The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
There’s an art to sales that many newbies fail to appreciate. Closing a sale isn’t just listing all the ways you’re better than the competition or being in the right place at the same time.
It’s also about understanding the customer and their needs, without losing sight of the company’s goals—a balance that requires a great deal of creativity and knowledge, especially when under pressure.
This article will explain how Service organization controls (SOC) reports can help you close sales, and how you can use them to your advantage.
SOC reports, conducted by outside auditors, assist enterprises in discerning possible hazards within their operational and procedural activities. Considering the complexity and numerous components in modern businesses, the risk for potential missteps is ever-present.
SOC reports document an organization’s internal controls and processes, and the extent to which these are designed to protect customer data. These reports act as an assurance that, should the worst case scenario occur, customers’ data is secure and that the company will be there to answer for any mistakes.
This might seem like heady stuff but all it means for your customers is that your company will always have its lights on, so to speak. Businesses can sink through no fault of their own, such a key supplier going bankrupt suddenly, or unexpected international shipping snafus.
SOC compliance helps you show customers that your business can swim with the tide, and that, should calamities strike, you’ll be right there to offer them solutions.
If you’ve been in sales for long, you know just how it feels to see the finish line but somehow fumble at the very last second. After making a great pitch, customizing a solution that fits their exact needs, and answering your phone day and night—it all comes crashing down just as you’re about to seal the deal.
Closing that last mile might feel like torture to you, but think about it from your customers’ perspective.
You’re not the first salesperson to say all the right things, do all the right moves, and smile that winning smile before locking them into a deal that doesn’t quite meet their expectations.
Your customers know all too well the risks of signing off on a business agreement without getting enough assurance that they’re dealing with an honest, reliable, and capable company—not a fly-by-night one built on empty promises, superficial niceties, and smooth talk.
Lots of your customers have been burned before and they don’t want to be burned again. Can you blame them?
So if you’re serious about closing sales and giving your customers the assurance they need, you need to start adding SOC compliance to your sales pitch.
An SOC report is proof that your operation means business.
SOC reports provide valuable insights into how an organization operates, such as its security operations, customer service processes, and financial management practices—all of which your customers will consider before signing on the dotted line.
Your customers can rely on SOC reports to gain insight into the capabilities, efficiency, and security protocols of your business operations, as well as how it has adapted in response to changing economic conditions or industry-wide disruption.
This kind of information not only shows customers that you have nothing to hide—it also demonstrates how well-equipped your business is for meeting their needs.
A customer might want to know if you employ sufficient personnel to manage their needs, if you have enough resources to respond quickly in a crisis, or if your financial processes are up to date.
An SOC provides reassurance that your business is well-positioned to meet the customer’s expectations—and that can make the difference between closing a deal or being passed over by the competition.
Many salespersons hesitate to bring up something technical during a sales pitch. We get it: being charming while sweating over a spreadsheet isn’t easy.
But when it comes to convincing customers in the digital age, you must be prepared to provide evidence of your capabilities and security measures—and an SOC report is the perfect way to do so without getting bogged down in technical details.
Here’s how to mention the SOC report during a sales pitch without sounding like their accountant:
- Emphasize how your business can meet the customer’s needs, based on an SOC audit.
- Highlight why SOC compliance is in your customer’s best interest
- Use concrete examples that demonstrate how investments in SOC compliance have helped your business grow and succeed.
- Focus on the value of such investments for potential customers, rather than just on the technical details.
SOC reports help sales professionals close deals more efficiently by showing proof of your business’s capabilities. With the right sales approach, you can use the SOC report to demonstrate how well-equipped and certified your company is in terms of personnel, resources, financial processes, and security measures: all critical factors for customers looking to invest in a product or service.