Challenges, excitement, rejection: a sales professional’s life can be an emotional rollercoaster.
As Quoter Account Executive Foster Fong says of his position, “You experience all forms of human emotion, which is very rare in any other role.”
In a typical quote-to-cash cycle, there are bound to be highs and lows. Even after removing all the friction from your sales process, you’re left with the human aspects of winning (or not winning) the sale. Sales are about people selling to other people.
Foster has, by “trial and error,” found himself on a roll in closing deals. As one of six full sales cycle account executives on Jan’s sales team, he revels in the opportunity to forge relationships with Quoter’s prospects and partners.
“Everything aligns when you have great conversations with people,” he says. “In most jobs, you just don’t get the opportunity to meet all walks of life, have that small talk, and get the fulfillment of diving into their business challenges. It’s very rewarding.”
In the remote and hybrid work environment of modern B2B sales, it can be easy to forget about the living, breathing person on the other side of the Zoom meeting. But now more than ever, it’s essential to focus on the challenges and pain points of the prospect and cultivate connection.
A “Backseat Approach” to Quote-to-Cash
Quoter’s full sales cycle account executives take prospects through the entire sales cycle, making building and maintaining relationships easier.
As a singular point of contact, Foster and his colleagues have the time to dig in and “really understand the prospect’s point of view, their life, their goals, what they want to do, and where they are trying to go.” From there, Foster can help the prospect assess whether Quoter fits their quoting needs.
By staying closely connected to the prospect, Foster can take a “backseat” approach to quote-to-cash.
“Don’t force it. Take a backseat role. Give them options. Never dive into the sale right off the bat.”
Foster’s “backseat approach” is about helping the prospect drive their sales decisions.
Customer-centric sales processes allow prospects to gather the information they need without bottlenecks and make a decision. Bringing humanness back into your quote-to-cash cycle might be the key you’re missing to closing more deals faster.
Let’s look at five more tips from Foster for human-driven quote-to-cash sales cycles.
Know your offering
The more confident you are in your knowledge of your offering, the easier it will be to build trust with prospects and tailor a thoughtful solution to their needs.
It’s not about features-selling. Foster says that in his early days in sales, demos were more about him rattling off everything he knew about the platform.
These days, he brings more nuance to the conversation.
‘It’s really about taking a big step back and learning more about the prospect and what they’re looking for,” he says. A deep understanding of his offering allows Foster to pick up on where it could fit the prospect’s specific context.
Creating a two-way dialogue requires whip-smart knowledge of the offering, so you won’t lose your footing even if the conversation goes completely off-script.
Check your mindset
“I try to do this every day,” Foster says. “I tell myself: today is going to be a good day. If you feel tired and tell yourself that, that’s what you’re going to feel. If you tell yourself you’re feeling good, it acts as a source of discipline and motivation.”
While Foster might be running busily throughout his day, from follow-up calls to demos, his positive attitude is there alongside him. He brings it to his interactions with prospects, exuding infectious confidence.
Starting the day with a positive mindset also helps moderate the highs and lows of quote-to-cash.
“There will always be a balancing act of continually learning from your mistakes,” Foster says. “I’m in a constant search, or openness, to want to grow as a person and not stay in one singular place.”
Learn from the past.
Here’s a tip for new and seasoned sales professionals alike: understand what historically works.
Foster recommends diving into resources to help you understand past sales successes and failures. If your company doesn’t have this, you can seek out resources at the industry level. Think case studies, white papers, Reddit channels, and social media.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be part of a sales team open to collaborating and sharing knowledge.
At Quoter, the sales team “has a good form of sharing what is working and what’s not, and drawing inspiration from each other,” Foster says.
Be a resource
By focusing on the consulting aspects of his sales role, Foster offers himself as a resource in addressing pain points in existing sales workflows. He’s even interested in seeing how his prospects are doing quotes now.
“It’s always good to get a live picture to draw from instead of going in blind,” he says. “It’s good to see visually. Instead of the prospect telling you about how they quote, showing it to me allows them to relive their current experience.”
A shared experience in looking at an existing workflow encourages collaboration between you and the prospect. It provides tangible value that could bring you one step closer to closing the sale.
Show, don’t tell
Helping a prospect come to their conclusion about what makes your product or service perfect for them is an art form that takes continuous tweaking. For Foster, it’s a practice that’s well worth it.
“If you can aid [the prospect] in connecting the dots, that tends to help the sale better because it means that it was their realization of your value,” he says. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Foster leans on experience and knowledge of the prospect to try to get to a place where the prospect can come to their assessment faster.
More about Foster, Account Executive at Quoter
Currently watching: Mixed martial arts (MMA)
“It’s one of the most beautiful forms of competition to witness because it involves the concept of high-level problem solving mixed with dire physical consequences.
The concept of mixed martial arts – striking, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, judo – encapsulated the most human form of entertainment.”
[Editor’s Note: New to MMA? Foster recommends checking out jiu-jitsu. It involves grappling, a hand-to-hand combat skill. It’s the “safest” form of MMA, in Foster’s opinion.]
Currently avoiding: burnout.
“It’s always good to have a hard-working, dedicated, unstoppable mentality, but that can only go so far until you reach the point of burnout.
Once you reach burnout, your motivation drops for an extended period. Time for yourself, such as in self-reflection, relaxing, and taking a step back, helps keep a sane mentality.”
[Editor’s Note: Avoid quote-to-cash sales cycle burnout with Quoter. Book a demo with Foster’s team and learn how to build lightning-fast quotes so you can get back to what matters most.]
Currently making time for family.
“Spending time with family is a critical aspect of my life. I’m getting to this age where I see my parents aging, and I realize there’s only so much time left. I just want to spend more time with them.”
[Editor’s Note: Foster had the opportunity to reunite with his mom, who lives in Hong Kong, in January after four years apart during COVID-19.🥲]
Read more from this series
- Quoter’s Partner Success Specialist Shares Her Tips For Fast & Easy Onboarding
- How Quoter’s Senior Product Manager Decides What Features To Build Next
- Advice for MSPs From Quoter’s Sales Manager Jan Karlo Manuel
- The Secret Sauce to Quoter’s Co-Founders 16 Year Long Working Relationship (And Why It Still Works)
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