Keeping deals in motion
At PandaDoc, we’re fairly obsessed with efficiency (okay, very obsessed). We could write endless posts, essays, or even novels about how to use PandaDoc to generate documents quickly and easily… but the process of closing a deal involves more than just creating and sending documents.
To sustain interest throughout the sales cycle and push deals through in a timely fashion, you need to maintain momentum. Since it takes much less effort to maintain momentum than it does to rebuild it, we’re going to focus on that (because, efficiency).
Momentum is a physics term that refers to the quantity of motion that an object has. According to Newton’s second law of motion, “the rate of change in momentum is equal to the instantaneous force acting on it.” Quick disclaimer: I am not technically a physicist; however, I did get an A in high school physics.
In sales terms, the object in question is your next deal and the “instantaneous force acting on it” is… you! So how do you keep a deal in motion? Here are a few best practices for maintaining momentum in sales:
Always have your next step laid out
If you’re in sales, you know the importance of scheduling your next meeting while you have your customer on the line. If you don’t get a commitment right then and there, the chances of your timeline getting extended or the conversation fizzling out entirely increase dramatically.
Just like scheduling your next call while on the phone, always schedule your next step before closing out a conversation. Leaving the next step up to your prospects is leaving a lot up to chance; whereas outlining a mutually agreed-upon action plan and timeline creates accountability on both sides and a clear path forward.
Not sure how to move forward? Ask what the decision-making process is like on their side and recommend appropriate next steps from there:
Remember, no matter how good you feel about it, it’s not a done deal until it’s actually signed and done.
Be an enabler
Now that you understand your customer’s side of the process, think about what they’re doing and how you can position yourself as an extension of their team.
Are they presenting to their decision-makers? Send over a solution overview to recap the pain points you discussed and state why your product is a perfect fit for their needs.
Not only are you making your champion’s job easier, you’re ensuring that your brand is well represented and that nothing is getting “lost in translation.”
Send your “helper” materials to your champion using PandaDoc so you have access to recipient analytics (see who has viewed or downloaded it, which pages they looked at, how much time they spent on it, etc.)
Be sure to enable document forwarding so your champion can send it around their organization. If your PandaDoc is forwarded to another person, you’ll get a notification and be able to see their email and recipient analytics as well.
When sending a proposal or contract, make sure you also enable signature forwarding as well. If it turns out that your contact is not the decision-maker or they just need someone else to sign it, they can quickly forward and reassign all their signature fields to another person. No revisions or back-and-forth messages necessary!
Cut down on response time
Simply put, the longer it takes for you to respond, the longer the entire process becomes. The effect of this slowdown is often compounded by a consequent deceleration of your communication cadence.
Since we’re all operating with busy schedules, and frequently across different time zones, even a small delay on your end could cause a much larger delay on your recipient’s end. If you miss your window of opportunity, you might fall from being top-of-mind to being buried in a list of to-dos.
Besides considering time zones when you plan out your day, you can minimize response times by using PandaDoc notifications. Instead of frantically checking your PandaDoc dashboard for fear of missing that golden window opportunity, head to your settings and enable notifications to get an automated email anytime a recipient interacts with one of your documents.
To make your turn-around time even quicker, anticipate objections or common questions and prepare in advance. Keep your content library stocked with ready-to-send collateral like competitor comparison “battle cards.”
If your customer requests a change or you’re going back and forth in negotiations, you can show off by editing and resending the doc within minutes. Any customers still using Word documents, converting them into PDFs, uploading them into eSignature platforms and then sending (poor them!) will be blown away.
If you’re responding quickly to all inquiries, providing all the answers and collateral anyone could possibly need, and the deal is still not getting any closer to closed/won, it’s time to create some urgency.
Start by setting a document expiration date. Creating a timeline for execution helps you keep deals from dragging out (don’t worry, you can always move the document expiration date if needed).
Besides pricing promotions and the usual end of the month/quarter/year push (there are quotas to hit, okay!?), think of factors that might create urgency on the customer side. If you can make it about their timeline and goals, not just yours, it’s a win-win.
Don’t panic. At least, that’s the advice I was given on a recent trip to Eastern Europe when I had to drive a manual car for the first time in… a long time. Sometimes you just need to shift gears and re-engage
the clutch the customer.
Start by sending a document reminder or a comment. If you read the post “Create proposals that stand out & get signed,” you’ll know that reminders (and comments) increase your chance of closing by 30%.
What’s the difference? Reminders are impersonal, generic reminder emails written by us and comments are written by you. We generally recommend using comments because you can customize the message but sometimes it’s nice to use an automated-looking one. Like sending a Venmo reminder instead of texting someone to please pay you back for the concert tickets you spotted them for last month.
There are a lot of ways to start the conversation back up that aren’t “remember me?” If you’re not sure how to re-engage a customer, a good default is to go for a rapport builder or a value-add. A quick scan of LinkedIn or a Google Alert can tip you off to something interesting happening in the industry, an exciting milestone for their business, a recent promotion… you get the idea.
Or you can send them an update from your end: a new feature release, a best practices article, or a new case study. Remember, you have stiff competition for their attention so make your messages noteworthy.
Pro Tip: use PandaDoc link sharing to copy/paste a link to the document into your follow up note.
That’s it, folks. Hopefully these tips, combined with PandaDoc’s analytics, auto-expiration, reminders, etc. help you perfect your follow-up timing, create urgency, and keep that momentum going until the deal is done.