In a recent sales opportunity we (the seller and myself acting as a sales coach) were charged with providing a competitive quote on unified communications (UC) products. The company already uses UC, so the quote is simply an upgrade. The seller assembled the quote, listing all of the necessary hardware, software, and services to move their client to the latest version. The problem here is, the proposal has no differentiation! It’s commodity product, necessary services, and a price. You might say your uniqueness is in your people or your certifications, or perhaps you are the go-to provider for that brand of UC. But in this case, you don’t have a platform to demonstrate value, so no one is going to see it. What do you do?
The answer is in the discovery process. Most of these deals are assigned to a presales technical person. The sales rep has simply become a relationship manager, adding no value to the deal. The technical person is generally too technical to effectively interact with the decision maker. So the sales person and decision maker wait on opposite sides of the deal, the sales person hoping for a “yes”, and the decision maker checking against budget and competitive quotes. Instead of sitting on the side lines, my client and I put some business level questions together to help us uncover the business needs surrounding this upgrade.
- How does this prospect use their current unified communications platform?
- What applications are they using with their phones
- How do they use collaboration technology – how could they be more efficient if they knew more about it?
- What are they not using, that would really add to their current business process?
This list goes on, but the point is, IT can’t answers these questions. They may have an opinion, but it won’t be accurate. These questions are asset owner questions. Behind them is the understanding that someone is running a department that would benefit if they knew more about the power of UC. With this in hand, the seller now has the opportunity to compare their findings with the technical findings their engineer will come up with. With both in hand, the seller can now advise the client on how to change the way they do business. Chances are, if the seller spends enough time with the top producers in this company, they will discover some of the secrets behind high performing employees, tie some of this success back to technology, and find ways to improve the current process with the latest upgrades, features, and add-ons available on a UC platform. This is what it means to provide value – an effective value proposition.
Stay tuned for next month’s Free webinar – mark you calendar for June 8, Leveraging the Discovery Process to Justify New Business.
© 2011, David Stelzl