Dealing with the Consequences of Inaction

Posted by Bob Apollo on Sun 8-Mar-2009

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You've found a well-qualified prospect with an urgent need that you have a superior solution for.  You've helped them through the sales process and other competitive vendors have been eliminated.  Congratulations!

But now you have to confront the strongest competitor of all - the tendancy, in these risk averse times, for buyers to fall back and determine that their best choice right now is to preserve the status quo and decide to make "no decision".

"No decision" is a fearsome competitor. If you can't master it, there is a serious risk that your well-qualified deal will end up going nowhere.  How can vendors take steps to avoid this outcome?

Firstly, in the current climate, having a strong ROI is a necessary but frequently inadequate element of your proposal.  Competing against no decision requires that you elevate the consequences of inaction in the minds of your prospect.  You need to help them come to terms with the thought that bad things are likely to happen if they simply continue with the status quo - you need to be positioning yourself as the lowest risk option.

Next, you need to understand your prospect's approvals process.  These are increasingly complex and lengthy, and frequently require influencing people who are inaccesible to you.  By now, your competition is probably a bunch of completely different projects, or a decision not to spend any money at all.  You need to ensure that you have equipped your champion inside the prospect to do your selling for you.

Finally, whatever the outcome, you need to ensure that you learn from the exercise by conducting a proper independent win-loss analysis.  These should never be left to the sales person responsible - there is simply too much valuable learning that could be lost.

Hopefully, you'll be celebrating a win.  If you've put into practice the recommendations in this and my last two blogs, you'll already be in the top quartile amongst your peers in terms of sales effectiveness.

Topics: B2B Marketing, CRM, Complex Sales