Opinions vs Reality: “I need to think about it”
Devin Reed: Welcome to the show. You are now part of Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast, powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed...
Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions. It's an unfiltered view of your customer reality. In other words, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.
Devin Reed: Made up of three success pillars, people success, deal success, and strategy success. You know, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week we interview senior revenue professionals and they share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.
Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight, and execute their strategic initiatives. Plus all the challenges that come along with it. I'm here, not only with Devin, but also with Brian and Bill from The Advanced Selling Podcast. If you missed our last episode, what we did was share a bit of opinions versus reality. So this has been a tag team series with The Advanced Selling Podcast and Reveal. We'll talk about the opinions and what we think about a certain topic related to sales on Bill and Brian's podcast. And then on our episode, we actually share the facts and the data, what's actually true. So today, we're going to talk about an interesting topic. I think it's probably near and dear to a lot of sales folks hearts because they've heard this all the time. It's that moment when you are talking to a customer and you hear, I need to think about it. I'm sure your gut just dropped right now and you felt sick to your stomach. And I think that's what a lot of people feel. That's what we were talking about last time.
Brian: Mine did. And I'm not even in the sales process, I don't think, right now. And just, still, just the words, like a...
Sheena Badani: So just to recap, we'd love to hear from the two of you on your quick opinions on, what do you think that means for a deal if you get that, I need to think about it, from the prospect? Bill, why don't we start with you? What impact do you think that has on the deal overall?
Bill: Yeah. My first instinct, having been in sales for hundreds of years, is that I've heard that so frequently that, like Brian said, it kind of makes my stomach turn, my skin crawl. And I probably get defensive about it, even though it may be a legitimate objection and a legitimate resistance. So I'm sure whatever, however I'm answering that, probably has more to do with me and my traumas in life than it does about this. But I would say that whenever a sales person gets that, it probably reduces the likelihood of them closing the sale. So my answer is a reduction in close.
Brian: My opinion is quite similar, although I've only been in sales for 80 years, not 100. It's a gut punch. I get a little angry and pissy with the buyer first, then I get mad at myself, and then I think it's always a bad thing. I think it's never good if someone says, I need to think it over.
Sheena Badani: Fair.
Bill: You don't run to your boss and say, man, guess what? I think we're going to get it. crosstalk.
Brian: Yeah, I think we're good. He said he's got to think a little bit, and I think we're good to go. He was nodding. He had the buy- in signals the whole time. crosstalk.
Sheena Badani: So Dev, why don't you jump in? And what did the data actually tell us?
Devin Reed: It was very surprising. So we looked into this because I was somewhere with our CRO, and he leans over and he's like, that would be a really good thing for Gong Labs to look into, is that objection, I need to think about it. And so I did. And I was with Bill and Brian and I was like, this is going to be a open, shut case. It's going to be super clear. And that is not the case. That is not the case. In fact, the win rates actually go up just a bit. Just a bit. But here's what I would say. It's so small and nominal, that I wouldn't try to hunt it out. Like you said, I wouldn't try to say things to get them to want to think about it, but the takeaway was it doesn't decline. I was expecting a very binary clear drop in win rates, and that's not what happened. And so I got the first wave of reporting and I was like, okay, there's got to be something else. It can't just be a neutral thing. It feels too much of a gut punch for that to be the case. And so what we then looked at was sales cycle duration. And that's where the big negative impact comes in, because deals are 173% longer when that objection is mentioned. And the reason why is what happens is the buyer says the objection, and sellers typically say something through... Okay. I'll email you later. I'll call you back and we'll figure it out. Like, you go think about it. I'll get back to you. And when it's solved, we'll keep moving forward. And what we saw is the time between the objection being said in the next meeting, that's said in the next meeting, it's 55% longer when that objection is said. So instead of setting a concrete next step, buyers go, okay, you go do your thing. You think about it. And then they get into chase mode. And so that's the real thing to look out for is... I mean, obviously we can talk for a second on how to handle the objection. But the big thing is don't take the deal out of your forecast. Don't kill it. But really be mindful of how you follow up to that objection so your deal stays on track.
Bill: Is it possible, Devin, that the... you're saying that the deal lengthened by a hundred and some percent when that objection occurred. Is it possible that it was a self- selecting dataset where those deals are longer anyway? Like, if it's a quick sale, one call close, is it different than if it's like a six month long selling cycle with a lot of people? Or can you make that connection from that data? Probably not. I don't know.
Devin Reed: The data scientists are much smarter than me, and they make sure to normalize that data so it's not... if it's an average, we also make sure the groups we look at aren't... we don't put two week sales cycles in with like, a year long sales cycle. So these sales cycles are usually in around like, 30 days to six months. So still a good variety, but we do normalize it to make sure that it's relative.
Brian: You're starting to sound like a data scientist, Dev. I mean, I'm impressed. Very impressed.
Devin Reed: I'm really good at mimicking what I hear. Yeah.
Bill: He just throws the word normalize around quite frequently crosstalk at dinners at home.
