Building credibility in the early stages of a major account development process may be one of the biggest hurdles for a first-time supplier Therefore, helping defuse concerns about non-performance is the best way to reduce that risk for stakeholders around a decision to hire your firm.
In general there are 3 "functional" roles around a decision:
1. cheque signer and/or champion
2. influencer (an indirect beneficiary of your service eg. service groups such as legal or marketing)
3. implementer and/or user group: those resposible for delivering a project
Each of the 3 roles respond to different sorts of validation.
1. Cheque signers and/or champions want to know about your firm's
a) accountability, transparency
b) where the buck stops in the case of non-performance
c) the demands of time and resources you will make on their people.
Anticipate these kinds of concerns and answer them before they are asked. When choosing which of your many "features & benefits" you will present, even in a preliminary discussion, head off a cheque signer's concerns by focusing on:
2. Influencers' questions may sound like they are unrelated to an initiative that is being discussed. You may want to talk about how your firm would develop a solution while an influencer may ask about your documentation or about your success measures.
Offer to give influencers:
a) pro forma pricing examples
b) standard service agreements your firm uses
c) sample scope of work statements used by your firm
Offering these documents before they ask for them can build credibility with influencers because it shows that your firm is sensitive to their processes and that your are an experienced supplier.
3. Implementers are frequently subject-matter experts. Their questions are often about how you do your work.These may be the people you have the most comfort with because they understand the value of what you do.
Offer to give implementers:
a) demonstrations of your work processes
b) documentation on expertise in your firm
c) illustrations of outcomes
Implementers may give what sound like "buying signals" when they appreciate your firm's work. They may even ask for a statement of work or pricing. Don't be fooled.
Budget authority in this group usually relates to annual line items, goods or services purchased every year. If your service or product is in this year's budget, the supplier has most likely been identified.
Customizing your message to the roles people have in the decision to hire your firm increases your impact with stakeholders inside large, complex organizations.
Catherine Mcquaid is a Big Game Hunter in the Urban Jungle. Her clients are mid-sized business services firms who want to win consulting assignments with the Fortune 1000. Trained as a semiotician/literature critic, she now runs a key account acquisition business.
Her strategies for getting into large companies and getting very senior executives to open the door to the C-suite can be used by big game hunters everywhere. She writes on Major Account Acquisition strategies.
Connect / Follow: blog, Twitter, LinkedIn.
To contact directly: email, phone, 416.923.0877; Skype cmcquaid