hidden questions erp sales

3 Important Hidden Questions for ERP Sales

Having empathy to understand your ERP prospects is important in improving your close rate during your ERP sales.  One of the unique is using the 3 hidden questions from your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) prospects.

This technique enables your sales team to understand the mind of your ERP prospects during your ERP selling process and is key to successful ERP salespersons and pre-sales consultants.

I often ask the ERP sales and pre-sales persons during my Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Sales training, about what they think are the three hidden questions in their prospect’s minds when they are evaluating ERP.  The answer from them was often “Price!”, which is wrong.

Why is “price” not the important hidden question in your ERP selling process:

  1. First, the price question is not hidden.  Prospects will often ask directly.
  2. Secondly, when an ERP salesperson handles a new prospect, price is one of the questions that a trained ERP salesperson uses to qualify the account. So, if the prospect is already qualified by price, then, it will not remain to be an essential question until finalizing stage of the selling process.
  3. Thirdly, from my experience, once you qualify the prospect correctly and are able to convince them about the value that you can deliver in your ERP solutions, price is usually one of the last questions that a good prospect will have in their mind.

The 3 Hidden Questions

Why are these hidden questions important in your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) selling process?

Because these 3 hidden questions stay subconsciously in the mind of your ERP prospects. And they will not consider the potential ERP vendors who could not demonstrate positive answers to these questions.  Yet they do not ask these questions directly.  So, for many inexperienced and untrained Enterprise Resource Planning salespersons and pre-sales, they may be conducting their ERP selling process without addressing these 3 hidden questions.  This will reduce their close rate in selling their ERP solutions.

So, what are these 3 important hidden questions?

Do you Understand my Business and Challenges?

Many untrained ERP salespersons and pre-sales tend to focus on selling their prospects about how superior and good their solutions or company is.  However, if the ERP salespersons and pre-sales cannot demonstrate their understanding of the prospects’ business or challenges, how can they convince the prospects that they have the right solution and ability to help them?

So, if you cannot relate to your prospects’ business and challenges, your prospect will not have the confidence that you understand them enough to offer the right ERP solutions and services.

Do you Know what are the Solutions?

Once the ERP salespersons and pre-sales consultants demonstrated that they understand their prospects’ business and challenges, the next natural hidden question will be: “Do you Know what are the solutions to my challenges and problems?”.

Are the Solutions Simple?

This hidden question is actually not a question.  It is a question to remind the ERP salespersons and pre-sales of the importance of communicating with their prospects in ways that they can easily understand.

Many technically competent sales and pre-sales like to use ERP or IT jargon during their communication with their prospects. This usually makes their prospect confused, misunderstood, or even afraid during the conversations.

How to Apply the Sales Technique of the 3 Hidden Questions

These 3 hidden questions are not to be answered literally.  They should always be at the back of the mind of anyone selling their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and services.  These questions help to set an effective mindset during the ERP selling process.

So, how to apply this sales technique?

  1. First, always prepare before meeting your prospect.  Do your research to understand their industry, their company, and their business.
  2. When possible, conduct an internal discussion with experienced colleagues before the meeting.  Try to anticipate the questions that they may ask and have the answers ready or at least think of ways to handle them if answers cannot be provided.
  3. Use the jargon of the prospects’ industry and minimize the use of ERP or IT jargon.
  4. Ask intelligent questions that show that you understand and empathize with the prospect’s challenges.
  5. Structure your solution and relate it to the challenges that your prospects are facing.  This helps them to understand how your solutions will help them.
  6. Be patient to explain your content in an easy-to-understand manner.
  7. Most of the time, using charts and drawing is better than the live demonstration of your ERP software.  The more you demo, the more questions will arise, and at times, more confusion and more doubts may be created.
  8. Do not belittle your prospects because they do not understand your content.  Always communicate with respect.

Case Study:  The 3 Hidden Questions Techniques

I will use one of my experiences as an ERP pre-sales consultant to illustrate the power of these 3 hidden questions during an ERP selling process.

In the late 1990s, I started working for a tier 2 ERP vendor that specialized in the manufacturing industry.  I joined the company as their pre-sales consultant and had yet to receive product training, but I was called by my colleague to help with an account.  It was a manufacturing company that my company was working on for a few months but could not convince them to sign the project.

My colleague arranged a meeting for me with their managing director. During the discussion, I asked the prospect to walk me through their business processes.  When I returned to their conference, I drew a chart of their business process on their whiteboard and explained my observations to their managing director.

  1. I told them of their challenges that I observed during the walkabout.
  2. They were very surprised that I could discover those challenges.  And I explained that I used to run production processes and those challenges were common in the manufacturing environment that operates without an ERP.
  3. I then explained on the chart how ERP will help them to overcome these challenges.

The end result was that the prospect signed the project with us the following week after the meeting.

So, what was the lesson learned:

  1. It is important to show that you understand their business and issues.
  2. It helped to be able to relate to them as someone who shares a similar experience which helps to explain why you understand them.
  3. It was important to highlight my observations without implying that they are inferior.
  4. You need to be able to explain in simple ways using their jargon and not yours.
  5. Showing software may add complication and confusion.  So, do that only if it helps.

This case study demonstrated that it is not how powerful your ERP software is or how good your demo is, but the importance of how you managed the 3 hidden questions during your ERP selling process.


Understanding the mind of your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) prospects during your selling process is important.  The technique of 3 hidden questions will provide the framework of the effect mindset that will help you to improve the close rate of your ERP selling process.

Master the technique of the 3 hidden questions during your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) selling process and see your close rate improve over time.

Learn More about the author, Raymond Yap, and how we can help you.  1st-ERP Consulting provides ERP Sales Training to empower a more effective ERP Sales Team.

#erp #erpsales #erpselling #erpsalestechnique #enterpriseresourceplanning #erpsuccess

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