When you’re working on a big deal, it’s very easy to get too close to the wood to be able to see the trees. Often the first sign something is amiss is the deal isn’t closing. And it may be too late by then.
Is this the one?
Everything starts out fine. Client meetings happen. Needs and problems begin to be understood. The pursuit is on.
Often the first significant internal milestone is a qualification review. Terminology varies, but the question is always the same. Should the company invest in the deal or not?
Typically a great deal of effort goes into the qualification process. Every stone is turned to figure out if this deal is a runner or not.
When the pursuit gets approved, budget and bid team get allocated. Euphoria reins. This is the one.
Customer focus drifts
That’s often when the problem starts. Everybody involved is busy, busy busy. Bid team reviews usually focus on the solution, commercials and pricing.
At the same time the client focus very often drifts. Client meetings become much more solution orientated. The original problem everybody on both sides of the pursuit set out to fix slips from the top of the agenda.
Along the way the vendor company’s processes demand periodic reviews. Very often these focus on the viability of the solution, the financials and the risk register. Sure the customer gets a mention, but the focus has shifted.
That’s the nub of the problem. Vendor companies are concerned to make sure the deal works. They want to know risks are managed or laid off in some way. That profit can be made. All the time assuming the sales executive can keep the relationship going with the client.
Being the sales lead can be lonely
From personal experience leading a major pursuit can be a lonely existence. Very often you find yourself fighting your own company to shape what the client wants. You meet lots of internal desk-bound experts who will try to convince you they’re right and the customer’s wrong.
As the pursuit progresses you find yourself invited to endless reviews at which you’re walking a tightrope of getting the support you want and managing senior expectations. I’ve often found the client meetings way easier than the internal ones.
You need a deal coach
Enter the idea of the deal coach. I’ve helped many sales professionals close deals by helping them keep tight focus on the client relationships and manage internal expectations.
In lots of ways it makes sense. You’re right in the middle of the action and emotionally involved. Your manager probably is too.
But I’m an outsider. Who’s been there, seen it and done it. Who understands the pressures, without being emotionally involved.
I can ask you the hard questions nobody else will. I can be a neutral (and confidential) sounding board for ideas. I can spot gaps in your strategy and help you find ways to plug them. I can help you shape how the proposition is positioned with the client.
Here’s what to do next
If you’re interested in how this could help you, or feel I may be able to help you with some of the challenges you’re facing, please get in touch for an informal discussion.
There’s no commitment, we’ll just discuss your situation to see if working together might be a good fit. Contact me now.