In today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Roderick Jefferson, CEO of Roderick Jefferson & Associates. Roderick and Jim go way back, working together at the start of their careers at AT&T. Today, they discussed the continued increase of executive presence on both the buying and selling side of conversations, and the lengthening of payment terms.
Here are the numbers:
- 45% increase of sales leaders joining meetings compared to pre-COVID baseline
- 36% increase of leaders from the buying-side are participating in sales conversations
- Payment terms longer than 30 days have doubled since the beginning of March
- 30 day payment terms have decreased by about 20%
45% increase of sales leaders joining meetings compared to pre-COVID baseline
Chorus is seeing a minimal fluctuation of sales leaders joining meetings, but well above the baseline of pre-COVID levels. This trend implies that revenue teams are still benefiting and seeking the added stability of executive presence in their conversations.
When asked what this data tells implies, Roderick shared what he sees in the field. “What’s changed is that it’s time to show that it's not just the BDR or the AE in the deal, but also the sales leader to the CEO. It’s about saying, ‘You the customer matter to us and I stand behind our value.’ It’s about seeming and being accessible; letting them know that you as a leader are there with them.”
Jim shared a recent quote by Bill Gates who mentioned that business travel will likely not continue in the volume we were used to pre-COVID. “In some ways this is exciting,” Jim said. “Buyers can have more access to sales leaders.”
Both Jim and Roderick agreed that this is a big win for buyers. For sales leaders, it’s a grant to a common wish. “Sales leaders want to clone themselves and be everywhere at once,” said Roderick. “Well be careful what you wish for because here’s your chance. This is the new norm. Let’s figure out how to make it more valuable.”
For sales leaders joining the call, Roderick has this advice: “Explain why you are joining the call. Make sure to let them know that you’re there to support them and provide added credibility.” Not necessarily to spot check them.
If you are a sales leader joining more sales calls, be sure to prepare. “This requires a different level of preparation,” said Roderick. “Make sure it looks like you’re a unified front. You’re here to provide a comfort zone for your prospect, but your sales person should maintain their own credibility. You should be there for support, not the superhero.”
36% increase of leaders from the buying-side are participating in sales conversations
The increase of buying-side leadership joining calls implies that leaders are joining more calls across the board and that there is more pressure on budget, timelines, and value.
It’s clear that the focus is on putting in place new solutions that are of the highest value possible. Budgets are tight so buyers, especially in leadership-levels, must feel that this new solution is moving the needle. “They have to feel one of two things,” said Roderick. “It will either decrease time to revenue or increase productivity. If it doesn’t address one of those two there will be no signature.”
In past Daily Briefings, we have discussed the importance and prominence of empathy. Jim asked Roderick how to recommend teams find the balance of ROI value and empathy in sales conversations.
“What’s equally important,” said Roderick, “Is COI: Cost of Inaction.” Underpinning this idea, is the optimism and realistic view that companies will get through this time, it is a matter of how.
“There are three types of companies I see,” Roderick said, “One: Button down the hatches and stop everything. Two: Move slowly and cautiously. Maybe move forward with investments but not as much as we would have previously. And, three: Let’s move as fast as we can because we want to be prepared when we come out of this.”
Payment terms longer than 30 days have doubled since the beginning of March, and 30 day payment terms have decreased by about 20%
Uncertainty in cash flow is driving conversations about longer payment terms.
“You have to budget and plan for it,” said Roderick. “Budgets are tight. Right now it’s about making sure you’re showing value, that you understand the situation, and find out if there is wiggle room. But if there isn’t, understand it’s not personal.”
Roderick left us with some timeless advice. “No matter what, the best way to sell is not to sell,” he said. “Have conversations, stop giving presentations.”