Some time back, I overheard a new colleague expound his vision in a team meeting – ‘I want to see only large deals. Nothing less than a million will do for me’. I heard the sermon for a few minutes more wondering about the impact on the team. With due respect to his intent and experience, it looked improbable to me that this strategy of ‘shut the door out on smaller deals’ was likely to bring about a change in his desired outcome.
For a sales team that is under constant pressure to meet their monthly and quarterly budgets, these words may sound novel but hollow and uninteresting. The guy on the field is intrinsically aware that every incoming penny not just adds to his bottom line but also increases his chances of survival for the next quarter. So, how could he possibly ignore these and cook up large deals, all the time? I looked around the room for a reaction that day and could sense a sea of disbelief in the non-verbal cues. I am not a student of body language but i am sure an expert in the room would not have disagreed with my interpretation either.
It is not uncommon to see large corporations drive their teams towards large and larger deals to increase the average recognized deal value. With complex back-end processes that do not differentiate between transactions on size, all deals take up relatively equivalent process time; and the only way to pump in more is to get in larger deals. Sounds logical? Cool. How do you then develop the ecosystem to uncover those elusive large deals? In my experience, a combination of several factors contributes to creating such an environment; Of course with a fair bit of situational relevance.
1. Make it transformative
Most large successes are transformative in nature. Break out of the clutter by engaging in initiatives that can transform your client’s potential. If you are offering technology solutions, can your tailor your offering to transform your client’s supply chain for instance? Or would you be able to remodel his process of sensing demand? If it is services led, is there an opportunity for a six sigma quality of service that takes the risk off his radar? Think it over. In every industry, there are radical approaches that can transform the nature of the relationship. Find that transformation and it will fetch you that large differential.
2. Make it easy to justify
Savings expected in transformative initiatives are never easy to benchmark. Strong personalities as project sponsors may be able to get the business justification past the Board but those will be in a minority. It is important that your project fundamentals are backed up by measurement metrics – be they process re-design, ROI calculators or any other financial measure that can help the client evaluate project feasibility.
3. Help them cover their risks
While your sponsor is obviously excited about the value addition to the business, he is equally concerned about the risks involved to the timeline, financial, change management and on the outcome. How you help him secure his position will go a long way in cementing the trust in high stake situations. Evaluate options around creative payment options that are not necessarily milestone-led. Can the contract be structured to provide an exit option? Would your company be willing to work towards a gain-sharing model? Building confidence around the proposal is integral; providing a cover for unexpected failure is an insurance most managements don’t ignore.
4. What’s your stake?
This is for your sales teams. Post the rending battle cries, what is your commitment to support the team? How rooted are you in your conviction? If few employees slip, how will they be propped up? Are you willing to wait it out and make it work? There-in lies the success to your strategy.