Paulette Greene
Head of Customer Success, SetSail
Table of contents:

We all strive for a fairy-tale quarter or year, with legendary pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what can fairy tales actually teach us about transactional selling? Let’s get a warm cup of tea, settle back in a comfortable chair, and listen to a little story. Once upon a time ...

The Goldilocks Factor

In transactional sales, where your sales cycle is only 60 - 90 days, the mantra is often that ‘more is more’ … more contacts, emails, and calls means closing more deals. But is that actually the case?

We looked at 400+ wins to understand what drives successful outcomes for a high-growth SaaS company selling to a corporate market.

With transactional sales, there may be a middle ground. Think of this as the Goldilocks factor (from “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” fame). Too little wasn’t good. Too much wasn’t good. For Goldilocks, in the middle was “just right”.

Lesson #1: Active contacts matter … to a point.

SetSail signals data showed that each active contact was associated with a 7% increase in win rate, up to 3. Having 3 active contacts meant a 21% increase in win rate. Beyond 3, there were diminishing returns.

Selling wide also had diminishing returns. SetSail signals showed that active contacts from different functions had an 11% increase in win rate per function, but only up to 2.

What does Goldilocks tell us? Invest precious selling time in a way that maximizes productivity … not too little or too much, but just right.

A House of Brick

Sometimes it’s ‘skill’ and sometimes it’s ‘will’ that differentiates top sellers from the rest.

With transactional selling, the focus is on volume and velocity. Yet what are the right activities that you should monitor? Where should you focus your reps?  

“The Three Little Pigs” teaches us that the pig who saved their bacon from the big bad wolf worked hard all day to plan and build a sturdy house of brick. Yup, skill and will.

Lesson #2: Put effort into solid plans.

Although a MAP (Mutual Action Plan) is typically used with enterprise sales, SetSail signals data revealed a 34% increase in win rate when a MAP was part of their corporate sales process. Plus, there was an extra 6% boost in win rate when the MAP was introduced early on (17% into the average sales cycle).

So if you don’t want someone to “huff, and puff, and blow your house down”, invest the time in building a solid MAP that can withstand “even the strongest winds”.

A Fairy Godmother

Every deal needs somebody who has the power to get it done.

In corporate sales, you are often just 1 or 2 steps removed from the economic buyer. Large buying committees are not typically involved as they are with enterprise sales. Who then do you really need on your buying team?

There is a lot to learn from “Cinderella”, where the heroine bravely faced too much work, obstacles at every turn, and objections to every request. Despite endless hard work by Cinderella, when it came down to the wire it took a fairy godmother (with a magic wand, of course) to overcome all the barriers and get her to the ball where she met her Prince Charming.

Lesson #3: You need a VP+ contact.

SetSail signals data showed a 31% increase in win rate when an active contact was at a VP level or higher. There was an additional 10% boost in win rate when the VP+ contact was involved early on (25% into the average sales cycle).

In transactional selling, you need a fairy godmother (i.e. a VP+ contact) to help with obstacles and to push a deal over the finish line.

A Happy Ending

Goldilocks, a house of brick, and a fairy godmother … the key elements to a fairy-tale ending in your transactional sales team story.

The End.

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