In selling, we’re keenly focused on telling prospects and clients what we can do. Showcasing our products and services in the best light possible is, of course, key to successful outcomes. Our offerings and their abilities to solve client problems are top of mind and top of mouth for our selling teams as we pursue business, especially with major accounts. But with large account opportunities, the sales pursuits can be very long. Months and even years can pass as an enterprise sales opportunity rolls along. And as the time goes by, doubt, uncertainty and risk increase. And so do the significant costs resulting from your organization’s investments in the pursuit. The financial impact is typically the most obvious but equally concerning are the costs of time, energy and people – all scarce resources. And, of course, all of this adds to and highlights the opportunity cost of credibly engaging in these pursuits. Doing so means that other organizational initiatives will almost certainly have to be delayed or scuttled completely. All that said, we do it, don’t we? We still show as we go.
Considering all these difficulties and frustrations, major account pursuits do offer positives for effective selling organizations that have their acts together. For in these lengthy pursuits come opportunities that absolutely increase your likelihood of winning. Opportunities that come in the many touchpoints and contacts that you and your team members have with the prospect account over the long course of the pursuit. E-mails, visits, phone calls, texts…..there are likely thousands of different touches. And every time communication occurs, there is an opportunity to prove your responsiveness, your follow-up and your attention to detail. In the words of the mantra of Geoff Unwin, a former Capgemini CEO from my days at that amazing organization, an opportunity to, very simply put, “Do what you say you’ll do”. Because in every one of those communication touchpoints your team has with your prospect account, you’ll be evaluated by your potential partner. And this evaluation will not be about your abilities. There’s plenty of time for that in the substance of your proposal. No, this constant test about how you perform in doing what you have promised to do will give a crystal-clear picture to the account of what you’ll be like to deal with if you’re ultimately awarded the business. And the account’s buying team has the luxury of being able to not only evaluate you in terms of your firm’s dependability but they also get to weigh your performance versus those of your competitors, who are being asked to jump through the same hoops as you. Think about that. Every step you take is mirrored by the very competitors you’re trying to beat in the contest that is sales. And here lies the great opportunity for the effective selling organizations that I mentioned earlier. In every one of those thousands of touchpoints, in every one of those transactions, it’s possible that you’ll have competitors who might become just a bit forgetful or complacent as the seasons pass. They might take their eyes off the ball for just a moment. Maybe they’ll completely miss a request or tactically issue a boilerplate response instead of devoting the required hours that a meaningful reply deserves. Or maybe they’ll be so enamored with their abilities, that they fall short. At just the right time to leave just the wrong impression. Advantage – you!
Zig Ziglar once said, “Ability is important, but dependability is critical”. In major account pursuits, stay focused. Once you’ve performed your due diligence and determined that the deal is well worth pursuing, it’s up to you and your team members to make sure you clearly demonstrate that it’s also worth pursuing well. Be certain that your actions do justice to your intent and your objectives. Show the prospect in the pursuit the same dependability that they will ultimately see in you as their partner. Show them that you can be counted on. In short, do what you say you’ll do.
And go win the business.