As a technical sales engineer, your sales pipeline is one the most important tools you have. This is what you should be spending some time every day on – adding to your pipeline and making sure that you go through and each every prospect you have. Sales is a numbers game and if your sales pipeline runs dry, the chances of being able to close deals will also greatly decrease. Take time to nurture your sales pipeline to ensure that it never runs out. When you do this, you’ll be able to close more deals, we guarantee. How do you go about this? Read on to see our tips on how to close more deals.
Build Your List
If you’re already working as a technical sales engineer or maybe you’re new to a company, there are low-hanging fruits you can immediately turn your attention to.
- Previous clients
- Existing customers
- Previous opportunities
For new employees, ask your manager for a list of these categories of prospects. The database might be already included in the company CRM, so you’ll just have to refer to it and get yourself organized. If you’re a new technical sales engineer, you can introduce yourself to them and start building your relationships with them. If you’re already working as a technical sales engineer for the company, go back to the prospects mentioned above and start touching base with them again. They might have new projects or new needs that your product can help with.
If you are building a new list, the best way to start one is with Zoominfo which, in their own words, “offers the most accurate and actionable B2B contact data available in the market today.” It is the best data resource that allows you to start building your list of leads and prospects. There are other companies that offer similar services but we’ve found Zoominfo to be the best for technical sales engineers to the high quality of data and other features available such as custom search, copy and paste, and ability to export data. It is a relatively expensive service but very much worth it.
Use a CRM System
Next you need to be using a CRM system. It doesn’t matter whether you use Zoho, Salesforce, or Hubspot, as long as you are using a CRM that works for you. Once you have hundreds of leads and prospects in your list, you won’t be able to track them and follow up manually, no matter how efficient you are. There has to be some system in place to organize all your data so you can see how people and prospects are moving through the pipeline.
A CRM system will also allow you to set up automations that will remind you to follow up with a prospect in 2 weeks, 4 weeks, or more, depending on how you set it up. Being organized and keeping data together is paramount for technical sales engineers. If you aren’t organized and don’t have a system in place, you are more likely to let a prospect slip through the cracks and you’ll lose a potential deal.
There are 4 stages of the sales process:
A lead is as simple as a name and a company. That’s it. Everybody is a lead until you qualify them. Even if someone refers you to that person and is sure that it’s a “hot lead”, you need to go through the qualification person to make sure that you can consider this lead as a prospect.
2) Qualification Process
This process requires a conversation with a physical person. It is not something you can automate or ask them to fill out a form online then decide immediately if they can be a prospect. Even if they themselves have expressed interest in what you’re selling and they are the clients of a competitor, it still doesn’t automatically qualify them as a prospect. You need to qualify them using your own standards. The most important question to ask is if they can afford what you’re selling. If the answer is no, they are automatically disqualified and there’s no point in moving forward.
When you are qualifying a lead, get them to talk about themselves. What are their pain points? What is working for them? What do they need from you and what are their expectations? The more you learn about them, you will be able to qualify them better. You can have a set of core questions that you can ask them during this stage. It usually takes 1 or 2 phone calls to qualify a lead. Going through the qualification process prevents you from working on and following up with people are not interested. This allows you to determine if there’s a good fit or not.
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After you have qualified a lead and you are in the process of giving them a proposal, get it done as quickly as possible. Make sure the content is good, the proposal touches on all the points they are interested in, and it answers all the questions they brought up during the qualification stage. Sometimes sending proposals can take time because the technical sales engineer is waiting for information from another department or isn’t able to update an old proposal quickly. This delay can cause prospects to lose interest. You need to keep momentum going to have a higher chance of closing the deal. The quickest way to make proposals is with Proposify. This proposal cloud-based software allows you to create and send out impressive proposals faster.
Once you have a qualified lead, you’ve sent them the proposal, and they know how much your product costs, it’s time to close. Even before this stage, find out when you can expect an answer after sending the proposal. Plan ahead on how you’ll handle follow ups and how often you’ll get in touch with them after. Don’t be annoying and don’t follow up too much.
If they say that it’s not the right time, there are budget constraints, or they’ve decided to shelf the program in the meantime, put this prospect into your nurture campaign. This means that you set up your CRM system to automatically follow up with them every so often until you either get a yes or a firm no. This can take weeks, months, or years. The key is to be patient but persistent.
If they don’t go into the nurture campaign, they are probably ghosting you. Many technical sales engineers have experienced this. That means that these prospects don’t respond to you at all. If a large percentage of your prospects fall under this campaign, it means you are not doing a good job prospecting and qualifying. Maybe they weren’t serious, couldn’t afford your product, or just wanted to get information from you. These people are wasting your time so you need to qualify leads better. If a small percentage of your leads are ghosting you, don’t worry. This is normal.
Emails and Phone Calls
Most technical sales engineers use email to follow up. This is fine, but if they don’t respond, make sure you give them a call and leave a message if you aren’t able to reach them. Unless the prospect needs your product immediately, many people won’t respond at once. After emailing and calling them, you need to get creative with following up. You can mail them a personal note with your business card attached, pay them a personal visit at their workplace, or get in touch with them via LinkedIn. The bottom line is don’t rely only on phone calls or emails to follow up and don’t give up. Keep in mind that it can take as many as 8 to 10 touches with the customer before closing a deal.
Until the technical sales prospect tells you plainly that they are not interested in doing business with you, don’t give up. Follow up even a couple of years down the road. If they do tell you that they’ve decided to go with someone else, make sure to ask them why and what you could have done differently. Get some creative criticism and feedback on how you can improve yourself for the future.
Keep these tips in mind and we hope you’ll be able to close more very deals soon!
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