Is it really necessary to segment sales steps into different calls? Meetime explains.
One day in October, one of our implementation consultants asked the content team for help – one of our clients wanted to know if it was really necessary to segment the sales steps into different calls and she needed a reference on the subject. That's when we saw that we had nothing on the subject. We hadn't even thought about writing about him.
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After all, in our SaaS B2B reality selling a highly customizable tool with a well-defined sales cycle, bringing together the different stages of the sales process was not a reality. But it doesn't work that well for everyone.
Typically, the sales process works as follows: Connection, Diagnosis, Solution and Closing. The first three steps are done each at a time (usually a call or videoconference, when the company makes Inside Sales) and the third is defined by the time interval between the "yes" given in the solution call (demo) and the subscription of the contract.
Now let's explain why this is the most common practice in SaaS sales.
Reasons that lead to segmenting the steps into different Calls
In sales, it's all about time and personalization. And these are exactly the reasons that lead to segmentation. Below we list the top four reasons why it is worth splitting the steps into different meetings.
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>You have a highly customizable and/or complex product
We published a post, almost two years ago, about sales modalities for SaaS (it's worth reading later, inclusive). In it, we highlight the relationship between price and complexity of the service sold; and this relationship also involves two last variables: the amount of information needed to close the deal and the time to close it.
The more customizable it is, the greater the number of possibilities for working within the software, the more varied the goals and concepts for success, and the more attention the seller needs to devote. In turn, the time to explain, the “back and forth” to consider the solution and even the number of people involved in decision-making increases. This longer time to close the sale is reflected in the purchase ticket (more expensive).
Now think about your salesperson: he's trying to generate value for the prospect, do a consultative, customer-successful process. During diagnosis, he collected information about objectives, goals, problems and everything else he needed. He knows the company can help and is confident that showing how the tool will support the team will make the prospect say “yes”. But he already needs to do the demo on the same contact.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Lack of time to prepare the demo script: when placing more than one stage in the same meeting, there is no time for the salesperson to prepare the meeting and/or demo script. We've already talked about the importance of having a plan here: this avoids that “back and forth” of tabs, confusing clicks and loss of fluidity in the demo.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Lack of Customization = Lack of Value: Customization of the sales process is essential to customer success. When it is not possible to devote time to building the arguments that will generate urgency and consolidate the need for the investment, there is no value in closing. This behavior, even, can be recognized as the famous "take on the thighs".
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>You sell to enterprise
Following the logic of the previous item, sales to large companies (enterprise) have a series of specific requirements. The project for adopting a solution is larger (after all, there are hundreds of users), maybe adjustments are needed for hiring and involving more people in the decision. In other words, there is no way to be fast. And if you can't be quick, what's left is to take it easy, one step – and one meeting – at a time.
Below is some content on sales for large accounts that might be of interest:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Account-Based Sales: How an operation based on companies, not leads works
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The universe of Account-based Sales, with Denis Tassitano
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Guide: How to Implement an Account-Based Sales Core
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>Very long meeting times reduce conversion
We did a study in our Labs about the time of online sales meetings. Our question was: does duration impact the end result (conversion)?
The answer was: YES. Take a look at the chart below.
As illustrated, meetings shorter than 20 minutes and longer than 40 minutes have the lowest conversion rates. Where do we want to go?
Joining more than one step in the same link can impact your sales results!
Let's give an example with our own case: a diagnosis takes 45 min to 1 hour. This is the time needed to ask SPIN and GPCT questions, delve deep into the prospect's reality, understand what the goals are and if we can help. The next step, the demonstration, takes 40 to 50 min.
Putting the two steps together, it would be almost two hours of meeting. Is a long time! Those involved end up tired, distracted and may end up losing focus.
If your sales process needs similar investigation time and it is impossible to maintain the quality of service with a shorter time, it is best to segment the steps.
It was clear?
When not to target…
So far, we've talked about the reasons that lead to segmenting the sales process into different calls. But it is true that holding multiple meetings at different times ends up lengthening the transaction.
See below when this is not a good idea.
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>Your average ticket is low
Selling is what sustains a company, right? It is through the invoicing and acquisition of customers that it is possible to hire people, pay suppliers and even attract investments. As we saw in the graph above, which shows the relationship between price and product complexity, these two factors must also be compatible with the time to close a deal, the sales cycle.
Acquiring customers comes at a price, called Customer Acquisition Cost, or CAC. It is the balance between CAC and billing from that signed customer that will determine if your company is in good financial health. If you make a small bill and have a high acquisition cost, or take a long time to close an account, you have a big problem on your hands.
We talk about the importance of the average ticket in the podcast below. Press play to listen!
Our tip: if you have a low average ticket, it is very likely that you need to convert customers quickly to be able to invoice and balance your operation. Let's talk about this in the item below.
Other possible solutions are:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Adjust your product's price: if your product needs dedication to sell, for the reasons we mentioned at the beginning of this text (target audience, personalization, etc.), a price adjustment may be necessary. See more in this post about trading strategy.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Going to self-service: this option drastically reduces the cost of the operation and can work, as long as you have a very simple product. Email triggering SaaS work this way, for example.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Bringing two or more steps of the sales process together (Inside Sales): If doing consultative inside sales is essential to the closure, then joining the diagnosis with the demonstration might make sense to you. But remember to try to stay within the 1 hour maximum meeting so you don't see your results diminishing.
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>The sales cycle can be shortened
The longer the sales cycle, the greater the chance that the deal will be lost. So if it's possible to shorten the sales cycle, do it! You can do this by lowering touch points and questioning how much time a deal spends at each step in the process (for example, putting in place pass triggers to speed up qualification).
Instead of 4 different calls, it may only take 2 meetings to complete the sale. Instead of 15 days, your sales cycle can last for 7. Try it and see if it works before thinking about segmenting!
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>The product or service you sell has low customization and/or is relatively simple to succeed
If your product or service is simple or easy to use, multiple steps in a sales process may be unnecessary. Want examples? Office cleaning service, like the one we mentioned in this post, an email trigger service or a team task organization platform, like Asana or Trello.
Here you can find more information about self-service and freemium models .
Care to be taken (always)
If your reality does not support the segmentation of sales steps and it is better to unite some steps of the sales process in the same call, stay tuned for the next tips! They will ensure that everything runs smoothly and that there are no delays due to minor obstacles.
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>Make sure the decision maker will always be on the decision call: when working with a short sales cycle, you need to be prepared for decision making in the diagnostic and demo link. Therefore, when scheduling it, validate with your prospect that he is the decision maker or that the decision maker will be present. Here are some tips on how to recognize him!
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>The exploration of pain must be done in depth: generating need through questions of implications is one of the salesperson's main tasks during diagnosis. Doing this in a rush can ruin your entire call, as it doesn't generate urgency for the prospect. Be very careful to avoid losing focus in the presentation of the software in the following moments.
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>Check with the prospect if he has time: As you may already know, meetings sometimes go too far. If you've set aside 40 minutes of your prospect's schedule, make sure at the beginning of the conversation that he or she has time to extend the meeting a little, if necessary. You don't want to have to end the conversation right away during the demo or proposal submission, right?
So, is it clear when it is better to segment sales steps into different calls and when is it possible to keep everything in the same meeting? If you have any questions, leave it in the comments!
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