RevTalks, Episode 6: Shifting the end of quarter mindset


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This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Cameron Schuette: In our previous two episodes, I talked to Mark about his role at CRO and his recommendations for winning over buyers. Today, I want to shift our focus to one of the most chaotic times for sales, the end of the quarter. Mark, what are the biggest mistakes you see sellers making in that final push?

Cameron Schuette: Mark, what are the biggest mistakes sellers make at the end of the quarter?

Mark Niemiec: The end of the quarter has been the same for me for 25 years. The last two days always seem to be hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. This happens because we usually enter the end of the quarter without our best deals lined up. We haven't figured out how to get our customers to the point where they're ready to make the buying decisions we've forecasted. The best thing you can do is set expectations properly by understanding your strongest deals and investing your resources in them. Know the business case your customer is looking for, the outcome they want, and have a plan for their success. Ensure you're aligned with the right buyers and have the right coaches and champions in the account, all geared towards your timeline.

Cameron Schuette: What should sellers do to shift their mindset from panic to confidence as the end of the quarter approaches?

Mark Niemiec: Some of the best salespeople look and feel more like project managers than salespeople. Gartner tells us 86 percent of buying decisions are made before the close, meaning a lot of the selling is done by that point. The best salespeople set the vision, hold people accountable, and execute against the agreed-upon plan, sometimes even with the customer. Those who create a plan around executing their deal with the customer tend to be more successful. They have control, agreement on next steps, and alignment with the customer's timeline, and they navigate through challenging negotiations smoothly.

Cameron Schuette: Can you share a memorable end-of-quarter moment?

Mark Niemiec: One that stands out is a 24-hour negotiation. It was a big deal, and folks sat around the table for 24 hours to work through the transaction. We only succeeded when we found out where we were willing to walk away. When we did, the customer realized they had taken us as far as they could and were ready to close the deal.

Cameron Schuette: Is there power in walking away from a deal at the end of the quarter?

Mark Niemiec: There's a lot of power in walking away at any time. Every company needs to do business based on their values and in a way that helps the customer be successful. The worst thing a vendor can do is enter into an agreement where the price is too low, promises can't be delivered, or the product won't meet the customer's needs. Closing a deal under these conditions can lead to future problems and customer dissatisfaction. Knowing when to walk away shows the customer you've done your best and ensures the seller puts everything on the line.

Cameron Schuette: How does walking away relate to helping customers solve their problems?

Mark Niemiec: Sometimes helping someone isn't giving them everything they ask for. Customers often request things that aren't helpful or won't lead to their success. We do these implementations and deals hundreds of times a year, whereas our customers do them once or twice in a lifetime. We know what's required for success and what's not. If a customer wants a deal that won't be successful, it's not good for them or us, so we have to walk away.

Cameron Schuette: Why did you choose a career in sales?

Mark Niemiec: My wife has expensive taste, so I need to be in sales to afford that lifestyle. Jokes aside, I was a philosophy major in college, and I enjoy thinking about how to make other people successful. Sales is one of those professions that lifts people up. There's no degree in sales, and people from all walks of life can succeed in it. It's a real opportunity to help people achieve things they might not have thought possible. I find that inspiring and love leading people to do things they never thought possible.
Cameron Schuette: Love that. We're so glad to have you at Salesloft leading the team as our CRO. Thanks, everyone, for tuning in to RevTalks.

If revenue pros are thinking it, we're saying it. Join us as go-to-market experts share their best advice and insights from the frontlines of revenue — with tactics you can immediately implement at your organization.

Join host Cameron Schuette and Salesloft CRO Mark Niemiec in Episode 6 of RevTalks as they discuss the high-pressure end-of-quarter sales period. Learn from Mark's 25 years of experience about common pitfalls, effective strategies, and the power of walking away from deals. Tune in for valuable insights to enhance your sales approach.

Watch the entire RevTalks series on YouTube >