One way to negotiate bumpy economic headwinds is to keep closing new business. But with a shrinking pool of buyers, you’re now more likely to encounter competitors hunting on your patch.
In this competitive environment, knowing an account is looking for a solution like yours is useful. But knowing an account is ready to buy right now – that’s gold dust.
Understanding the best time to engage lets your sales team reach prospects early and shape the conversation. It’s the difference between squabbling over the best fishing spot and taking home the catch of the day before your competitors have even baited their hooks.
But with most of the B2B buying journey taking place in the anonymity of the Dark Funnel™, it’s all too common for sellers to mistime engagement, or miss out on slam-dunk opportunities altogether.
Buying Stages & The In-Market Sweet Spot
Before we dive into the main symptoms of mistimed deals, let’s discuss the ideal time for your sales representatives to engage your accounts. The sweet spot in your prospects’ buying journey – when they’re in-market for your solution – sits between the consideration and decision phase.
Approach before then and your prospect isn’t ready. At this stage, even the most persuasive outreach can be seen as unwelcome and considered spam. On the other hand, if you wait until leads inbound, you’re late to the party.
Instead, acting when your account sits in that in-market sweet spot yields proven results. On average, teams that engage accounts at the right time in their journey experience a 120% improvement in revenue generation.
If your business is missing out on this goldilocks zone, you’re letting oven-ready deals pass you by. Here are some telltale signs you’re mistiming deals, and how it’s costing your business.
Symptom 1: Suffering Uncontested Losses
Is the first time you’re hearing about a potential deal when a prospect’s logo shows up on your competitor’s site? The uncontested loss is the most frustrating of all. You’re not even shooting your shot.
But unless you’re the Salesforce, Amazon, or Apple of your industry, buyers aren’t knocking down your door to hear about your solution. To stop finding out about deals through competitors’ win announcements, you need visibility into the buyer journey so you can proactively engage accounts before it’s too late.
Symptom 2: You’re Not Shaping the Narrative
Research shows B2B buyers complete 70% or more of their buying journey before even engaging a vendor. They’re reading industry publications and blogs, scoping out reviews, and visiting vendor websites. With multiple vendors to vet, only 5% to 6% of an account’s buying journey is actually spent with your rep. This puts your AEs under pressure to prove value – and fast.
Being first to the table opens up some breathing space for your salesfolk to be consultative, strategic, and shape your customers’ viewpoints. They can sell your solution’s vision and position as a long-term strategic partner, without worrying about combating competitor FUD.
On the flip side, if your prospects are already talking to the competition, it’s more likely you’ll be dragged into a debate centered on finances and features.
Symptom 3: Regular Discounting
With 78% of B2B customers purchasing from the vendor that responds first, there’s an undoubted first-mover advantage in B2B sales.
If you’re commonly engaging in price wars and having to discount your deals, it’s a sure sign you’re getting into deals too late. Discounting is often the last resort of a rep who is playing catch-up and caught competing on features and price, rather than value.
What’s more, the recurring nature of contracts means these discounts will compound across a contract’s lifecycle, further eating into your margins.
Symptom 4: Making Promises You Can’t Keep
Delivering on what you sold is fundamental to building loyalty and a good reputation. But sometimes mistiming deals leads salespeople to make promises your business can’t keep.
Whether it’s a shorter delivery time, free implementation, or guaranteeing top talent on your account, sales reps are more likely to make these concessions in hyper-competitive deals when they’re late to the party.
But selling something you can’t deliver to one account can have a wider impact across the business – from juggling internal resources and derailing other projects, to creating friction between teams. In the end, these issues can also cost you renewals – making that mistimed deal very pricey.
Time Deals to Perfection With Revenue AI
6sense Revenue AI™ banishes mistimed deals and removes the guesswork by uncovering accounts searching for your solution and pinpointing when you should reach out.
Our platform analyzes more than 30 billion buyer interactions every month across devices, channels, people, and product categories. Predictive AI then identifies your ideal accounts, where they are in the buyer’s journey, and when they’re in-market for your solution.
So you can get into deals earlier, beat the competition to the punch, and take home a bigger slice of the pie.
See how three B2B tech companies are using Revenue AI to light up the Dark Funnel and improve their bottom line here.