Will we win? Will it close on time?

*** The Complex Sale, Inc. has recorded a webinar on this topic: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/794796552


Outside of your own personal expertise, the most valuable piece of information you can offer buyers is your pricing. In the Complex Sale 2.0 world, buyers are gaining more and more control because information is becoming more and more available. Therefore, you should only share pricing when / if you feel you have positioned yourself as best as you can to win the business. If there is information you still need, you will not get it AFTER you send a detailed proposal.

Before you hand over pricing, make sure you can answer yes to these 11 questions.

Will it close on time?
 Do we know when they can no longer go without a solution?
 Do we know the decision-making process?
 Do we know the approval process?

Will we win?
 Have we linked our solution to solving enterprise-level pain?
 Do the decision-makers acknowledge our differentiation?
 Do we have enough votes of the decision-makers to win?

Will it close for the amount forecasted?
 Have we quantified the value based upon their criteria – not our ROI?
 Do we understand the political risk associated with this decision?

Have we prepared for the political nature of the decision making process?
 Are we anticipating counter-attacks of the competition?
 Are we aligned with powerful people to break a deadlock?
 Have we outlined the steps needed to get the deal signed?

The biggest mistake we see sales managers make is to base a forecast on stages in the sales cycle. Just because you are 85% into a sales process doesn’t mean you are going to win 85% of the business – or any of it for that matter. If you are in a competitive deal, your competition should be in the same phase and somebody has to lose. You need to compliment this quantitative step of forecasting based upon where you are in the sales cycle with the qualitative step of the 11 question deal review.Our research shows that 25% of forecasted deals are lost to competition by not taking this factor into account.


Our research also shows that 25% of forecasted deals are lost to no decision. That is why it is imperative to have the business case established before you present pricing. If you don’t understand the quantifiable metric upon which your decision-makers are going to base their decision, then you have a good chance of losing to no-decision.

8 Responses

  1. So if you can’t answer all 11 questions would you not submit a tender?

    • Thanks for the question Bill.

      I look at these questions as a way to provide confidence. You can certainly win without answering these questions yes – but you do want to begin to mold your selling behavior around these questions. This is how we implement a sustainable competitive advantage in that we are doing the right things on every deal.

    • Only if you want a customer who doesn’t trust you. How many times have you asked for a price and gotten a runaround, and then don’t get an answer. Pretty frustrating isn’t it. I’ve got some thoughts on timing and the submission of tenders if you want to open up a dialog about that.

  2. These questions are not about submitting a tender. They are about FORECASTING! We all get under pressure to forecast a deal. Many or most push to the next quarter then the next. Why? Because we don’t answer the questions honestly, to ourselves, our sales teams or our sales managers. Another dimension of these excellent questions would be “in whose opinion?” In other words, the manager responsible for the forecast should have a healthy skepticism before taking the sales rep’s answers.

    The price discussion is important. Do you want to open a dialog about when to offer pricing?

  3. […] Or is it?  Follow this link to read my thoughts on forecast accuracy. […]

  4. I’m a big fan of thoughtful, process-oriented sales. Your 11 steps apply well to new business, but what about run-rate (ongoing) business? Would you use the same methodology?

    • Hi Shel –

      I think the 11 questions best apply to discreet, unique buying events. Many times capturing the reoccurring stream would fit this definition if the evaluation is competitive – but managing the run rate would not apply. I would use more of an account management model to inoculate the account from competition and commoditization. This is best done by proving and documenting the ROI model you gave them in sales process.


  5. […] Before you hand over pricing, make sure you can answer yes to these 11 questions. […]

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