Dear SaaStr: How Do I Create Urgency in Sales. When There Really Isn’t Any?

Creating urgency is an art.

Most founders are great “middlers”. They are great at explaining not just what the product does, but what it can do to solve your problems. No one is better than a founder at this.

And then … the deal often never quite closes. The prospect got interested, took the call and the meeting, but … didn’t ask for a contract. Or sign up herself.

What a great sales pro will learn is how the heck to add thoughtful urgency to a sales process. When really, almost any SaaS purchase can be put off a month or two.

It’s not easy. But the tricks include:

  • Discounting. Easy to do wrong, but done just right, creates urgency. Done wrong, it just devalues the product and/or leaves you with less revenue than you’d otherwise have.  Or even slows down the deal, if it looks like desperation or a used car salesperson’s attempt to create urgency.
  • Asking. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  But this only works if you’ve truly added value to the prospect during their discovery and trial process.
  • Always Getting a Next Step on the Books.  This works wonders.  The best in sales always get some sort of next step on the books after they end every call.  Another demo.  A convo about a pilot.  A discussion with other stakeholders.  A follow-up call.  Something.
  • Asking — After Having Provided a Ton of Value. The prior point. 🙂 If you have helped your prospect plan, upgrade, and even pilot an important and valuable change to their business process, they you have added value. Ask for a favor back after (“Can we get it signed this month? It would help me a lot.”). It often works.
  • Getting Used to No. Sales is hard. You get a lot of Nos.
  • Talking to More / Other Stakeholders. The person that inbounds is often not the only stakeholder in a buying decision. The more you talk to, the higher the chance the deal has to close, usually.
  • Constant Follow-Up — without crossing the line of being annoying. Great sales reps know to touch base as often as possible once a deal is in flight. But not so often to break the deal. This is an art. And founders aren’t very good at it. One key is to keep adding value during each touchpoint.
  • Knowing The Competition Cold. The better you know the competition’s products, the better you can clearly show a prospect where you win. And be honest about where you merely have parity, or even gaps.
  • Getting on a Jet. Showing up in person always increases the odds a deal closes.
  • Understanding the Customer’s Timeline for Roll Out / Deployment, and Backing The Purchase Into It.  If they want to roll your product out in 3 months?  Then help them understand they need to buy now, to be ready.  Mapping against a roll-out schedule can often show a prospect they need to actually buy a little sooner than they’d realized.

Most founders sort of get a B- at demand gen. Somehow, they create interest and leads. Then they are an A/A+ at the middle of the sales process (demos, qualification). Then a C- at closing.

You need help. You need a dedicated professional. But — only someone better than you at this. For real.

And when you hire a great VP of Sales, they’ll spend a ton of time here.  Getting good at it themselves, and helping the team.  And you’ll watch close rates go up, and sales cycles shorten.  At least a bit in both cases.  Almost like magic.

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