Shruti Kapoor - Customer Objections; Opportunity NOT Obstacle | Accelerate

Niharika Ayyagari

By 

Niharika Ayyagari

Published 

February 11, 2022

Shruti Kapoor - Customer Objections; Opportunity NOT Obstacle | Accelerate

Accelerate 2021 was a 2-day virtual summit that featured 12 sales leaders and coaches, hailing from the hottest B2B companies. An event that brought together the top minds in sales whom everyone loves.

This is a blog series where we cover the speaker's speeches from Accelerate. Today, we’ll run through Shruti Kapoor's (CEO, Wingman) talk on “Customer objections - opportunity not obstacle”


Summary of the talk

  • In most cases when there's an objection around budget, your loss rate is likely to go up.
  • Find out early on if you are talking to the decision-maker.
  • There's no magic number for the listen-to-talk ratio, but just have to make sure that the person on the other end is engaged.
  • If you get your prospect to talk about the next steps, it's a short sign that they are interested in the buying process.
  • Always share a clear agenda of what will be discussed during a call.
  • The user engagement during the trial period can be a big indicator of whether you'll win the deal or not. Poor experience during the trial period can be a big red flag.

Transcript

David Youngblood

We did it. We're doing it again where we're close to right on time. Waiting a few seconds just got to get everybody brought into the session. Okay, so we're gonna give everybody just another second, I see that the counts coming up. People headcount. Everyone's figured out this cool thing called Airmeet and we're learning it together. So good stuff. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the next session. All right, and okay, so what we'll do is we'll go ahead and get going into it. Thanks so much for the patience. Hello again, everyone. We are joined by Shruti Kapoor CEO of Wingman. She is the founder as well. A little side note, she loves Ironman I hear, is that right? You want everyone to have their own Jarvis.

Shruti Kapoor

Why not.

David Youngblood

Why not, is exactly right. I would love it love to have a Jarvis myself. Um, and then just by way of introduction, a little more background on Shruti here. She's worked across life Sciences Research, investment banking, technology investing, commercialization, product development, and fintech, right, all of that before plunging into entrepreneurship and doing wingman. But she's not all business outside of work. She enjoys podcasts. You like board games, too. Right? What's your favorite board game?

Shruti Kapoor

Puerto Rico

David Youngblood

Puerto Rico, oh, I love that game. I've played it. I've actually played it. My aunt is a huge gamer. We do it around the holidays. And we play Puerto Rico. You're building up you know your little area, right? Yeah. So y'all should check that out. Great gift idea for the holidays that are coming up. Puerto Rico board game. And, and you're joined by your own personal wingman, your five-year-old son, right? Who likes to fly a lot of paper airplanes?

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah, he does. And thankfully, he's not joining me on this call. But he loves joining me on calls when he can.

David Youngblood

Yeah, so if we see a paper airplane fly across the room. That's him saying hello.

Shruti Kapoor

Absolutely.

David Youngblood

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Well, with that, and no further ado, I'll turn it over to you today we're talking about customer objections, opportunities, and obstacles, right. And again, as a reminder, everyone feels free, please do use the chat, Q&A as well for questions. And enjoy. Shruti it's all you.

