Change. It happens all the time, and sales cycles are no exception. You’ve got a winner-takes-all process with dollars and careers on the line. There are competitors, whose goal is to beat you, making plans in secret and springing them on you.
And that’s just on the selling side. On the buying side, you have budgets that disappear, organizations that re-organize, schedules that change, urgencies shift, new solutions are found, and so on.
Sales people who understand change and react quickly get a jump on the competition. The seller who gets in first starts with an advantage – they set expectations and have more time to learn and convince. When change happens, it’s a re-start, and the first to get into the new sales cycle enjoys that same advantage.
You’re two months into what was a three-month sales cycle and you’ve positioned your product as the preferred solution. You’re feeling pretty good. Somewhere else, your competitor isn’t feeling as good. He’s struggling to prove himself and his company and solution with a new customer.
You both learn that the close date has been delayed one more month. The playing field has just gotten a lot closer to level. First, you will want to know why. What changed? Why did it change? Who caused the change? Does it help or hurt me? There are so many possibilities.
The salesperson who understands the change and formulates and implements an effective response will gain advantage. The struggling competitor can leverage the change to move to the front. The over-confident leader can miss something crucial and find themselves behind.
In every CRM, the computer fails to assist with this. In fact, it can hamper you. It only assists you through a simple linear process – do this then that and you will increase your probability of winning.
But you’ve already done this and that and everything just changed! What sales skills, strategies, and tactics are appropriate, now? You can’t be trying to close because it isn’t time, yet. But your CRM says you’ve already done everything else, so it keeps you in a closing environment until you manually re-set all those previous activities and events and information for the new situation.
You need sales tools that will do that for you. One that understands the sales process and is able to flex with change, to reposition you correctly in the new environment and automatically provide appropriate guidance. This is called computational selling – and it uses the power of the computer to understand the sales process, to factor in all variables, and then change its analysis and assessment and guidance based on these. To my knowledge (and I believe that is quite extensive on this subject), only the ASPEC technology is able to do this.