Building on previous blogs, change is hard and in complex selling environments, a business case is typically required as part of the buying process. They will vary in formality and content, but in the land of consensus decision making, the business case for change is the one common denominator that can unite all the stakeholders that are part of the buying process. The 5.4 people who are going to show up will come from different functions, with different priorities and perspectives. These differences, more often than not, lead to “no decisions”. The business case focuses on the benefit for their organization [and potentially their function], but can create common ground because it aligns with their priorities.

Regardless of how well structured their buying process may be, buyers often get stuck because they do not know how to define their needs based on what you may be selling and then to define the criteria to judge the vendors that they will invite to the party. They may have never bought this product type before or potentially not for a very long time. So, how can you help the process and create differentiation/advantage at the same time?

One of the Sales Process tactics that we have recommended to some clients is called a “Diagnostic” process. As a formalized Sales Process phase that aligns to how most clients buy, the recommendation is to develop a Tactical Playbook of approaches to work with the client to build the Business Case for Change. Assuming that you developed the opportunity, this is an early stage sales activity. In practise, if you believe you have a qualified opportunity, then you would make an investment with the clients team to gather the Evidence of the opportunity/problem and to quantify the Impact of staying in the status quo. At this point, you have avoided the overwhelming temptation and have not introduced your whiz-bang solution. This is only about the client and their world.

As you move forward and show your product/service, you can create context and relevance through a customized conversation because you actually understand what is going on in their world. In many scenarios, you may know more about their world than the client does and it creates an opportunity to further educate and enhance credibility. Your solution and business proposal are also strengthened because you are aligning your value story to the economics and rationale for change.

I have been in front of many Fortune 500 sales organizations in the past year talking about the concept of a “Tactical Playbook” and how you establish value and create momentum with every interaction. I tend to get a lot of blank stares when I pose the question, which upon exploration is because there is a void. Most Managers and Reps do their own thing which has made them successful, but not surprisingly this also leads to very different results.

As sales leaders, there is a real opportunity to develop the tools, training and skill development to sell in a more consistent and efficient manner. The approach also aligns to how clients are buying and supports their education and building the Business Case for Change. Your teams sell different and sound different if they believe in the opportunity because it is supported by facts. The other benefit is you get treated different because you have moved out of the vendor category because of your business acumen and perspective that helps align the stakeholders on the clients team.

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