Shruti Kapoor

Thanks so much, David, and yeah, you know, I would love to hear from everybody who's here today. You know, what's their favorite go-to resource for learning more about sales, you know, whether it's a podcast or book, or website would love to see how I could get better at it myself. So yeah, excited to be here. Thanks so much for having me. And thanks for the lovely introduction, David. So just get started. I know, David has given an introduction. What I would love David is if you could also maybe post a poll just around how people view sales objections, I know you know, it used to freak me out when I was just getting started in sales. I used to look at it and I was so many salespeople say this right? Like when they would hear an objection they would be like yeah, this one's not going to close, and then they would just kind of move on to the next deal in the pipeline. Say I would love to hear how people hear and perceive objections and let's break down some of those with stats and analysis to see how we could all get better at it. Thanks, Rahul. Okay, let's get the party started waiting to hear from all of you. Yeah, and I think as we all are waiting for the poll results, I would absolutely love to hear from everybody here you know, where you're joining from and what is your favorite go-to sales resource? Okay, so here we have the results of the poll. You know, I'm not surprised that a lot of people here got the answer, right. You know, sales objections are actually your friends if you know how to handle them well. And yeah, you know a lot of people here recognize that right your win rate goes up when you encounter a sales objection. So, let's dive right into how to make the most of these objections and how to not be scared of them. Rahul, I think I would need you to take off the poll results, so I could continue presenting. Perfect, so before I dive into the data, let me just tell you a little bit about where this is coming from. And you know, exactly what is the data that you're looking at? So, wingman is a conversation intelligence tool that helps analyze sales conversations across video conferencing tools, dialers, and also your emails. So based on analysis of all of those interactions and correlating that with what is the final deal outcomes, based on, you know, CRM information, we've collated a bunch of interesting results, and I will be presenting a few of those relevant to sales objections. So here we go. This is based on 2 million minutes of sales calls. And yeah, in the end, I'll be sharing, you know, more resources on where you could go and find analytics on, you know, other topics like qualifying questions, etc. As well as an exclusive offer that we've put together, especially for accelerate. So yeah, the first thing here, objections mean seriousness, right? So very often, what happens is, you have this fantastic sales call, at the end of the call, you feel pretty good about yourself, but you never hear back from the customer. And what's going on there, right? What's happening is, you know, the prospect was just being polite. They heard everything that you had to say, maybe they asked a couple of polite questions, but that's about it. You know, somewhere in the back of their mind, they might have been thinking about things like, hey, you know, do I really need to like this. Or maybe they were wondering how they would be able to get budget approvals internally for it, right, but they never voiced any of that. And part of the reason was that maybe you didn't earn enough of that trust for them to kind of take you into confidence and tell you some of their concerns. And that's kind of where we lose deals are very often. So, you know, the next time you hear a customer actually pose an objection. You know, it's a sign of them, trusting you taking you into confidence, and also about them being serious about the purchase process. Hey, Tom, good to see you here. So yeah, what we saw, and I think what a lot of people predicted here was that your win rate actually goes up when there is a sales objection. The first time I encountered this data, it was really, really revealing, if you are working with a customer, they had been having fantastic conversations, and they were not sure, while they had great inbound leads, why they were not able to convert a lot of them. And then we went and looked at, you know, the conversion rate for deals where they had customer objections and conversion rates for deals where they didn't have customer objections. And the difference was stark, right. In that case, it was actually doubled. And that's kind of what got us digging further into this. And so, what we've done today is we've actually gone and looked at different types of objections and how each of those impacts either your win rates or your loss rates. So, let's get into it. So, the second thing that I wanted to share on objections was objections related to budget? Right. So, this is actually a really tricky one. What happens when you have an objection around the budget is that your loss rate goes up significantly. While your win rate actually, you know, doesn't change dramatically. What this means is that when somebody comes in and mentions that, you know, either they don't have the budget, or you know, something is too expensive or out of budget, they're less likely to be sitting on the fence, they're more likely to actually come back and give you a yes or no answer, and very often, you will get a no answer much more quickly in those instances, which you know, all things considered as a good thing, because then you can go and focus on deals where you have a better chance of winning. So, I would say that it's useful to try and bring out this objection early, even if it means that it increases your loss rate because at least, in that case, you can eliminate deals that don't make, you know, they're not going to make it to the finish line.

