How to Pass on a Sales Technology Vendor Like a Professional
10 Ways to Provide Value to Sales Technology Vendors…Even When They Don't Win the Deal
Not every sales technology vendor is the perfect fit for your company. You’ll also be researching multiple tech sales vendors in the same space to find the new technology you want to bring into your strategy. What does this mean? You’re going to engage with technologies that don’t end up winning your business. Here’s the right way to let them know you won’t be furthering your business relationship.
The Professional Way to Let Sales Technology Professionals Know Their Solution Hasn't Been Picked
- Thank the Person or Team Involved
This might seem like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget to do this! Building relationships takes time and effort. When you’re considering a sales tech vendor, there’s a lot of time and effort that go into that relationship.
A sincere, genuine thank-you can go a long way. It lets the sales rep know you understand and appreciate all the effort that went into cultivating the deal up to that point.
Mutual Respect Leaves the Door Open for Future Collaborations
Thanking someone is common courtesy, but it also leaves the relationship on a positive note. If your situation evolves and that solution becomes viable, you still have someone in your corner who can help facilitate the adoption of the sales tool.
- Communicate the News Directly to Your Point of Contact or Sales Team
Nobody likes giving or receiving bad business news. Still, the best way to approach the situation is with honesty and directness.
Don’t avoid the situation by conveying the news to somebody else in the team, who then has to relay it to your point of contact. Reach out directly to the people you’ve been developing the business relationships with, and let them know your decision.
Communication skills are critical in business. In all situations, lead with honesty. The companies you’ve been in talks with will appreciate the candor.
- Explain Your Reasoning to the Tech Sales Rep
If you’re telling the sales reps they didn’t win the contract, let them know why. A career in tech sales is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by shrouding your decision in mystery!
Pinpoint what hurdles, challenges, or barriers you were experiencing with the prospective tech companies. Then let them know!
If you have solutions for how they can overcome those barriers, let them know this as well. Even if their product and skills aren’t the right fit for you and your company now, maybe they will be in the future.
Plus, if you had the issue, chances are others will too. It would be helpful to know how to solve problems when dealing with subsequent companies.
- Identify Other Ways to Partner or Team Up
This isn’t always viable for every vendor and every business, but sometimes there are opportunities for you and the technology sales business to engage creatively. Even if you can’t use that particular solution or their skills in your company today, a collaboration could still be possible.
Creative Ways to Partner with a Technology Vendor
Depending on your business structure, the technology sales company could contribute in any of the following ways:
Lend their tech expertise for blogs.
Provide insight on a webinar, panel, or other event.
Translate their skills, strengths, and products to another company you know.
- IdentifyMaintain a Professional Attitude and Tone When Informing the Technology Sales Company
Sure, people in sales positions are used to being told no. It’s part of the job. Technology sales representatives don’t expect all prospects to convert into customers.
Here’s what tech sales reps do expect: potential customers will treat them with respect at every point in the business process. This very much includes the final stage, whether the answer is a resounding yes or a no, thanks.
Just because you’re not incorporating their technology into your overarching business strategy doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be civil, polite, and professional in all your dealings.
Being professional is one of the most vital skills. Cultivate it!
- Never Say Price Was the Only Factor in Your Decision Not to Become New Customers
There are two big reasons to avoid the “it’s all about the money” line.
One, it’s probably not even truthful. Maybe price was one crucial factor in your decision, but there was likely a list of supporting reasons the tools weren’t right for your business. (As point #3 explains, make sure the tech sales representative knows these reasons. It’ll provide genuine value by making their job easier with future potential customers.)
Two, saying money is your only hesitation encourages negotiation. Many tech sales professionals will see how they can lower cost, offer discounts, or otherwise sweeten the deal to get you to sign. If your hesitance was actually based on factors other than price, this just creates a strained animosity between you and the technology sales team.
- Maintain Respect by Being Honest and Direct
Over the course of your job, you’ll deal with lots of people trying to sell you something. Maybe it’s people in tech software sales; maybe it’s something else entirely for your business. Whatever the product, engaging with these individuals in sales inevitably means you’ll have to turn some of them away.
Whether you’ve had one touch point or a hundred with these technology salespeople, don’t beat around the bush. Be direct. Be professional. Be honest.
Failing to do so offers no value to those technology salespeople. It doesn’t give them anything concrete and useful to take into their next deal.
Being direct can feel blunt, but it’s a way to maintain professional respect throughout the sales process.
- Detail What Value They Provided to You
It’s equally important to let technology sales representatives know what went right in the sales cycle as what went wrong.
This will potentially help them succeed with subsequent sales and improve in their job. Providing this kind of feedback and value is helpful for that technology sales professional moving forward.
Valuable Feedback for a Technology Sales Professional
Let the technology sales professionals know the following:
What sales skills were particularly effective.
Where they aligned to your needs as the buying party.
What requirements you had that they met.
How they were able to connect meaningfully with you.
Remember, don’t provide what you found valuable in the tech product. Communicate what the sales individual did that was effective, convincing, and persuasive.
- Detail What Value They Provided to You
Everybody likes to buy; nobody likes to be sold. This adage is well known in the sales and marketing world, and it speaks to a growing trend in the sales arena.
How to Sell in a VUCA Landscape
Buyers and sellers today are navigating a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) landscape. In this increasingly challenging sales environment, buyers look to overcome those difficulties with genuine value. A customer-centric framework means the primary job of the sales professional is to solve their prospects’ problems and to provide relevant, engaging, valuable information.
Anyone not adding this value-based mindset to their skills is destined to see diminishing results with prospects.
By showing the tech sales professional how to be more educational and informative throughout the selling process, you’re setting that person up to succeed in today’s selling landscape. You’re helping that person down a path that leads to everything from a bigger base salary to increased variable compensation to more satisfaction in day-to-day selling.
You’re establishing you, your skills, and your company as valuable assets to that individual. Since you’ve proven your value, this potentially facilitates collaboration opportunities.
- Leave Your Relationship with the Technology Sales Professional Open to Other Possibilities
You’ve been interacting with this sales professional in the tech industry about a specific tech sales product.
Done the research.
Compared its functionality to your existing capabilities.
Assessed the tech sales product based on your company’s most pressing goals and objectives.
Audited your stakeholders to see what next steps they want.
Essentially, you’ve vetted this tool against your strategic sales tech ecosystem.
After all that research and effort, you’ve determined the tech sales tool is just not the right fit.
That doesn’t mean you have to immediately and permanently abandon the relationship you cultivated with that technology professional. Be honest and clear about not moving forward with that specific tech sales tool, but leave the door open to entertain other products or services they offer (now or in the future).
Business Is Evolving…Always
In business, nothing is static. (At least, it shouldn’t be!) If you’re looking to maximize revenue and to prioritize growth, your goal should always be to scale. Get yourself to a place where you’re financially able to evolve your business to the next step.
Once you take that jump, you’ll very likely have to reassess every tool and technology you’re currently using. This helps ensure you’re still being maximally effective, efficient, and productive.
With that reassessment, the solution you were considering with the technology professional might suddenly be the right fit for your organization.
Unless you’re certain your business is never going to change or to adapt, don’t ever close a door today you might want to open tomorrow.
When it’s the right business decision to pass on a given technology, it’s a difficult line to navigate. You can’t say yes to everyone, but there is a way to say no that still supports the important customer and salesperson relationship you’ve cultivated.
Have any questions about how to deal with this tricky aspect of running an organization? Reach out today. We’re happy to connect, to answer questions, and to provide insight about the exact steps we follow every time one of our clients doesn’t go with a given vendor.