explore:
- What’s on the C-suite agenda and how aligned is your solution to that agenda?
- What’s the current internal ‘competition’ for funding your solution?
- How have your target company’s customers been impacted?
- Are there internal resource constraints or gaps that can be leveraged?
Nearly all companies have adjusted internal processes on spending approvals. We’ve seen drastic moves to level-up authority on expenditures. Deals that were approved by managers now need CFO or even CEO sign-off! As you re-engage, it’s important to be sensitive and transparent with your line of questioning. Acknowledge that recent changes may have negatively impacted your contact’s internal power.
Questions to ask:
- How has the decision-making authorities changed?
- How have other projects/solutions been approved recently?
- What was the process they followed?
- What types of documentation or business case is now required?
- What’s required to move forward with a sign-off?
As you explore to understand any new decision processes, it’s also important to reflect on the people. There’s a good chance the people have changed. Possibly new roles and responsibilities. Possibly brand-new stakeholders are involved in your deal. It’s also likely that the personal wins for the key stakeholders have changed.
Here are some topics to explore:
- How would your contact personally benefit from your solution?
- Who might your contact be put at risk if you move forward?
- Who would likely elevate a competing priority?
- What is the new power dynamic across the influencers?
Sales Experience Value Drivers
As you reengage, focus on ways to deliver value for the buyer. Rediscovery conversations can’t be just about you getting an update or information. Helpful for you, but a monumental waste of your buyer’s time.
Think about 'value' through their lens. Done right, these actions will help ‘unstick’ opportunities or reopen stalled relationships. Here are some proven examples:
- Benchmarking – Data and insights from similar customers. In today’s environment, customers are eager to know how they compare to others. What insight can you provide around how they’re handling specific situations or challenges compares to others? This information can be shared within the conversation as anecdotal information or more formally through formal marketing content. The goal is to help the target organization put their situation in the context of others.
- Virtual Workshop – As approval processes up-leveled in the organization, many deals stalled. Running a workshop with the right stakeholders can be a way to unstick your opportunity. Pulling off a workshop requires you to position yourself as a facilitator. Your job is to bring together various functions or roles to discuss the issue you’re seeking to solve. Check out this detailed guide for our workshop-based selling methodology.
- Champion Enablement – Most rediscovery calls end with an action to help your contact work through the internal decision-making maze. If a virtual workshop isn’t viable, enabling your champion to sell on your behalf is the next best thing. Your content and message should reflect the updated landscape. It should also help position your champion to be successful navigating the new internal landscape.
Disruption Drives Innovation Right Now
This is a year like no other. It requires sales teams to execute in completely different ways. Success in 2020 starts with the customer, understanding how their world has changed and how you can help.
Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your sales organization to thrive in the new reality. Contact us to learn more about how winning teams are taking advantage of the current market disruption. Ultimately, these actions are putting them on the path to long-term success.
About The Author
Ralph is a partner with The Brevet Group, and for 20 years he has led sales performance teams in the United States and Asia. Recently he also served as a sales leader in both the media and technology industries. Ralph’s work has focused on a unique blend of management consulting and sales enablement to help companies execute their sales strategies. Prior to this role, Ralph was the APAC sales effectiveness leader at Mercer.