Shruti Kapoor

So, the third thing here really is around decision-makers. So, decision-makers, you know, all of us know, are important people, we should go and engage with them. But the first thing that you need to do is, of course, during a qualification process, understand who's the decision-maker. And, you know, it's surprising how often that doesn't happen. Because especially in an inbound situation, you know, when a lead is coming in, you assume that the person who has, you know, reached out is in some way involved in the decision. But very often, they might not be the ultimate decision-maker. And so, what's important is to make sure that you discuss who's going to be the decision-maker early in the process. And if you know, you, you hear an objection around the fact that the person you're speaking to is not the decision-maker. It's actually useful because then you can dig further and find out who's the decision-maker? What's a good way to engage with them? How often would they know, like to engage in the sales process in the buying process? And once you have all of that is when you can actually go in and make a strategic plan around that sale. So yeah, make sure you can do the DM. And one of the things that we'd love to do is, today when we analyze our own deals, we are very, very focused on making sure that we know which of the deals are being single-threaded, and which of the deals maybe don't have, you know, senior personal decision-maker involved as part of that conversation. So, you know, that's one thing that you should all go back and look at, in your own deals before the holiday season and make sure you're better prepared for the next round. When the pandemic started last year, we heard a lot of people saying that you know, they were not able to close deals. And very often the reason that they cited was budget, right? Everybody was like, you know, budgets are frozen. nobody's willing to spend money on, you know, new technologies or new services or whatever it is. But when we looked at that data, what surprised me was that you know, the budget wasn't the real objection. The real objection was timing. And even across, you know, cite of the pandemic situation. Timing is an important objection. What happens very often is that, especially if you're used to a short sale cycle, right, so like, in our case, you know, the sales cycle is typically around four weeks, what happens is that when a salesperson hears, that the timing that the buyer is looking to make the decision is maybe three months, six months, they kind of just dismiss the deal and mark it as you know, closed. Last. And that is the reason why so many times when people hear a timing-based objection, they actually think that they're not going to be able to win that deal. But if we look at the data, we see that you know, the win rates actually increase when people come back and mention, you know, something around timing. And what you know, this could mean is that, when I mentioned that, you know, my timing is three months out, or six months out, that means that I've already thought about this purchase, it is already part of a process, maybe I have an implementation program going on, into which I want this to fit in. But what I need from the salesperson really is persistence, and you know, making sure that they're staying in touch, adding value without being annoying. And I think this is something that a lot of salespeople overlook because everybody is working towards their quota for that month. And, you know, sales are a long game, just as Brandon was saying earlier today. And this is really the fifth and last secret or, you know, stat on sales objections, which is that your biggest competitor or what you're going to lose deals to isn't who you think it is right? I think when if anybody sees this, you know what I'm talking about. Most deals are actually lost with the status quo. Again, what is really important is to be able to bring that out. Recently, I read somewhere. And this really, you know, rang true with me was that you can actually take out b and t, from you bant qualification, if you are speaking to the person with authority, and if they have a need for something, you should eventually be able to close a deal with them. And I think when you hear an objection around the status quo, it's really an opportunity to go and think about where you haven't established the need, and how to establish the need. And once you're able to do that, you can actually increase the win rate. What happens very often, when you know, the customer is giving you a polite, oh, this is great, let's stay in touch is that they haven't yet bought into whatever promise that you're selling to them. And therefore, they are going to be happy with the status quo. But, you know, the biggest win is to get them to question the status quo and to make sure that the need is established. Okay, so you know, as salespeople, we always get advice on all the things that we should be doing. So, I thought, as a holiday gift, I would give you all a few things that you don't need to be worrying about, because there's already too much to worry about. Yeah, so the first one here is talked listen to ratio. I'm sure all of us have been told that, hey, you know, you speak too much on your demos, you really, you know, should be asking more questions, or you really should be spending more time building rapport. So here is what the data says, right? We broke up, you know, talk to listen ratios into low TLR, which is what a lot of people would consider desirable when you're talking for less than half the time, and high TLR, where you're talking for more than 65% of the time. And here we go. There's actually pretty much no difference in the win rates across whatever was the talk to listen to ratio. And I think this again, just goes on to show that it's not just about the high-level numbers, right, you really need to be contextualizing your behavior to the situation. Of course, if you just, you know, go on a long monologue for 30 minutes during the demo with no engagement, very likely the person on the other side is sitting in watching squid games and has put you on mute. So, it's important to make sure that the customer is engaged, but there's no magic number on the talk to listen to ratio. The second one is the next steps. And I know, you know, a lot of managers like to manage your next steps. But what I'm really talking about here is the fact that you know, salespeople have gotten better at this. And across all of the calls that we analyzed 91% of the calls, had a discussion around the next steps. But what this means is, you know, one, salespeople are already doing this really well, two, there wasn't a significant difference, you know, in terms of conversion rates were next steps are mentioned or not mentioned. So, if I was a sales manager, I would recommend is don't just, you know, look at absolute hygiene on the next steps, it's probably something that's too basic today. Instead, focus on you know, what type of next steps, when are they discussed? What is the buy-in that people are getting for the next steps? And one thing that we've learned from the data is that if you can actually get your prospect to bring up the next step before you do that, it is a short sign of them being engaged and interested in the buying process. Yeah, and this is the last one. So, this is the one secret that can actually double your win rates. And if you're not already doing this, I would highly, highly, highly recommend you go and start doing this right from today. Setting agenda is easy, it generates fits across all types of different conversations. And it more than doubles your win rate. Now they can be you know; I think anything else that has better ROI than spending those 30 seconds laying it out. And yeah, I've written a few things about why this is my top sales secret. And you know, a good way of actually setting the agenda. But yeah, I would love to hear from folks here on the chat on, you know, what are some of your best sales strategies or your go-to secrets, as well as what is, you know, a way that you like to set agenda for all your calls. And, yeah, the two bonus things that I offered at the start, I've put in, put them in as a QR code. So, in case somebody wants to just scan the link and go hop over to the website, you can see a lot more data, a lot more analytics, on how different things that we do, or don't do in sales interactions affect our win rates. And, yeah, we have a special offer for accelerate audience. So, if you want to go and get stats and analysis on your own sales calls, hop over to this link. And you'll also get a 25% discount, and you sign up for wingman. I'm open to any questions.

