Strategic Literacy and Political Navigation

There is a binary nature to selling in that you win the business or you do not – that is not open to interpretation or W2 statements. However to win big deals we need to take that same binary nature and apply it to the individual decision makers. Rick Page, CEO of the Complex Sale, writes in his book Hope is Not a Strategy, that we must win the hearts and minds of the people that matter to win the deal. As the cliché’ goes – people buy from people after all – companies don’t buy anything.

Try this approach the next time you need to strategize a deal.

Take a 30,000 foot view of your prospect to get an idea as to its identity. Who are their top competitors and how do the differentiate themselves? How do they provide financial gain for themselves and their stakeholders? What is their growth strategy? How do they stay compliant with regulations?

Once you uncover the answers to these questions – you want to link your solution to these enterprise level initiatives. This empowers you with the relevant content that someone with a C next to their title cares about. We need to be able to speak and influence these individuals because they are the ones who are going to reap the rewards of success or feel the pain of failure. Perhaps with their job.

We want to then understand the complete landscape and impact of our solution. Start with the end in mind; and by the end I don’t mean the contract date. There is a point in time when your prospect will receive their return on investment based upon the fancy ROI calculator you put in front of them. Start from the date you have provided as the ROI date and work your way backwards by asking these 7 questions.

1.       Who is involved from the the go live date date to the date your prospect receives the ROI and who ultimately cares about the ROI?

2.       Who is involved in the implementation and who is ultimately held responsible for the success of the implementation?

3.       Who signs the contract and who would care if the agreed upon date of signature passes?

4.       Who is involved in the approval process and how are projects prioritized at this company?

5.       Who is involved in the decision making process and how are decisions made at this company?

6.       Who is involved in the evaluation process and how are evaluations handled at this company?

7.       Who sponsored this project and who was responsible for gathering the requirements?

If answered accurately, these seven questions will give you the entire scope of individuals who will be impacted by your solution. These individuals are the stakeholders and they should be cataloged on one sheet in what Rick Page calls – a “stakeholder analysis.” Take the same binary nature that we have for winning an account and apply that to these individual stakeholders. If they were to vote today – would they vote for us? Yes or No. Then we want to give deference to those we know are going to be the decision-makers. We need to build preference with these individuals to win the business.

To win a big deal – you need to go high and wide. This strategy will help you do that. You also need to be able to have a relevant business conversation with the decision-makers because they are going to be the ones who will ultimately be held responsible for the success of the project. By understanding how your solution impacts key enterprise level initiatives – you will be empowered with the content to influence these decision-makers and win the business.  Stay out of the weeds in terms of features, functionality, and operational capabilities – and instead focus on the unique outcomes your solution can provide due to your differentation in the market.


One Response

  1. As always you are hit the target, which in the lesson is not the person or the company, but the personal initiative that a sales person must create in order to be competitive with the incumbent and the initiative it’s self.

    You intuitive questions are the bible of Large Account Acquisition! Playing in this realm is not the minor leagues. Well written and very informative~

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