B2B SaaS organizations are becoming increasingly metrics-driven. Our quarterly business goals are full of objectives, including: generating more leads, creating more opportunities, increasing our deal sizes, shortening our cycle times, reducing churn, selling more of product A, etc. It’s never-ending.
In every aspect of our business, we review, measure and improve the metrics that drive performance. The challenge is that the CRM data driving much of our analysis is inconsistent and subjective. While businesses are increasingly adopting platforms like Outreach.io, People.ai and Truly to automatically create CRM tasks to track activities, the content of the conversations across the customer journey requires an Account Executive or Customer Success Manager to manually enter it. For obvious reasons, these required CRM fields are rarely updated; however, we rely on CRM to manage the business and drive decisions.
After analyzing more than 2 million sales conversations in Chorus.ai, we’ve surfaced 3 major insights that your CRM probably isn’t telling you.
1. Don’t shy away from the competition.
On average, the win rate on deals where a competitor is discussed is almost 2x higher. When identifying where in the sales cycle competitors come up, we found that it happens in the first 10 minutes of the first call. This suggests an educated buyer actively researching your category.
The value of having this information early is that it helps reps to start with differentiation early in the sales cycle. This is when the rep still has the ability to shape the way the decision is going to be made and influence the way the prospect should be thinking about the problem they are trying to solve. It enables them to lead with a more strategic approach:
- Have we talked about our differentiated story?
- Are we actively shaping the decision criteria the buyer should use when evaluating the category?
- Have we highlighted potential landmines our competitors might walk into?
Our data suggests that less than one-third of competitive deals are marked as such in our CRM because the information has to be manually entered. Many of these early calls are not even on a sales manager’s radar because they are not considered pipeline yet. So, managers are flying blind and unable to help shape the outcome.
The next time a competitor is mentioned on a first call, get pumped! You’re twice as likely to win that deal versus any other opportunity. Find team members that have the highest win rate versus the competitor and ask them what landmines they lay. Then, incorporate them into your next call.
2. Don’t be afraid of the multi-year partnership.
Assuming your business has the ability and desire to lock in multi-year deals, it could be a win-win for the business by creating more predictable revenue and reducing year one churn.
Our data shows that multi-year agreements are discussed in fewer than 3% of deals – even when Account Executives are incentivized to do so through their commissions. Interestingly enough, 50% of the time it’s the prospect that is asking if a multi-year agreement could result in a better price. More mid-market and enterprise buyers are open to long-term partnerships than you might think.
Top performing reps ask for multi-year partnerships 5x more often than an average rep. By broaching the topic early in the sales cycle, the rep has the ability to position it as a mutually beneficial partnership. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
3. Wait on that discount until all the cards are on the table.
Discounting is likely happening much earlier and more often than you think. And, many Account Executives have been trained to use language that we don’t realize is discounting.
Our analysis showed that common words used early in the sales cycle lead to more discounting earlier in the sales cycle. When we first discuss pricing, we are trained to use language like “list price,” “standard price,” or “generally.”
By qualifying our price, we are signaling that there will be a discount and invite a discounting conversation before the buyer has selected our product.
Avoid adjectives around “price” early in the sales cycle and encourage all negotiating to happen when all the chips can be laid on the table to create a mutually beneficial outcome.
Conversations are the heartbeat of any business; by capturing, analyzing and surfacing key insights from those conversations into a CRM system in a structured way, organizations will be able to outsmart and outmaneuver their competition. When we rely on manual data entry, we miss a major part of the story.