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How do you approach shortening a customer’s timeline?

This has always been a hard one for me.


In my industry it’s less about if their is budget for the solution and more of if the customer has the bandwidth to take on project

👑 Sales Strategy
6
Rupert_Pupkin
Contributor
+2
Account Executive
If you've never read "Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play", I highly recommend it. Unlike a lot of sales books it focuses on the "how" to do things like build champions, etc... rather than just "building champions is important" (no shit).

On this point specifically, it points to 5 questions that you can use to understand the issue and walk them into getting it done now vs. later:

1. How do you measure it?
2. What is it now?
3. What would you like it to be?
4. What's the value of that difference?
5. What is the value over time?

Example for email service provider:
1. How do you measure it? Revenue per email (RPE) is our key metric
2. What is it now? 3 cents
3. What would you like it to be? 7 cents
4. What's the value of that difference? 4 cents/email x 30mil emails/year = $1.2mil
5. What is the value over time? 3 years = $3.6mil

"So if I'm hearing you correctly, it sounds like if we push this off two quarters to wait for bandwidth, the business would me losing out on about $600k worth of revenue. The contract value is $75k for the year. Should we talk about a services package for $25k to help you get started with limited bandwidth?"

Hope that helps, but definitely pick up the book.
Soiboi
Politicker
+5
Account Executive, EIAS/Compliance
Clean, I like it. I'd have to quantify human labor hours for mine... which no one ever seems to know hah... well typically anyway. 
Rupert_Pupkin
Contributor
+2
Account Executive
Definitely tougher to quantify when it's not directly revenue generating! I've done it in the past where I've come up with a couple models based on what I knew in the industry (salaries, etc...) and had an example ready. Or if you have a customer that does measure it, ask if they're willing to share anonymously and use it as a proof point on calls. If nothing else it might make them think about WHY they don't measure it today.
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Soiboi
Politicker
+5
Account Executive, EIAS/Compliance
I have a good example of this. I was working with a prospect who said they needed something in place by EOY. Really all we did was focus on their timeline so december and then drive into how bad their current situation is, months for finding stuff whereras it could be minutes for us. I got a call from them stating they have to move ASAP now because what their doing is way too expensive so we got to move their Dec  to June or JUly at latest all organically without pushing a time on then. LMK 

This deal is 425,000 ARR so just goes to show you can make anyone move fast. 
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
I walk through reverse timelines on all of my larger deals. 

when does this need to be live? What works need to be done for it to go live? And so on.

asking these questions has made customers realize the project needs to be purchased in Q3 in order to implement on time. + it makes forecasting easier on your end even if it doesn’t move the needle forward. 
Sa
SaasyValue
Strategic Account Executive
I agree with @Dadfather here. I've had several deals close earlier than originally anticipated simply by walking through what "launching in January" actually means from a process standpoint, including having contracts completed as early as August in some cases (depending on team size and bandwidth). 

IF there is fear around lack of bandwidth, that's a great time to have the services conversation and help expedite their time to launch. Alternatively, position the initial launch as a pilot and push for them to "pilot" it early with full launch at the beginning of the year, etc. 
wHaTyAgOtCoOkInG
Catalyst
+4
Account Executive
If you do the discovery right and can quantify pain, you can calculate potential delays
MardukOfSales
Good Citizen
District Manager
In my experience you can't move it too far, but if it's a month out, you might be able to get it closer by a week.  If it's several months out, you might be able to get it closer by a month.  Find out when their timeline is, and then if you have an incentive you can dangle to get it done a little sooner you might get them to move up.  If they're months out and you drop an incentive that's going to expire in a couple weeks, you're only going to piss them off.
Toruk
Old School Bravo
+1
CEO
Sell top-down. A CXO level sponsor can allocate budget, change time-lines and priorities at will. Equip this sponsor with cost of pain and cost of status quo. 
goose
Politicker
+11
Sales Executive
You don't shorten their timeline, you delay your sales process until they are ready.
6
AE’s - Try your best to identify all the ‘key decision makers’ early in the process. You might feel that it’s necessary to wait or to be delicate in how you ask for other people’s involvement – but don’t
Advice
10
9
Customer: "I have no budget at the moment"
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17
How you handling this?
+40
TheRealTommyCallahan ,   GDO ,   Brando   and 40 people voted
4
Working with implementation and customer success
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5