Inbound Marketing & Sales Development Inspiration

How to Close a Big Sale – A 10-Step Plan

Posted June 6, 2013
4 minute read

Ask any B2B sales professional this question – “Would you rather land one $50,000 sale or 10 $5,000 sales?” and most would choose the big one. The bigger the sales opportunity, the more prepared and dedicated you need to be. Closing a big sale requires an organized
sales process. So, once you identify the big opportunity and determine why your products and services are a good fit, we recommend the following 10-step approach to close the deal.

Step 1 – Identify All the Buyers in the Organization and What’s Important to Each of Them

At first glance you may think there’s only one decision maker, but think again. In larger organizations there are up to four buyer types in the decision process. They are

  • Economic/Strategic Buyer – likely the one with the most authority because the results will impact him/her the most. This could be a VP of Marketing or Finance or some other organizational group.
  • User Buyer – likely someone operationally or project focused that may be the main user of the product/service. This person probably reports to the Economic/Strategic Buyer.
  • Technical/Systems Buyer – this is someone who has a stake in the game because the solution affects other company systems for which he/she may be responsible for managing.
  • “Coach” – the person inside the organization who is your “coach” – someone on your side who wants you to get the sale. This is a critical and often overlooked element.

In addition to accurately identifying the various buyers in the organization, you also need to determine what is important to each and what their individual needs and goals are.

Step 2 – Understand the Need and What to Offer to Satisfy Each of the Buyers

You know who your various “buyers” are (see Step 1) and you know your products/services can add value to the organization. Now you must think about how you’ll customize your messages to satisfy the needs of each buyer. Clearly your “technical buyer” is going to
seek things different from those sought by your “user buyer”.

Step 3 - Get a Grasp of the Financials

What do you think the customer is spending currently on related products/services? What do you think their budget might be based on annual revenues and/or profit estimates?
How much will your solution cost and what are the revenue gains and/or cost savings for your customer.

Calculate the estimated ROI of your solution and how long it will take for your customer to generate a 100% return on their investment. After all, “hard ROI” probably represents the most compelling reason your customer should buy.

Finally, understand what the investments are on your end to win the deal.
Naturally, if the time and expense to make a superior attempt at getting the business is significant compared to the gross margin your company will make, you need to re-consider.

Step 4 – Your Competition

With whom are you competing for the business? Who is the incumbent, if there is one? What do they do and not do well? How is your solution superior? These are important questions to answer in order to hone your messaging during the sales process (see Step 2 above and Step 6 below).

Step 5 – What Investments Do You Need to Make?

A lot goes into winning a big contract – time, materials, research, etc. You need to determine what is needed to complete this process and who should be involved in getting the elements completed. As stated earlier, if the task is too daunting and/or expensive, you should reconsider. Additionally, determine who will be the lead contact for each of the buyers, and is the deal worthy of their investment in time.

Step 6 – What are Your Marketing Messages?

Your marketing messages will be a “make” or “break” element. You need to
craft three types of marketing messages as follows:

  • Your “Killer Argument” – this demonstrates you have the capability to do the job. Perhaps it’s an example of how you did it for another company or maybe a case study that describes a similar situation.
  • Your competitive difference – at some point in the process you’ll need to articulate why your product/service is superior. Getting this honed up front is critical.
  • Your “ghosting discriminators” - what can you say about your products/services that implies a weakness of the competition?

Step 7 – Your Pre-Sell Contact Plans

What will be your contact plan during the pre-sale process and how will you customize it to reach each of the “buyers” (see Step 1 above)? Will you reach them through your “inside coach”, use a “drip campaign”, make direct contact or some other way to get the communications going? Don’t launch the first contact until you have thought through your entire communications plan.

Step 8 – What Questions and Objections will They Have?

What questions will each of your buyers have about your company, about you, about your products/services? What objections might each have relative to considering your company? Preparing well to address these questions and objections will enable you to communicate confidently and effectively.

Step 9 – What will Your Sales Presentation Consist Of?

When you get an audience to formally pitch your value, what are the most important elements of that presentation? You’ll certainly want to think back about Steps 2, 6 and 8.
Addressing what’s most important to each of the buyers (Step 2), sending the right marketing messages (Step 6) and proactively responding to the questions and objections you predict will likely result in a successful pitch…or at least one that makes them say “wow”.

Step 10 – What are the Optimal Closing Approaches?

There’s tons of way to ask for the sale. Which ones will you be prepared to execute? “Window of Opportunity”, “Pilot Project”, “Alternative Close”, etc. Choose the 2-3 potential closing methods and predict the reaction you might get from each of the buyers.

When going after the big sale, follow this 10-Step process and you’ll be surprised how much your closing rate increases.

Topics Sales, Leadership & Management

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