Once upon a time (about a week ago), a CRO, a sales leader and a presales leader reached out to me. They said their sales and presales processes were “sometimes adequate”, but there were problems they wanted to address – they felt their teams could be much more productive.

I asked about their symptoms. In their sales processes, they said they were seeing:

  • High No Decision rates
  • Delayed sales process step conversions
  • Far too many “overview” and “Harbor Tour” demos
  • Many unsuccessful demos
  • Many wasted demos
  • “Challenging” POCs
  • Many unsuccessful POCs
  • “Unjustified” discounting

I asked, “What about your planning and tracking processes?” They reported they were experiencing:

  • Small “Land” footprints
  • Landing, but not expanding
  • Inaccurate forecasts and pipelines – “We’re living in the Land of Hope”
  • Salespeople with “happy ears”
  • EOQ negative surprises
  • Pursuing opportunities that had “poor product fit” to make quota
  • Scrambling to try to close business each quarter

I asked, “What happens post-sale?” They reported:

  • A high number of failed implementations
  • Lots of Customer Success Manager “rescue missions”
  • High levels of churn
  • And an uncomfortably high number of negative references from customers

Finally, I asked about the team’s discovery skills. They said:

  • The team is trained in XX sales methodology, but they don’t really follow it
  • The team uncovers pain – but that’s about it
  • No exploration of value
  • No exploration of impact
  • Many “discovery” calls are actually vendor and product presentations
  • Some team members try to do “discovery on the fly”, but end up doing “Harbor Tour” demos
  • They do qualify for budget and timing
  • But they don’t distinguish between prospects who are in an active buying process versus “just browsing”

What’s your diagnosis?

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