About 10-15 years ago, megadeals, especially IT service megadeals, were worth hundreds of millions of dollars… and in some cases, billions! IT service providers were set up to successfully manage and pursue these very large deals effectively.
With time, clients moved more towards smaller, shorter-term, multi-vendor sourcing models which has seen a reduction in the megadeal.
However, over the last year or so, Revenue Storm has seen an increasing number of complex, multi-national strategic deals that we are being engaged to coach. While there are less deals in the billions of dollars category, there are certainly opportunities that need to be won in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.
Here is the thing… we keep finding that in many cases, organizations have not developed the culture, skills, structure, and know-how to successfully execute these large sales opportunities.
Strategic Deal DNA – What Is It?
Simply put, in order to be consistently successful in winning large, complex sales opportunities, sales organizations need to be structured and managed in a way where these opportunities receive the focus and support they require. Our approach to megadeals needs to become part of our culture – our DNA.
If we are going to invest significant resources, money, and time pursuing these deals, then something needs to change. Everyone from senior management across the organization needs to embody a winning mentality and be willing to do whatever it takes in supporting our pursuit teams to win.
Below we share what we believe to be just some of the key components required to establish a culture focused on winning strategic sales deals.
A pursuit leader – just one please…
More than any other issue we see when coaching strategic deals is a lack of clarity as to who the pursuit leader is. Who is it that has overall responsibility for this sales opportunity?
A team needs one captain. In winning strategic sales deals, this needs to be a seasoned sales executive with the necessary experience, leadership skills, and absolute passion to win. They should inspire and lead our pursuit team while gaining the support of senior management. They must have the gravitas to instil confidence in our client!
If we are unclear as to who is responsible for the sales engagement, then imagine how confusing it must be for clients.
Pursuit Team Members
In addition to our pursuit leader, a strategic deal requires a core team of professionals who are passionate about winning as a team. They should be dedicated to this deal, while each representing their specific areas of specialization.
Depending on the type of business being pursued, we would typically expect to see a core team comprising of five to six colleagues, including a bid manager, finance / pricing, commercial / contracts, technical / solution, delivery / operations, etc.
Additionally, as the sales pursuit gains momentum, we need to build confidence with our client that we understand the importance of continuity beyond the sale. We need our account executive designate and our operations / delivery executive designate to become involved in client meetings and presentations.
A sales coach can also become an invaluable addition to the team. Bringing external eyes, even on a part-time basis once every few weeks, will deliver real value and help to keep the team focused on critical issues.
Finally, we need an executive sponsor. This would be a member of our executive team actively involved in support of this sales opportunity and someone we can position with senior client executives at the appropriate time.
Operational Structure and Cadence
Even though it is more difficult in this virtual age, a pursuit team should be provided with a dedicated physical space to operate from – a war room, if you like – where daily meetings led by our bid manager take place.
It is at these meetings we discuss matters as a core team, voice opinions, raise suggestions and take action for the next 24 hours. Again, this approach improves efficiency and clarity of purpose.
These weekly meetings are chaired by our regional sales officer and supported by the regional heads of all other business lines – delivery / operations, finance, HR, technical, etc.
The purpose of these meetings is to enable our pursuit leaders to bring operational or resourcing requests directly to senior management for decision-making and real-time actions. This will prevent unnecessary delay of escalation and maintain the momentum of the sales pursuit.
As a team, the application of evidence-based sales tools is critical.
At Revenue Storm, we track deal progress against six key areas – competitive strategy (including our win theme), client decision-making process, relationship superiority, political alignment, value proposition, and pursuit momentum.
Lastly, measuring the strength of our client relationships is critical. Have we mapped these? Do we have at least one partner ally in the base of power?
If we are really serious about winning more than our fair share, then it is probably time to examine how well we are prepared to send our pursuit teams into battle.
As sales managers, let’s take it upon ourselves to initiate a review of our state of readiness to compete and win strategic sales deals. A good place to start could be to arrange our first target meeting for a live, large sales opportunity. Bring our peers from the other lines of business together to initiate the development of our own strategic deal culture. Who knows… it may lead us back to this approach becoming part of our DNA once again.