09 Jan Landing the Big One: The Key to Closing Your Next Big Sale
Just like fishing, an account manager involved in a complex sale needs to rely on a wide range of overlay expert resources to keep it all together.
Landing an enterprise technical sale is like going deep-sea fishing and hooking a big marlin. You’re straining at the rod, trying to reel the fish in, and you need help – someone to grab the net, another person to keep the greedy sharks away from your catch, and a skilled helmsman keeping the boat on the proper course.
Just like fishing, an account manager involved in a complex sale needs to be able to rely on a wide range of overlay expert resources to keep it all together. These experts can run the gamut from engineers, architects and network design consultants to marketing and financing resources. Without a full set of overlay resources working in tandem with the sales process, the account manager is like a rod without a hook!
The trouble is that all these supporting professionals are likely to have other equally important work to do as well. Getting enough of their time and energy can be a challenge. Heck, it can be tough to even get people into a conference call.
Sales people excel at building relationships and finding opportunities, but they may not be organized in a way to take full advantage of all the lines biting. So, they need a team to create a plan and carry it forward.
The stakes are huge. If the overlay resources don’t come through on time, the sale will end up like that old fishing saying: the one that got away!
Sales Beacon’s experience supporting hundreds of enterprise sales efforts consistently see three key principles for ensuring that the fish, once hooked, stays hooked and gets landed.
1. Complex sales must be managed as projects.
To cope with the many variables in any enterprise sale, it must be run like a project. Having someone able to determine the steps required, checking to see if all aspects are staying on schedule, and having the “pull” needed to keep everyone motivated is absolutely key
An effective sales project professional makes sure that stakeholders get done, what needs doing when it is needed. There’s no point in asking a pure sales professional to get into the nitty-gritty details (the adminitrivia, if you will) when they’re already looking ahead to the next big sale.
We find that generally, most salespeople don’t make good project managers. Let the salespeople continue with relationship-building, freeing up their time to sell more and matters will usually go much more smoothly.
2. Pay attention to the inside game.
Let the salespeople continue with relationship-building, freeing up their time to sell more.
Salespeople and the technical “inside” staff often don’t see eye-to-eye about what’s important. Salespeople tend to want to minimize the amount of desk time they have to put into a sale. We can’t blame them for that, it’s how they’re wired. In fact, their total compensation, value to their company and even their sense of self-worth is based on moving on to close the next sale.
The internal staff – the overlay resources – are the engine of a complex sale. They have multiple priorities, thrive in a calm work environment and strive for technical excellence. They’re also usually on salary, which is decided by a combination of their prowess and how they get along with the salespeople. It’s a bit of a juggling act.
We’ve found that sometimes the inside people see the sales types as aggressive, loud and disorganized. The sales people in turn see the inside staff as uncooperative, reclusive and hard to work with. It’s a two-way street of misunderstandings and missed opportunities.
Education is the key to solving this problem. Letting the salespeople understand the processes that the various outlay resources must follow, and what information those people need to best do their jobs is paramount. Another part of the solution lies in better information flow. You want to have everyone understanding the steps involved, which steps have been completed and where bottlenecks may be developing.
3. Consider process solutions that will move the process forward.
Sales Beacon’s proprietary Days of the Week team management methodology is a great fit for this type of complex sales project. It keeps all staff aware of the tasks at hand, giving real-time updates and allowing everyone a clear big-picture view of the entire project. It allows managers to focus on what they do best, with minimal frustration for the company’s support staff.
Our business support software helps select times for meetings, record action items, provide a project workflow and flag missed items so that prompt action can be taken.
Demonstrating success is another big factor. If all parties involved see how efficient a new system works (we have a 99% success rate) they will buy-in and do their part, allowing their project to work at peak efficiency in their pursuit of a common goal.
Big sales, like big fishes, need a teamwork approach. Manage it like a project, with a strong manager at the wheel, the right support crew working hard and keep reeling in that line. That’s how you catch the big one!
Want to learn more about how Sales Beacon can help close big, complicated deals? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.