Brian: It's a gift. We normalize the dataset. Can I ask you a question about this? This was interesting, that 173% longer is really long. Again, I'm not a data scientist, but that's almost twice as long.
Bill: That's three times. It's almost three times. 100% longer would be twice.
Brian: Twice. Yeah. So that to me is the telling problem in this objection. Which is, what can... now to your, how to handle. What can the sales person do to make sure that this objection does not skew down. And that is concrete next step, it sounds like. And shrinking the cycle, right? Dictating the calendar, so to speak.
Devin Reed: Yeah. So on your podcast, when we were talking about the opinion side, I mentioned that it happens in two specific places. Middle of the funnel, which is evaluation and presentation mode. And then a secondary, slightly smaller spike during decision- making time. So closing calls. And Sheena was spot on when she was like, well, as a buyer, I actually have something to think about. The difference is, in the middle of an evaluation, people actually need to think through things. They might need to think of who else needs to be involved. How do I buy this type of software for the first time? Gong's growing like crazy. Our procurement process changes every six months. So we genuinely need to think about it. I usually go call Sheena. She's usually involved. And we have to figure it out. So there's a big difference there in how you handle it. And so the key is, there's an unspoken objection. Sheena, that's what you're kind of talking about. And something I don't know that I have to solve. So it's not like, hey, I need time to go solve two plus two, give me a couple of days. It's I need to go figure out what the equation is that I'm even solving, and then I need to solve it. And I think that's where salespeople end up chasing, because they put a lot of that on the buyer to go solve. And then they expect, I'll just follow up in two weeks. Sheena will get it figured out. And we'll be right back on my sales process.
Bill: That's why it's 300%. It seems like the lesson here for all of us though, is not, well, that's just the way buyers are today. That's not the lesson. The lesson is how can you help the buyer or your prospect so that you don't get this answer. Because you really still don't want this. You don't want this because it's tripling the length of your sales cycle. So this is not good from a turnover. That's people staying at the restaurant for four hours. We can't turn the tables. And so I think even though it has no negligible effect, other than it lengthens the sales cycle, I still think we need to figure out ways that it won't happen.
Sheena Badani: The other thing that I'll say about the, how can sales folks help the buyers? Buyers don't know how much sales folks can actually help them. They don't always know that they can be providing documentation or examples of how prior customers have done this or a best practices or reference calls. Buyers don't know all the breadth of all these different things that are available. So be helpful. Don't assume that the buyers going to come and ask you for the thing that they need.
Bill: Absolutely. They don't know. They don't know.
Sheena Badani: They don't know.
Sheena Badani: They don't know.
Brian: That's the part of this episode that I'd listen to on a loop. If I were a salesperson, what you just said, Sheena, is brilliant. And I think salespeople just think, okay, I'll just wait. Even if they set the next date, they just sit there and wait and go, yeah, I've got a closing call with Sheena on Friday, the 28th. And you do nothing in between to help Sheena. And she knew buy mostly, we talked about last episode, right? More than sale. And so there's a great lesson from someone who buys a lot of stuff. I'm guessing.
Devin Reed: That's my advice, right? Is get that unspoken objection. Hey, Sheena, to help me make sense, what exactly are you unsure about? Maybe I can help. And she might need time to say, well, let me think for a second. What exactly... let me verbalize it. Set a time. Hey, would it make sense for us in five days to set a meeting and just talk about that? Here's some documentation in the meantime, right? So help her educate herself, give her what she needs. And any other buyer. And then put time on the calendar quickly, just to talk about that objection.
Sheena Badani: I think that's how you shift from being a sales professional to a strategic advisor and someone who can guide.
Devin Reed: For the folks listening, we put something together. Because the last person I want to hear this from, I need to think about it, is a CFO. If you get to a CFO and you miss the mark or they have an unspoken objection, that's not what you want to hear. So what we're going to do is put this in the show notes. We created a CFO letter template. It's a fill- in- the- blanks template. Download this thing. You fill in the blanks with your buyers. And then you send it to their CFO or present it to their CFO. And I actually created it with our CFO. So I went to him and I said, how do you make decisions? Why do you say yes? Why do you say no? And he helped me outline this whole thing. So it's literally, I think there's like, five blanks. Fill this thing out. It is our second most downloaded piece of content, like 12,000 sales pros have already used this thing. So go ahead and take a look. It is in the show notes. Download it, share it with your friends in revenue, and go close some deals. We're going to be back next week on The Advanced Selling Podcast to look at another opinion, which will be, should you use slides in your discovery calls? Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.
Sheena Badani: And if you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.
Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.
“I need to think about it.” is the objection that makes every salesperson's skin crawl. But is it really the reason your deal didn’t close? On Opinions vs Reality, Bryan and Bill from the Advanced Selling Podcast join us to discuss how to overcome this all-to-common objection. Learn how to handle objections and overcome any potential roadblock your seller might have. (Spoiler: It’s time to shift from sales to strategic advisor.)
Objection handling techniques: https://gongh.it/objection-handling-techniques-gong-asp
If you missed the Opinions portion of this podcast (aka the first half of the episode), you can listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/95cifrB2