Deal sizes have got smaller
Over the last few years, because of reducing deal sizes, many technology businesses have become adept at responding very quickly to procurements. This is not without its challenges – some complain that it’s like ‘trying to drink from a fire hose’; others comment that with the shift to digital, prospective customers are surprised when they bid and that they’re not successful as a result; and some are still struggling to change their internal governance practices so they have the agility they need to respond rapidly.
Profitability is declining
Many also comment that profitability is declining because sales costs are becoming disproportionate to the size and number of the deals they’re winning, and that they need to do something to stop their businesses from entering a negative spiral.
So, what can technology businesses do differently so that they win the right deals - especially digital ones - effortlessly and calmly, and see their profitability increase as a result?
Address the downward spiral
One of the keys to success is to engage prospects ahead of formal procurements so you can position yourself for the opportunities that play to your sweet spots. In our experience, this is easy to say, but much harder to do. So, what are the key things you need to do differently to do this effectively?
6 levers for success
Our experience suggests that technology businesses need to address 6 key areas to engage prospects effectively ahead of formal procurements:
1. Acknowledge that the current situation is not sustainable, and that something has got to change for your business to flourish again
2. Resist the temptation to focus resources on another apparently attractive request for proposal (RFP). If you continue to do this, you will not break the habit, nor will you have the resources to invest in developing relationships with ideal prospects ahead of formal procurements
3. Be crystal clear about the markets (or organisations) you’re targeting and what an ideal customer looks like. What are the key issues on their agendas? What outcomes are they hoping to see from addressing the issues? What are the key drivers that are creating these issues in the first place?
4. Identify sources of these ideal customers (your and your colleagues’ existing networks, events that your ideal customers attend and LinkedIn are good places to start), and engage them in low-key ways. Catching up over coffee or sharing experiences because you have professional interests in common are good places to start. As part of this you should aim to position yourself as an individual or organisation that can help address prospects’ critical issues and help deliver the outcomes they’re trying to achieve
5. Develop relationships with these ideal customers by diplomatically uncovering the key issues on their agendas and the rationale for addressing them. Once you have done this you can work with them both to develop an outline business case and to shape a solution – which almost unknowingly to you will play to your strengths and sweet spots
6. Be tenacious following up prospects and managing the nascent pipeline. Almost everyone is very busy, so it’s really easy for the low-key meetings you’re suggesting to fall through the cracks. Research shows that the most successful salespeople follow up with a prospect at least 6 times before they give up!
I’m offering a limited number of readers a complimentary session to explore what they can do differently to engage prospects early so they fill their pipelines with good opportunities and win deals effortlessly again. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment. I guarantee you will leave the session with transformative, actionable strategies!