Having a good Sales Process gives you space to think and come up with innovative ways of winning. I call them Game Changers. Here are the 10 best Game Changers I heard of in 2015, though I would rather forget about the last one!
An offer they couldn’t refuse
It’s tough to get prospects to grant you a first meeting – unless you offer to save them a significant sum of money and offer to demonstrate exactly how. This is what our client, a supplier of network management services, wrote to the CEO of a mobile telecom operator.
As a result the prospect wrote an RFP – with lots of input from our client – who went on to win a 5 year contract worth €350 million.
Think about what the competition will do and outwit them
Our client was targeting a German automotive manufacturer who had bought a CRM system and needed expert help implementing it, but they were up against a big multinational competitor. The customer wanted a one-day demonstration of a user case.
Our client suspected the competition would develop a demo in the UK and show their German colleagues how to present it. So they suggested instead of a demo on consecutive days, both companies go in the same day and complete a series of tasks live. An approach that would give the customer experience of working with our client and expose the lack of knowledge in the competitors’ delivery team.
Changing the conversation
What happens if you want to sell to a customer who already has a supplier they are happy with? Change the conversation. Our client, a producer of food and beverages, went to a high-end burger chain and instead of offering better buns, or cheaper drinks they suggested outsourcing the whole supply chain. They took their head of Supply Chain Management to the meeting with the customer to explain exactly how it would work. In one meeting they moved from being just another supplier to prospective partner.
Our client was pitching a merchant services solution to a global customer, but the key decision makers were US based where our client had a lower profile than the competition, a potential problem. Our client invited a couple of satisfied US customers to the online presentation of their proposal – the problem disappeared.
Don’t sell to the CEO – help your contacts to
CEO’s of large banks don’t run their business by sitting in vendor meetings. They have good people to identify and recommend the best solution. So while the competitors pushed for a meeting with the CEO our client, a software supplier, gave their contacts everything they needed – from a Deal One Pager to a Business Case – to help them sell internally to the CEO. That Game Changer won our client a €40 million deal.
Let your Coach shine
Our client was selling into a prospect, a large insurance company. They quickly established credibility with the person managing the evaluation process and built up her trust by providing useful suggestions about the requirements that she could take to her boss. Which in turn increased her standing with the boss. In due course she gave our client access to key stakeholders in the Buying Centre. These additional meetings were crucial in winning the deal.
Buying Centre with the wrong needs
Our client, a CRM vendor, could see the RFP from a big telecoms company was written to favour a competitor’s solution. By gaining the trust of the Project Manager they were allowed to interview a range of stakeholders beyond the official contacts. Of course they used the interviews to develop needs that were their strengths and simultaneously the weaknesses of their competitors.
When they came to present their solution they started by gaining consensus among the decision makers that the needs of the wider stakeholder group had to be met and went on to demonstrate a solution that did just that. And won the business.
Demonstrate, don’t claim
Our client is a local law firm who found themselves up against a global player. They knew the competitors’ proposal would be very slick and glossy. So they decided to create a simple looking proposal, but instead of writing about how great their work for other people was and how good a job they would do for them, they just did the first stage of the work and showed the results in their presentation. A test-drive was more effective than any number of claims.
Setting an impossible hurdle
We were pitching Infoteam to a new client against one of the really big players in the field. They work for many companies in each sector, we are happy to work more selectively. We knew the competition had been asked for an exclusivity clause in the past and had asked for a prohibitive fee. So we offered an exclusivity clause at no extra charge – a move which sealed the deal.
The tables turned on us
Everything in a pitch was going well until the Project Manager told me about a question in the Evaluation Matrix “How would you rate your previous experience of working with this organisation?” I researched the Buying Centre and found several of them had worked with our competitor before. We were outmanoeuvred and the competitor won.
If you think you have the Sales Process under control use an Opportunity Review to think about creative ways to gain advantage, overcome obstacles and come up with those Game Changers that win pitches.
- How do competitors with an inferior solution win against you?
- How do you move the goal posts?
- Do you conduct brainstorming sessions to think about Game Changers?