In many sales situations, especially complex sales, it takes a village to close a deal. The more eyes and ears on a situation, the greater your ability to objectively view the deal from many different and sometimes disparate points of view, and engage multiple stakeholders. Qualifying the opportunity at multiple levels of the client organization enables each person’s past experiences to influence the possible outcomes. Engaging others on your team – using the strength of your village – will help you foster those relationships and potentially close more business.
There is a huge risk of losing a deal unless you and your team:
- Expand and broaden relationships at multiple levels of the organization
- Understand who the key stakeholders are; find out their specific roles, goals, strategies and initiatives
- Ask targeted questions about the key stakeholder’s goals and dig in for specific answers
- Identify priorities of where the client is spending their time, money and resources
- Analyze past experiences, successes and failures at all levels to best understand the potential risk – from the client’s point of view and from yours
Think through all the risks of why a deal can go south, work together to understand the options and determine how and who should handle the objections. Sometimes, depending on the importance, scope or complexity of a deal, getting sales leadership involved early in the deal can help you gain access to higher levels of the organization. Their involvement can help build relationships in order to obtain the information you need from the each of the key stakeholders and proactively iron out any issues that may arise throughout the sales cycle.
I had a client who lost a large deal at the last minute. It had nothing to do with the product or services, the perceived risks of either organization, or the money. It was purely a legal issue that was exposed at the final hour and no one could resolve it since there were little to no relationships established at the higher levels of the organization. If the sales team had used the strength of their village, by asking sales leadership to reach out to the right individuals earlier in the sales process, they may have had the right type of relationships, at the right levels of the client organization, to resolve the legal issue and get the deal signed.
Remember to use your village to have conversations at all levels of the client organization in order to understand each key stakeholder’s goals, motivations, strategies, initiatives, priorities and/or their business process workflows, depending on the level of the organization. Don’t settle for answers like: “We want to increase revenue” and “We want to minimize risk.” Such goals are not measurable and there is no timing associated with them. Get the specific answers you need to plan your strategy and craft your story to all key stakeholders, using the strength and influence of everyone on your team.
It takes a village to close a deal. By qualifying the deal and establishing relationships at multiple levels, the sooner you can ask the tough questions, identify the role of each key stakeholder, uncover their specific goals, strategies and priorities; handle the objection(s) and ensure everyone’s time is used in the best possible way to close more business.