Control the Sales Cycle with Technology Solution Financing
Top technology sales professionals are experts in the products, services and solutions they sell. They can detail every feature and explain exactly how the benefits meet a prospect’s specific needs. And it’s only after they’ve won over potential new customers’ interest in the technology, that the white elephant topic of payment enters the room.
When the time comes to discuss how to pay for the solution, even the savviest sales professional can be inclined to sit back, giving up control of the sales cycle, and let the customer come up with the answer. Here is where even very promising deals often stall.
But we know that financing is important. In fact, according to a survey by industry analyst IDC, 70% say that the availability of financing impacts their decision of whom to buy from.
The good news is that with a new perspective and some preparation, sales professionals can get ahead of this potential hurdle by coming to the table with a compelling financing solution. Solving a challenge for the customer before they even realize they need the help can keep the focus where you want it – on the value of the technology. Sales professionals that control the entire sales cycle, including helping the customer determine how best to pay, quickly become successful, trusted long-term partners.
Here are three steps to reclaiming this often missing piece of the technology sales cycle:
#1 – Know your Buyers
When selling technology, you naturally seek out the technology decision makers. You speak their language and your products and services are designed for their benefit, but remember you need to appeal to another buyer as well – the company’s financial decision makers. The deal won’t happen without sign-off from these corporate executives. This means that you have a minimum of two different influencers within the same prospect company, each with different needs and motivations.
Unfortunately, you may not have much, or any, direct contact with your prospect’s finance executives to sell yourself, your brand or your product. So make it simple, and come to the table with a well thought out financing strategy that makes it easy for the technology department to communicate to the finance team. Tailoring a payment plan that accommodates the customer’s technology needs takes the buying decision from a large, upfront total cost requirement to a much smaller and more manageable on-going cost-per-month fee. This is attractive to CFOs as it preserves borrowing capacity by eliminating the need to tap into existing lines of credit or seek new bank loans.
#2 – Find the Right Partner
Make sure your financing partner has the experience, resources and flexibility to handle all aspects of financing solutions for your customers. The right financing partner allows you to stay focused on what you do best, rather than spend your valuable time on the complexities and risk associated with customer financing. Backed by a team of field financing experts, credit underwriters and documentation specialists that understand the nuances and technicalities of putting together the ideal structure for each client, you will earn additional credibility and increase the value and reputation of your brand. Select a financing partner that will act as a natural extension of your team and be a “one stop shop” so that you can deliver a complete solution for your customer.
Look for a firm that is independent, flexible, has technology equipment experience, and offers a range of solutions. And perhaps most importantly, make sure that you are aligning with a financing partner that has your best interests, as well as your clients’ best interests in mind. You will be able to validate their integrity by the level of transparency in their documents (there should be no gotchas), and the flexibility of their client-focused policies.
#3 – Think Long Term
There are many financing vendors that can do a deal for you, but it’s key to work with someone with a long-term view. Mutually agreed upon success metrics will help you stay focused on end-goals as you plan for future growth and profitability.
It is important to engage with someone that not only has the flexibility to get a deal done today, but will bring value add capabilities throughout the term of the agreement. For example, a firm that owns the full back end capabilities including asset disposal, data destruction, sanitization, refurbishment and remarketing can be very valuable in the long run. Partnering with an organization that demonstrates strong ethics, provides transparency and offers a complete solution will put you on a path to future success.
The Bottom Line
Being proactive about financing in the sales cycle resolves the “how” question and removes a potential sales speedbump. Not only are you more likely to land more deals and accelerate the sales cycle, but those deals will be bigger, more profitable and are likely to extend for longer periods.
With a good partner on board, your customers will be delighted with your service and the new opportunities that may not have been possible previously. And your company will enjoy a rapidly improved cash flow position, better margins and greater financial flexibility, all without the associated payment risk. It’s a win-win.
For more information on how to provide financing for your customers, contact IFS today.