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Deciding Not to Decide

Sales Training Article: Deciding Not to Decide

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

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sales training companyA survey conducted by Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) showed “no decision” occurred in over half the opportunities sellers worked on. Vendors won an aggregate of 48%, prospects elected to develop internal solutions 22% of the time and decisions not to move forward with initiatives were made in 30% of the opportunities.

In the current age of self-guided buying, I suspect there has been a proliferation of “no decisions” that never hit vendors’ radar screens. Virtually everyone agrees buyers are initiating evaluations of offerings without seller involvement by leveraging the Internet and social networking. Studies have concluded the buying process is anywhere between 50 and 70% complete before sellers are engaged.

It’s logical to conclude the vast majority of these internal evaluations are performed by mid to lower level staff within companies. Their evaluations are likely to be started based upon interest about a given offering. Often notable by its absence is a focus on the business outcomes that can be achieved by using the offering. In other words, evaluations proceed without concern for what value (cost vs. benefit) can be realized by purchasing the offering.

It would seem with all of this “buying” going on, sellers would be experiencing shorter sell cycles and have an easier time achieving their numbers. Neither of these appears to be happening. What percentage of these evaluations end abruptly when budgeting can’t be secured?

History shows pendulum swings result in over-corrections. I empathize with buyers that feel sellers may take advantage of them and therefore attempt to minimize their influence. Competent sellers, especially in complex sales, play a valuable role guiding buying committees to see the potential value of offerings in a cost vs. benefit analysis, leading the evaluation and when qualified, asking for buying decisions to be made.

Self-anointed buying committee evaluations ending in no decision waste company time and resources.

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