Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nathan’s tryst with Enterprise solution sales

Nathan is trying hard to break the shackles and get through with his first deal in some time. He gets a lead for a solution where his organisation is not a very strong player; in fact, they are one of the many solution providers in the market. To make it even worse, they are late in the game and the competition has already got their set pieces in place. Nevertheless, Nathan throws his hat in the middle and wants to give it a shot.

The opportunity is qualified as there is a sure shot need for the solution. The prospect is eagerly evaluating the vendors and Nathan carries a solution that should fit in the prospect’s needs. Now he tries to sort out his pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, called Sales process and its requirements. On one hand, Nathan is aware; their story for that solution is not great, even though, their solution meets the prospects needs and requirements. On the other, his relationship in the account is still at its infancy. 2 basic ingredients for the sales process were weak as Nathan decided to get into the game.

To overcome these challenges, Nathan decided to stay in the prospect’s place, spend some quality time with them. This would not only give him a chance to build rapport with the prospect, but also allow him to get hold of so much quality information. Be it, key requirements from the solution to competitive landscape to the prospect’s thought process and views on Nathan, his solution and his company, and last but not the least the list of key decision makers, all were the gold mine of information that would help Nathan in his sales pursuit.

Now came the hardest part. As Nathan decided to stay put and continue his struggle, he tried to meet up with some relevant folks at the prospect’s organisation. He called them up, sent some emails, requesting to catch up at their office or for a cup of coffee nearby. But nothing materialised. Each time he called, either they would say they are busy or they have nothing much or new to share. His quest to gather information that could help in the pursuit was going nowhere.

Nathan was completely disheartened. His idea of staying back to get the relationship going was not working at all. To a typical sales guy, he got all the more doubtful of this whole engagement. There were questions in his mind, all of a different nature. Is this selection stage managed and there is a vendor who is already selected (at least unofficially)? Do they not like us? What is the problem? What hinders their willingness (or not?) to meet me? Where is the problem? Questions were many, but answers none. 2 days had already gone by and nothing really had happened. To make matters worse, Nathan’s response to the prospect’s requirements in terms of a proposal has to go out in a few days time. This lack of time compounded the problems around him.

Nathan continued his struggle against the indifferent behaviour of the prospect. And finally, on the 4th day of being continuously bombarded by calls and emails, the mid management guy from the prospect agreed to oblige Nathan. They met over a cup of coffee and Nathan got going. They spent close to an hour together and Nathan made notes as he spoke. At the end of it, Nathan was a happy man and could figure out some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle he was trying to solve. A more confident Nathan came out of the coffee shop.

Better armed, Nathan called up his team and shared the information. They decided to use that information in their proposal and draft their responses accordingly. The proposal was to go out in 5 days. Nathan and team started to work on the proposal. And meanwhile, Nathan continued his push to meet more people from the prospect’s side. To his good luck, he could meet another important person the next day. After being able to gloss over some important information over the last 2 days, Nathan decided to go back to his place and get the proposal ready.
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