How Software Providers Can Handle Common Sales Problems

August 5, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

When talking to a prospective software buyer, the difference between a satisfactory and unsatisfactory answer can mean the difference between a sale and no sale. However, a badly executed sales conversation is not all that can hamper a deal.

Software sales teams struggle with some common sales problems. These include the buyer going completely silent, or throwing complex technical questions at the sales rep in the early stages of the buying process. To deal with these sales problems, software providers need to prepare their sales teams ahead of time. 

They also need to establish processes that provide the sales professional with standard responses and next steps when encountered with such sales problems. Here are some tactics that we’ve found essential to handling tough sales objections:

Practicing situational awareness and continuous qualification

Forty-five percent of software buyers go silent on vendors because the salesperson or vendor did not understand their business needs (full research available to Gartner clients). Avoiding this is within your sales team’s control. 

Start by ensuring all sales reps have situational awareness, which includes three components:

  • Relationship: Awareness of the relationship between the buyer and the provider, the buying team and any external influencers. 
  • Readiness: Understanding the importance of the buyer’s project with respect to other business priorities, as well as gauging the current stage in the buying process. 
  • Rules: Awareness of any specific requirements of the buyer’s procurement process, including regulations and individual or group approvals they must follow.

Sales leaders should also institute a process of continuous qualification. Buyers no longer follow a linear purchase process, so sales reps should continually update the current condition of the project within an account. This information will help them qualify buyers that are getting more serious while gauging which buyers might go silent. 

Here are a few tips that can help with continuous qualification:

  • Go into buyer interactions with a list of data points and agreements or commitments that are needed. 
  • Gain additional information about the buyer’s project—new requirements, potential roadblocks and power shifts.
  • Confirm the buyer’s current position and anticipate next steps in their decision-making process.

For more insights into following up with buyers, explore our article 5 Key Sales Follow-Up Tips For Software Providers.

Using the pivot for complex questions

Sometimes, instead of going silent during the sales process, buyers ask complex questions. While sales reps might be able to answer some of these questions, others could be too technical for a sales rep. Such questions could be about implementation, infrastructure, technical know-how or integration, all of which are better suited for a technical expert. 

In situations like these, one common mistake for salespeople is trying to answer the question themselves.

Instead, sales reps should focus on setting the next meeting where an expert could address these questions. Sales reps in such situations shouldn’t attempt to provide lengthy responses. They should simply acknowledge the buyer’s question and pivot the conversation to scheduling the meeting.

Handling questions and objections with "the pivot"

The simplicity of this technique means it can be used immediately without prior planning. Further, the structure of the response gives sales representatives the confidence to handle any question or objection in the right manner. 

Understand that a buyer’s attention is limited

Whether it is a contact going silent or asking technical questions, software providers need to remember that the buyer’s attention is limited. Potential clients going silent because the salesperson misunderstood their needs could mean they were not provided with the information they were looking for. Potential clients asking technical questions could also go silent if they do not receive the clarity they need to move forward. 

For sales excellence, software providers need to focus on training and sales coaching to prepare sales representatives to deal with such situations ahead of time.

Find more insight into buyer questions and how to answer them in our article on common buyer questions here

Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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