What's Sabotaging Your Sales Success?

by Bryan Gray

How to Eliminate the Three Single Points of Failure that are Sabotaging Your Sales Process

A single point of failure is any point in a system that, if it fails, causes the entire system to break-down. Today’s interconnected world has leadership talking about how they can identify and confront single points of failure (SPOF) in their organizations across all business practices and systems.

Your sales team is not immune to SPOFs. They are confronted everyday with the 3 Deadly Cs:  

  • Commoditization - To your buyer, you and your competition look and sound the same
  • Consensus Decision Making - Decision-making teams keep getting bigger (now averaging nearly 7 people)
  • Compressed Selling Time - Your buyers are ignoring your salespeople until the very end of the buying journey

And each of the Deadly Cs is creating a failure point that can take down your entire sales process… destroying margins, revenue growth and your relevance.

Learn more about the 3 Deadly Cs here >


Single Point of Failure #1 - Losing Your Moments of Truth

Your moments of truth can occur at any point in the customer journey where your prospect has an opportunity to form or change and impression about you. No matter where in the buyer’s journey a moment of truth presents itself, you must prove two things:

#1 That you are different than everyone else

#2 That you are important right now

Unfortunately, most salespeople are missing their moments of truth and, in turn, become Commoditized, the first of the 3 Deadly Cs. By the time a prospect connects with you, they fail to see any difference between you and your competition. They’ve lumped you in with everyone else as “someone that can do the job”.  

How did your prospect form this impression? Your prospect’s brain simply can’t distinguish or separate the excessive amounts of data and information it’s receiving.

What your prospect is hearing from you and your competitors is so similar that it all just blends together. The part of the human brain that is deciding your level of importance is not sophisticated enough to decode loads of information that include features, benefits and statistics. That’s why you all get lumped together.

And with everyone looking the same, sounding the same and acting the same, your prospect will never see your real value.

For every day that you allow your marketing and sales team to go out there, sounding like everyone else, you’re being commoditized which is  perpetuating the race to the bottom. A race that you don’t want to win and that won’t stop on its own.

From meeting someone at a trade show to standing in front of a large decision committee, when you properly differentiate yourself by connecting to your prospect’s deep-rooted pain, threat or fear - you’re create engaging dialogue and opening them up to establish priority; all important in order to advance your solution.

How do you win a moment of truth? From your elevator pitch to your boardroom presentation, everyone in your organization must be able to answer why you are important and why your buyer must do something now. This is the only way to stop the race to the bottom and win your moment of truth.


Single Point of Failure #2 - Your Salespeople Can’t Get Facetime with Prospects

Twenty-years ago, before the widespread use of the internet, when a buyer was in need of a solution their only resource was to contact a salesperson. Fast forward to today and a buyer has access to such unprecedented amounts of information they see no reason to engage with your sales team until they’re ready, and on their terms. In fact, buyers are ignoring your sales people for at least the first 70% of the buyer's journey. And when they do come to you, they’ve formed their own opinions and biases about your solution… and everyone else’s solution. If you wait until they are ready to talk, you’re going to walk straight into a commoditized “fulfillment” conversation (see SPOF #1).

What’s making this worse? Your marketing efforts only speak to existing demand - the prospects that are already looking for your solution - and lack any real insight to drive your prospect’s desire to meet with you. In fact, Gartner Research estimates that when buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with anyone sales rep might be only 5% to 6% out of their entire buying process.

Without influencing that first 70% of the buyer’s journey, you’re destined to hit what we call The Void. The Void is where you’re losing deals that should be yours and where your margins disappear… and where you only have one shot to win with your prospect.

To overcome this failure point you have to take back control of the buyer’s journey. You must create priority by introducing timely and influential ideas to the right people at the right time. You have to build demand AND enable the next-step in the process through prescriptive messaging that creates more opportunities before the short list.


Failure point #3 - Deals Stall Out

According to the CEB, the average decision includes a team of nearly 7 individuals, which is 3x greater than the number of decision makers before. Now you’re fighting to establish and maintain prioritization to eliminate delay, and we all know time kills deals.

“Going from one to two people means overall likelihood to buy goes off a cliff, dropping from 80 percent to the mid-50s. And once you have more than 5 people involved, it drops to 30%.” (CEB)

With each decision maker coming to the table with their own personal priorities and biases, the easiest decision for the team to make is to do NOTHING. It’s much easier to stay with an incumbent or with the status quo and move on to perceived higher priority items.

When a salesperson is confronted with this barrier, traditional sales training has taught to lead with features and benefits and “what you can” rationale, when in fact, more information, reasoning and justification won’t help your sale. It results in greater confusion and indecision, and confused brains will either commoditize you or , once again, default to the easiest thing to do… nothing.

Did you know that by including an ROI analysis in your messaging or presentation will reduce your win rate by up 27%? Most believe more information helps decision making, but it actually has the opposite effect.

If you aren’t able to rally the decision making group around a central pain point, that is greater than staying the same, then you’re quickly being forgotten or reprioritized. And the longer this drags on, the less likely you are to make the sale.

To beat the stalled deal, you have to speak to the buyer’s real threats in a way your competition can’t, and won’t. Your pitch and presentation must carry the room, drop barriers, and engage the brain to move your buyer to close faster. By combining decision science with your Convincing Advantages - the three most compelling reasons why your prospect should buy from you now - you reinforce your value and close faster.



By understanding the obstacles that the change in today’s customer journey has created, you can prevent SPOFs in your sales process.

  • Win the Brain - Overcome commoditization and own your moments of truth by driving preference and driving priority.
  • Win the Journey - Overcome compressed selling time and get in with your prospects sooner by taking control of the buyer’s journey and implementing prescriptive messages that drive priority.
  • Win the Deal - Overcome consensus decision making and beat the deal stall out by driving group consensus around a central pain point and proving you can solve it, now.  

The right strategy combined with effective tools your team can use today will help increase your margins, shortening sales cycles, and growing your revenue.

Learn More About Win the Brain, Win the Journey, Win the Deal.

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