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Understanding Selling Challenges in 2017: Closing Insights

Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving. One of the study questions explored challenges sellers face in closing sales.

We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us what would be their most difficult challenge in closing sales deals in 2017. Responders provided the following answers:

  • 24% of respondents said competing against a low-cost provider would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017
  • 19% of respondents said positioning competing value propositions would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017
  • 16% of respondents said creating a compelling case for change to avoid a “no-decision” would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017

While the top three challenges remain the same year to year, the percentages add color to the story. In 2016, “competing against a low-cost provider” took 47% of the responses, showing just how keenly this challenge was perceived. One year later, the ranking among all three challenges is more even, an indication that sellers realize the importance and interplay of several elements involved in closing deals. Creating a compelling case against stalled decisions or “no-decisions” takes understanding the customer’s buying cycle and helping customers sort through what matters most in order to find value among the options.

Richardson’s Closing Sales Deals Insights

In today’s information-rich environment, buyers have the world at their fingertips, but the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming, making it harder to reach consensus, much less a decision. More information doesn’t always translate into accurate, clearer understanding. This is where sellers can add value by helping buyers diagnose their unique situations and identify the best solutions so they can make an informed buying decision that drives the results they desire.

Sellers need to present buyers with well-crafted solutions that meet their exact needs, in priority order, and nothing more, this is sometimes called selling with insights. Focus on the end game for the business, keeping in mind what matters most to the buyer, not only what is important to you, the seller.

Creating a compelling case doesn’t just mean sharing impact data. It must be impact that is specific and relevant to that buyer. So, timing is essential. You may want to highlight impact potential in the early stage of the sales process to create momentum, but you must come back to it at a later stage and make it specific to that buyer and what areas of impact they care about. Highlighting the risks of keeping the status quo is good — but remember, buying is an emotional process. Don’t forget to highlight the opportunities and potential for your buyer as well.

About the Author

As Richardson’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andrea is responsible for demand generation and value creation through strategic marketing, brand awareness, digital optimization, product launch initiatives, and market-facing thought leadership to drive sustained, organic growth. With a passion for sales and customer-centric activity, Andrea and her team work to inspire customers across the engagement lifecycle and support them in their journey to market leadership by delivering fresh perspectives to their sales challenges.

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