We’re driving down the final stretch. It’s crunch time for most sales and sales leaders. The quarter, and in many cases, the year is riding on the next three months. How many times have we seen customers hit the pause button? They ask for a larger discount since they’ve been trained by other teams in the past – or worse, they choke and defer? Smoking up money, bottom-line profits, commissions, and quota overachievement.
How can you ensure you or your team are confident the deal(s) is coming in?
Let the customer tell you!
No, seriously, let the customer tell you the deal is coming in on time and at the price point where you are not offering discounts in order to create momentum. Read on for the seven steps to ensure the customer tells you the deal is committed.
Before we dive in, let’s talk about a little secret you may have experienced and were perhaps not even aware. Procurement loves to push our buttons. Have you noticed some of the most effective procurement folks send their “shoe drop” e-mail every Friday night? Yes, it’s an intentional tactic to thwart your access to people and information, inevitably causing you to spin with your team over the weekend. Procurement starts to clamp down on your ability to communicate with the teams, telling you that reaching out is going to put your deal in jeopardy as they begin to make requests for discounts. Watch for this behavior and pause as you get these late-stage requests from procurement. If you’ve done all the things we discuss below, you will have the upper hand.
Let’s talk about ways to ensure the deal is committed and you can spend the commission money.
First, ask yourself, honestly, who is going to have to sign for this opportunity internally at your customer? Not the last person in procurement, but rather the person whose P&L this initiative will impact. What is their title, how big is the company, and can this person sign for a deal this size? When considering deal size, be sure to not think about it only from your monetary contract perspective, you need to include all the components. Is this a three-year deal? Does it require additional services, software, other allocation of funds? Add it all up. So really, how big is this deal? Now look at the title of the person, can they sign for something this large in a company their size? If the answer is yes – this is your PowerPerson.
Second, has the PowerPerson confirmed to you and your team what their #1 priority is? Have they provided the metric and timeline for when they need to achieve it? Is this a legitimate Business Issue, a truly “compelling event”?
Third, have they confirmed with you that they agree to the problem set, the list of four or five challenges? Have they said these are the biggest obstacles they face and, if they can solve them with you, this will go a long way to resolving their Business Issue?
Fourth, look at the number of problems above, all in – what is it? Now, have they quantified the impact in resolving each problem and, by solving these various problems, does the value pay them back within a time frame which meets their internal standards? Does it meet their hurdle rate? Said differently, do you have enough value returning to them in a time period they need in order to justify their spend?
Fifth, who’s involved? Honestly assess who is required on this deal based on its “all in” number — who is required to approve this? Have you validated anyone who can say yes or no to the deal with the ultimate PowerPerson? We don’t want to find out at the 11th hour that there is another person who has to put their fingers on it. Validate with Power everyone whom they say is required and make sure you have built independent alignment with each of them. Never hope someone will just go with the flow, flow will bite you when it counts.
Sixth, can this PowerPerson see the path to Value? Have you worked to provide a plan that not only demonstrates you can deliver, but articulates what is required to resolve the problems? Does it show them what you and your company will do? Does it give them an idea of what they, in turn, will need to do? Has this been documented to them?
Lucky seven, have you documented all of the above in writing with them? The compelling event (Business Issue), the challenges (Problems), the how (Solution), the impact (Value), the key resources (Power) and the path to value realization (Plan). Have you confirmed these elements either in an e-mail, a Word document or a presentation? If you have, congratulations!
So, how is the single source of truth in your Q4 forecast the customer? As I said, they will tell you!
You can find the Opportunity Assessment Guide in our resource library here.
Best success to everyone in Q4!
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