You thought the deal was done a long time ago. But while your sponsor says the deal is yours, he hasn’t been able to get on the senior executive’s calendar to discuss it. And now Procurement is involved. With that old adage, “Time kills deals,” playing in your head, it’s time to regroup.
These six steps will help you develop a strategy that reenergizes the sales cycle.
- Reconstruct your messaging to regain momentum. Buyers focus on those issues that directly impact their business. Replay why your customer wanted your solution in the first place—what problem were they trying to solve? What benefit would they realize (personally and professionally) by solving this issue? Articulate the value of your solution and its ability to solve your customer’s problem in the same quantitative terms they use.
- Get out the org map. Redraw your lines of influence to be sure you’ve covered all decision authority routes. Craft and deliver a message of urgency to each of them that addresses their specific individual interest, and collectively builds consensus among the decision-making team about how you, your product, and your company solve problems and provide value to them. What is the cost of them doing nothing? Now that Procurement is involved, assess and include the appropriate Procurement team member as part of your selling strategy. Where are they on the org map? What message needs to be delivered so they view you and your offerings positively, not just for the business, but for them?
- To most effectively deliver your message, broker a meeting with Procurement and your sponsors. To be successful, you need to view Procurement as an opportunity waiting to be exploited and an audience waiting to be taught. Acknowledge that Procurement has a job to do, often having to deliver on mandates from the CFO to drive validated savings. Demonstrate how you, your processes, and your solutions can help them. Educate them about what you and your sponsors have done to date to reach a buying conclusion, taking into consideration factors like risk, strategic fit, and compliance. At the same time, learn about the aspects of the competitive tender process.
- Share your business case and review the project/implementation plan with Procurement to facilitate the deal getting through the purchasing process. With your sponsor and Procurement aligned to get the deal done sooner versus later, Procurement becomes part of the solution rather than just providing compliance oversight.
- Update your Decision Maker and Approver on the expected project/implementation kickoff and steps you and Procurement have agreed to. This keeps them “in the boat” and Procurement is on record. At the same time, agreement from your customer’s control point of spending greases the skids for others on the decision-making team to line up behind the deal.
- Assumptive closes will create urgency:
- Have draft communications to launch the project/implementation ready for their review. “Do they fit the bill?”
- Ask to calendar the kickoff for the project/implementation team. “Do any of these dates work for you?”
- Ask to schedule a thank you for the business meeting “Top to Top.” “What dates are you available?”
Enabling win-win-win through effective relationship building with Procurement and communication of value with all members of the decision-making team is the secret to unstalling your deal. It is knowing what that value is and communicating it like your deal depends on it…because it does.