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Here at LeadSift, we’ve had the opportunity to be presented with demos from some of the top tech companies in the world. And beyond their amazing technology, we were impressed with one thing they all had in common: stellar sales practices.

We’ve identified five things that these companies all did that made their sales process much more compelling than the competition.

1) Set an agenda

Each and every one of these companies sent over an agenda before our meeting. They would either use a calendar invite or email to outline everything that we’d talk about during our call.

At the beginning of the calls, the reps would go through the agenda together with me, making sure that I was on board with everything we would discuss. They also asked me if there was anything else I would like to add.

As a prospect, this made me feel respected and valued. I knew they would be prepared to cover everything they needed to cover without wasting my time (or theirs!), and this level of organization gave me a good indication about what it would be like to work with this company in the future.

2) Make concrete follow-up plans

None of the companies I demoed with let me off the hook with vague mentions of a follow-up. If I expressed any interest by the end of our meeting, they made sure to nail down a specific day and time for next steps.

Their persistence in setting concrete plans made it much more likely that I would actually be receptive to future communications with them, even if I had to reschedule as the date approached.

3) Personalize the demo

None of these top tech companies used generic data or insights when demoing their product or presenting a proposal. Everything was tailored to LeadSift’s unique position in the market, industry, needs or goals.

By showing me data pertaining to a SaaS sales intelligence platform – rather than, say a car dealership – they were able to connect more meaningfully to me as a prospect.

4) Mindful of our time

Near the end of each call, the rep pointed out that we had only five or ten minutes left. If available and necessary, they might mention that they could stay on the call for an additional few minutes, but they wouldn’t pressure me to go over our allotted time. If we still had something significant to cover, they would ensure a follow-up was scheduled.

5) Ask pointed, well-crafted questions

One of the basic lessons new salespeople learn is that it’s best to get the prospect talking more. These companies took that idea one step further by asking me very pointed questions that were designed to get me to answer positively, and in one of only several ways. It became clear that they were following a pattern, and had a solid response to however I would answer, because the phrasing of the question led me to answer in a way that they could predict.

6) What not to do: Use an overly long generic sales deck

Unfortunately, not all pitches were perfect. Something that stood out to me amid all of the great sales tactics was this one hang-up: these companies relied too heavily on generic, long sales decks. Often these decks were quite dry and my attention would wander in the middle of their pitch. I wish they would move past these archaic tools and create a pitch that was more engaging, incorporating more personalization and questions like in their demos.