I really love watching football, particularly the passing game where two elite and quick athlete's battle as the quarterback's pass spirals towards them.
The TV commentators have recently started using the term "In Phase" to describe when the defensive back is in the correct position while guarding the receiver. A quick google search shows that being In Phase is different depending on the route the receiver is running, but that typically the DB is positioned on the field side hip of the receiver.
Enterprise sales professionals are like DB's in that they "cover" accounts on behalf of their company and in an recent situation we broke down their job as really only being in four phases.
Enterprise sales is anything but simple with all of the nuances that come with managing the relationship between two very large companies, however the first thing you need your sales professional to recognize is what phase of the sales process are we in currently?
Embedded inside the phase recognition is the subtle change that goes on in your conversations with the buyers as you work from being curious about a match to rigorous in your pursuit of aligning the clients priorities with the solution you are providing.
If you lose track of the priorities and don't get the buyers to continually reiterate what matters most, you could be setting yourself up for a late stage disappointment.
Here is how we have described the four stages of Enterprise Sales (with some humor injected) and how to pay attention to matching the buyers priorities with their companies top initiatives.
As we continue to wage the battle of the new(us) vs the old(the competition) I wanted to outline what I think are maybe some obvious concepts that hopefully keep us fired up and focused as we leap into April.
There are really only four phases for our top Enterprise Prospects.
They are unaware of our services and therefore are lost in the wilderness of want and despair.
They are aware of our services but not engaged in a buying process because other issues are keeping them occupied and so they are losing out on all the $$ we can make them.
They are engaged in a buying process with us and most likely others so they are close to seeing the light, but sadly our competitors are out their like Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings and so we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of truth in the context that our prospect has declared in the discovery call. This is why we get them to prioritize the issues and make sure they remain true to those priorities all the way through the RFP process.
They have picked us and are rolling out our solution and are on their way to the promised land or they have been bamboozled by our competition and must suffer for another 3 years in the land of mediocrity.
The fun in this is that these poor lost souls think that nothing is going to change the game.....and yet, we have references who were just as lost and are now willing to go on record and tell others that our solution is a "GAME CHANGER."
The key is to know how to reveal our solution and to do it in the context of the client's current reality.
Our failure to do so can and will lead to other vendors winning with lesser solutions.
Thus we must always be willing to be curiously optimistic when speaking with our grumpy buyers early and then as things develop continue to accuse the idea that our solution is the only solution as it is clearly not.
The winning solution is the one that matches the priorities that the prospect shared in the discovery call and verifies all the way through the buying process and importantly we need to tie our category to the BIG 3 issues that the prospect is focused on from the CEO on down.
Learning how our prospects prioritize our category and then tying it into the BIG 3 is a one two punch that helps us and helps our buyer look good internally which is really what they care about.
So like the good and hungry hunters that we all are, let us go into the conversations early with curiosity and finish them with rigor.
Fired up to be on your team!
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