David Youngblood

Awesome, thanks, Shruti. Hey, everyone, was what kind of questions you got. For us, we got some free takeaways, some free gimmies. Most importantly, setting the agenda. I love that one. Personally, I do it frequently. It's like how I like second nature start every call. So, it's definitely a great best practice, but good to hear that it's validated by the data that you and your team put together. So, thank you for that.

Shruti Kapoor

Thanks.

David Youngblood

Absolutely. So, what we're gonna do, is we're going to look at some questions. Okay. From our folks out there and, and TV Land. So, one question that we have is, can AI can predict customer objections in the future or future objections?

Shruti Kapoor

Um, well, I would say yes or no. All right. So, it's possible to predict what type of objections a certain category of customers might have. But you probably can't do it for every single customer. Right. So maybe you have customers coming in from a particular marketing campaign. And you can, you know, kind of predict what are some of the common questions or objections across the users that come in from that campaign, but not at an individual level?

David Youngblood

Okay, awesome. Thank you. We also have another comment more so a question in the Q&A section. But, you know, this is a great area to get your comment really highlighted? I guess. So. Richard says, Thanks for the session, Shruti. And I echo that sentiment. So definitely. Thank you, I will mark that one as answered. And then how important are the influencer and users, a question for Manual.

Shruti Kapoor

So, you know, I haven't pulled data on this. But just based on our own experience, what we've seen is that having good engagement with users during say, the trial period of your product offers a trial period can be a very strong indicator of whether or not you'll win the deal, right? Because what that means is, if the users are actually using it, it could reflect a few different things, what is the need for the product is strong, the mandate from, you know, whoever's the decision-maker or their manager that they do want to implement the product is high. And thirdly, when it comes to the decision itself, the users will, you know, give you a positive rating, and they will increase your chance of actually winning the deal. But if the user engagement during the trial period is low, it could be a big, big red flag. On the influencers, it's a little bit harder. Also, because sometimes, you know, who's the influencer, might be determined by, you know, more interpersonal issues, and it's not always so cut and dry. So, I reserved comments on that one.

David Youngblood

Gotcha. Okay. That makes sense. Um, then, someone else asked, could you explain, please explain what you mean by setting agenda? So, I'm curious, you know, what, what's your taking approach to setting the agenda for a sales call?

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah, so, you know, the way I like to do it is and, you know, I kind of even put it down here is to actually let people you know, to basically summarize the fact that we'll be covering, you know, A, B, and C during the call. Are there other things that they would like to include and what we are looking to achieve by the end of the call? And I think that orientation is really, really important because what happens is that otherwise very often, you know, your prospect comes into the call, they might have been pulled into it by someone else, they might not even have the full context. And if there isn't an outcome that you've set as a shared outcome at the start of the call, they'll, you know, just kind of use it as, you know, as a Netflix session, right? Like, they're just going to show up, they're going to listen to you, but they're not really going to engage. But if you set it up in the agenda upfront, saying that, hey, you know, at the end of the call, we want to be able to do A, B, and C, and therefore what we'll cover today is this, this and this, it really changes the tone, and it really changes their engagement.

David Youngblood

You just answered another question. That's been, you know, edging in the back of people's minds is Netflix sponsoring accelerate, you drop the Netflix plug, again, talking about Iron Man, we've made some other references, but just, you know, full disclosure disclaimer for assumed legal purposes. No, they're not. They're not a sponsor of accelerate this year, but we'll be picking up the phone and giving them a call to see about next year for sure. Another point on the agenda-setting surety, I just kind of wanted to share, you know, what's worked for me and our team is, you know, not just setting the agenda there at the beginning, right, where you tell your prospect what you're going to tell them, but also recapping at the end of the call, right? Where it's like, okay, remember today, we said we were going to talk about this, right? And then we're going to lead into that. And for me in the agenda, I would like to plant a seed that we're going to schedule the next steps at the end of this call, right? Pending interest, right? Go ahead and let them know we're gonna be doing it, and then remind them that they said, and agreed that we were going to be doing it, and then we actually do it at the end. So that's just my two cents on some best practices there.

