It Takes a Team to Close Larger Accounts
The way to teach your salespersons to close deals for large accounts is really a loaded question. You can’t teach the sales reps to do it on their own. Parts of the process they can learn and they can be part of the process. To expect sales reps to go out and land a major account on their own is just unrealistic.
When a sales rep calls on a team of people, the members of the team are responsible for making a decision. They are afraid of taking risks and of the consequences if that decision is the wrong one. The sales reps will be suspect. Prospects perceive sales reps as having an agenda. If the sales reps lips are moving, they must be lying to them, so prospects won’t trust the sales reps.
The problem with a salesperson is they are usually optimists. No matter prospects say, sales reps still see a possibility. Even when somebody is telling them they never want to talk again, they continue to look for an opportunity. They continue to chase the whale.
Selling large deals requires big resources and a different way of thinking. If you’re the CEO reading this post, you know that you have to be a really good steward of your resources and use them wisely. Large accounts have many more steps.
These larger deals require a lot more people and you must understand the client and the politics of the deal. If you’re not careful, you will waste time and resources. Whatever your team spends pursuing one deal causes something else to suffer.
A large deal can have a huge payoff; but, done wrong, it can suck your resources dry. That’s why a sales rep shouldn’t pursue them in a vacuum by themselves. It’s just not possible.
Here’s an analogy Tom Searcy uses in his book, Whale Hunting. In an Eskimo village, it depends on everyone working together to hunt the whale that will sustain the village through the winter. If they don’t find the whale, they won’t eat.
Even the children in the village know the signs that a whale is near. They will see the flocks of birds over the ocean. They can observe the schools of fish that attract the whales as its food source. These children are the spotters that will alert the hunters when they see signs that a whale is close.
In the same way, salespeople can be spotters. They need to learn the signs that indicate a whale is nearby, so they can alert the executive team to prepare for the hunt. If you discover this is just “another fish in the sea”, then give the sales team what they need to land it and let them go. But if this is the whale you have been looking for, get the key players together and use your whale-hunting process to go after it.