Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Discovery - Fail Early, Fail Cheaply

Far too many sales opportunities run far too long, for a range of reasons.  One simple example is not asking questions about “show-stopper” requirements early enough. 

A show-stopper issue is exactly that – is it an issue or requirement on the part of the customer that is:

1.       Absolutely required
2.       Non-negotiable
3.       Not available from you, the vendor (and there is not reasonable work-around)

A simple example of this is a customer who absolutely, positively desires an in-house implementation installed on their own servers (and you only offer SaaS, with no possibility for installation on customers’ servers).  For some customers, this might be a objection that can be overcome, but for others their position may be fixed and unchangeable.

It is best to understand this early in the sales process, during Discovery, rather than later on, to avoid unnecessary investment by both the customer and the vendor in demos, additional meetings and other discussions.  Imagine how the customer Champion would feel, after organizing a series of demo meetings for key players in multiple departments, to learn that the solution simply won’t fit!  (Very angry).  And then imagine what that ex-Champion would tell his or her peers at the next conference about that vendor…!

Contemplate making a list of show-stopper questions or issues to add to your Discovery documents and outlines – and be prepared to ask these questions during Discovery.

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