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah, makes sense.

David Youngblood

Excellent. So hopefully that answers that question. And then, let's see, we've got one or two others. Let's see, what do I say, to get the decision-maker when I clearly know that I'm not speaking with the decision-maker? Thank you, Salva. That's a good one.

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah, one thing that I've found useful here is to just kind of upfront ask, right? Like, what does your typical decision-making process look like? Or one way to do it is to maybe ask, what was the last tool in the space that you all purchased? And how did that purchase process look like? Right? So that you're kind of just getting them to not be confrontational about it or not, like, you know, undermining somebody. But you're just saying that you want to be better informed, right. And once you have that information, then you can be, you know, kind of encourage them to invite that person for the next conversation or for the demo. And you can even use that as an opportunity to say, you know, at what stage, do you think they should be involved? You'll have a much better sense of what that buying process is going to entail. And so you're not going to be surprised at the end of it.

David Youngblood

Excellent. Yeah. No, I completely agree. And I think one of my biggest takeaways from what you shared was, you know, being mindful of who you're speaking with, right? While trying to do your best to get access to others in the buying committee, for that target account organization, without offending them or undermining them, or belittling them. Right. And so that's one thing to be mindful of when we're talking to two people, human beings, there are egos they get in the way, sometimes, but to your point, right, asking what your historical buying process has been like, as an organization, and you've been a part of an evaluation cycle before, right, kind of pick their brain, and then, you know, kind of play them up to the ego, right, in addition to you, who else would be important for us to involve in the next conversation? Right. So that way, you're, you're, you're inclusive, and you're invited into the conversation as well.

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah, in addition, it was an important phrase.

David Youngblood

Yeah, okay. Yeah, you like it. Okay. You can use it. I'll let you. And then we have, let's see. Another answer here. I'm sorry. Another question here. Interactivity, engaging questions in hindsight, we may conclude these factors influenced the closure, but how strong is this correlation or relation?

Shruti Kapoor

Yeah. So, you know, what we've seen is this can vary significantly, you know, across companies, right. Broadly speaking, I wouldn't say that people should aspire for a magic number. They should really look at it being, you know, an interactive and engaging kind of discussion, right. So there isn't like a, you know, very often people come and ask Universal guideline, you know, is like, you know, nine on ten on interactivity the gold standard that I should look for is, you know, 40% on talk to listen ratio, you know, is that going to, you know, be the game-changer. But a lot of that really depends on the context, some products are more complex, and you know, your demos are going to be much more one-sided, right, some sales cycles have much more multi-threading, and you have many more buyers that you need to deal with. And there, you're probably going to naturally have more interactivity and a lower talk to listen ratio. So, it's, it's going to be very, very dependent on your own specific context. So, I would say, try and look at the stats of the best performers within your team. And then try to use those as you know, benchmarks to aim for.

David Youngblood

Excellent, that's awesome. I'm sure that the questions will keep coming, and we could probably talk to you all day. But we've unfortunately got a lot of other great, fortunately, and unfortunately, a lot of other great content, great speakers to get to as well. So, what we would like to do is extend a little bit of an extended break for everyone maybe want to grab a quick bite, snack, you know or other, but more importantly, feel free to share your thoughts on this session. Feel free to tag Shruti and Wingman as well hope, you don't mind me saying so Shruti, with accelerate 2021, LinkedIn, Twitter, any and all of them right. So, get the word out, spread the good word. Do appreciate it. And what we'll be doing is we're going to go from here to the lounge and we are also going to be opening the booths as well for those of you that might want to you know, hang out and have some questions about the event about our play or about the weather, whatever, whatever floats for you. But with that Shruti, thank you so much again truly amazing. And you all will want to be here shortly as to when we come back. We will be speaking with Alina Nicolas Vandenberghe from Chili Piper. So, talk to you soon. Thanks again Shruti.

Shruti Kapoor

Thanks for having me. Bye, everyone.


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