We get it.
When a salesperson is making a pitch, the clearest path forward is to begin a relationship with the decision-maker. A warm introduction saves time, saves energy, and comes with a built-in advocate.
But what if by thinking short-term and skipping straight to the inside track, a salesperson misses out on a massive opportunity to improve their sales process, learn more about their account’s long-term potential, and win more deals?
In today’s technology environment, large enterprises are looking for partnership with their vendors. They want to be told what they could be doing better, and they want a potential vendor to know them well enough to identify exactly how their product can dramatically improve operations for the enterprise.
Don’t take our word for it. Jim Fortner, the former CIO & CTO of Procter and Gamble puts it this way: “You need to be seen as a strategic advisor to the company—come in and tell me something I don’t know, and then we’ll talk technology. If [technology vendors] want to be around for a while, they have to understand how to partner.”
Enter the Emissary
This is where our community members become the perfect liaison between a large enterprise and a seller who is focused on the account. There is guidance that an Emissary can provide that goes far beyond the names of contacts who might usher in a technology vendor. That guidance is diverse, and invaluable to an intelligent seller.
We believe that the value of the insights our Emissaries possess is immeasurable, and that an introduction is a fraction of the potential that a seller can be mining throughout an engagement.
What does this guidance look like? We’ve seen it time and time again.
Cracking the org chart code
As we discussed in a recent blog post, org charts are hardly the treasure maps they once were, particularly when you’re relying on information easily found on public databases.
Our Emissary Jodi Watson, former SVP/CMO of Petco knows
this well. “Just because somebody has the title doesn’t mean that’s the person who’s creating the action. With absolute consistency I can say, in my career, that never has somebody with the title actually been the nexus of a vendor relationship, or the start of a vendor relationship”, said Jodi.
Often a seller will believe they’ve pinpointed the exact person they should be talking to, only to discover, with an Emissary’s help, that they’ve been barking up the wrong proverbial tree.
An org chart is like hieroglyphics without their meaning – you
need an expert to decipher them. With the benefit of an Emissary’s experience, a seller can hit their outreach target rather than miss the mark time and again.
Become a problem-solver
Thomas Martin, experienced Emissary and former VP of Digital at GE, offers this guidance to the leaders of any growing tech team: “You always have to look through the lens of the business and how a new technology can provide value,” Thomas said. “Then you bring the best technology to the table.”
If a seller wants to know how to pitch to a company, they have to first understand that company well enough to rattle off pain points, areas of improvement, and how their solution can step in to save the day. That seller can either spend months doing painstaking research on their own, or they can talk to an Emissary, whose experience gives them a mental roadmap to their former employer’s goals.
In many cases, speaking with your advisor about major challenges can uncover an opportunity that is much, much larger than anticipated.
Long story short, there’s no point in getting an introduction to a decision-maker if you do not understand what sort of burning problems you alone can solve for them. Starting here will guarantee a better value prop.
Course correct to save a deal
A salesperson may have the best technology product on the planet, and they may have a match made in heaven with a specific enterprise, but if they don’t know where their product fits within the organization, they’re searching for a light switch in a dark room.
An Emissary flips the light on, and says, “Over here, not there. This line of business, not that one. Your opportunity resides in this department, not just any department.” And sometimes the best feedback an Emissary can offer is to cease and desist.
Maybe an Emissary’s former employer sees absolutely no value in ad tech, or it could be that the CEO’s nephew created their data storage platform.
Heading unfruitful efforts off at the pass saves a sales organization untold time, energy, and money, and opens the door to other opportunities that are more likely to yield results.
Who wouldn’t want an oracle of sorts to stop them in their tracks when they’re headed down the road toward disappointment? In other words, who wouldn’t want to head confidently toward the success of a closed deal?
Follow the shortest path to success
The trail to a closed-won deal is way too long and treacherous to leave to chance. The good news is: there are hints along the way; signposts that, if followed, will make the path smooth instead of rocky, and dramatically shorten the length of a sales cycle.
Say a seller is pitching one of the largest CPG companies in the world, but that CPG company is all about cutting costs. The Emissary knows that the current solution is expensive, and the seller knows that the price point for their competitive solution is lower.
Result? A new value prop tied to a crucial budgetary initiative, that could move their offering up in priority, changing everything.
An Emissary can provide similar guidance on the political landscape within often-complex work structures, or help to shape messaging so that it lands on open – not deaf – ears.
Why go it alone when a tour guide, who knows every shortcut and pitfall, is at your disposal?
Unveil the unknowns
We end with the ominous unknowables – aka, the unknown unknowns. These are the questions a salesperson doesn’t know to ask. We’ve coordinated thousands of engagements, and one of the best questions a seller can ask an Emissary is: “What am I not asking?”
At this point, the Emissary often takes a deep breath, and runs down a long mental list. There’s little that wouldn’t be valuable to a potential technology vendor. This is typically when an Emissary will remember tidbits of information that may have fallen through the cracks; tidbits that may have a huge impact on a seller’s ability to develop a growing, long-lasting partnership with the account.
For example: a purchasing budget for infrastructure recently being cut, or a very recent new hire within the IT leadership who is particularly keen on what a seller may be offering. A seller who is humble enough to tackle their blind spots – as well as the known unknowns – will often be rewarded.
Eyes on the prize
Bottom line: an introduction is like the cherry on top. Skip the ice cream and the cherry has nothing to stand on; it topples off and gets lost in the mix.
The wise seller sees the necessity of addressing foundational strategy in order to build a meaningful relationship with an enterprise when they do get that first meeting.
And although the cherry tastes the sweetest, the ice cream is really what we’re after, isn’t it?