Every day we meet sales professionals that spend their evenings preparing sales presentations, and delay sending followup emails because it’s time consuming to cut the irrelevant slides out of the powerpoint presentation before sending it off to the customer. Or even worse, because they don’t have enough time, they settle with a sales presentation that doesn’t come across as professional as they would have liked.
Hearing this and staying passive is not good enough. So we’ve decided to get the full picture.
In this first part of Prezentor’s new Insight Series, aimed to uncover how sales and marketing professionals work in an increasingly digital environment, we take a real close look at how sales professionals spend their time before, during and after sales meetings. Are you a sales professional – take the survey here!
But first, let’s talk about time, or more correctly the use of it.
Setting and sending an agenda before sales meetings
Truth be told, humans sometimes refrain from doing a task because we feel that it’s too time consuming, even though we deep down know it could have a positive impact on our end goal. A good example of this is setting and sending an agenda to the prospect before the sales meeting. We know it’s beneficial but still, many of us struggle to do so. If anyone happened to forget the benefits, here’s a few of the top ones.
You show the prospect that you are well prepared
It makes you appear more professional
If the prospect responds to your email you get an indication of their interest
Use the opportunity to send pre-qualifying questions that allows you focus your time effectively during the meeting
So, question asked – do you set and send an agenda to your prospects before a sales meeting?
Searching for and preparing sales presentations
The fact is that allowing something to take time, also more than you had originally planned, is completely fine – if you feel that you used your time effectively. In a sales situation this means that spending two extra hours updating a PowerPoint is worth it – if it means that the customer gets a better experience and ends up buying your solution. If it doesn’t, then you might want to take a critical look at how you could spend those two hours in a more effective way. Such as constructing your sales presentation in a way that it allows you to focus on the customers needs, rather than presenting your solution.
For larger companies one challenge often mentioned is searching for and finding the relevant sales material, that’s carefully tucked away on intranets, filesharing programs, resource portals and more. There are a few different challenges related to this:
1. Notifications might be sent out about new and updated version, but when it’s time for a meeting and you’re already time crunched, do you remember to download the latest version? 2. Not all resource portals are equally user friendly, sometimes making in difficult to a) find what you’re looking for and b) knowing if it’s the version that you need.
3. You’ve downloaded the sales material that you need, congratulations! But after a couple of these exercises you now have more versions of the same sales presentation, on your desktop, than you may have wished for. Unless you’re diligent about deleting the old versions that is…
How much time do you spend on searching for and preparing sales content prior to sales meetings?
Follow up fast after the sale meeting
It’s widely known that following up fast after sales meeting increases the chances of closing the deal. If done in the right way it keeps momentum, clarifies questions and misunderstandings and establishes the next step. However, it’s also widely known that this is one of the things that many sales professionals struggle with. Why is that? It’s just sending an email, right? Well, yes and no.
Naturally it depends on your line of business but there’s a few red lines. First of all you need to summarise what was agreed during the meeting (assuming you took notes..). Perhaps you have a meeting follow up email template (if you do, well done!) but if not you need to outline the email. If you are including sales material you can choose to do one out of two things 1. Send the entire presentation even though you know that 75% of it is irrelevant for the person receiving it or 2. Copy the relevant slides into a new document, save it, possibly pdf it, attach it to the email and send it off. Only to end up with yet another version of the sales presentation on your desktop.
Once the email is sent off it enters the black hole of email cyberspace and you’re left unknowing if your prospect received it, opened it, if they looked at it and if so, what did they look at? Imagine having insight to all these things. Well you can, and much more! But that’s a whole other blog post.
So the question is, how much time do you spend on writing meeting minutes and sending follow up emails after sales meetings?
That brings us to the last point.
CRM entries – love them, hate them, get them done
Do you do CRM entries? Nobody loves doing them but everyone really should record any contact made with a prospect or client. It helps you stay organised, focused and streamlines organisations regardless of if you’re three friends in a basement just getting started or if you’re working for a large multinational. Still, the question remains, do you do them and how much time do you spend on it? Do you believe it could be done more efficiently, perhaps even automated? We think so.
These questions and a few more makes up the first part of our insight series. Curious to get the results and benchmark yourself agains other sales professionals? Complete the survey here and sign up to receive the full report on how sale and marketing professionals work in an increasingly digital environment.