Engagement Foundation

This guide will serve as a resource to drive your introductory conversation as your Engagement kicks-off on Emissary. This resource is in place to provide structure and guidance only. There is no expectation for you to review everything on this list at any set time; please use at your convenience.

Client Background

The following topics and questions are meant to provide a conversation guide for the Sales Rep to introduce their product and its features to the Emissary. Please don’t feel like you have to cover every question in detail (or at all). The goal is to provide sufficient background for the Emissary to help as much as they can.

  • Describe how you long you’ve been with your company.
  • Describe how long have you been in the industry.
  • Describe how long have you been managing the account.
  • Describe any personal connections you have to the target account.
  • Describe where you’re based.
  • Describe the products that you offer.
  • Describe what those products do.
  • Describe your competitor set.
  • Provide a short value prop statement for each of your offerings.
  • Describe a good sales prospect. Describe a bad sales prospect.
  • Explain who the buyer is.
  • Describe the problems that your product(s) solves.
  • Describe who you have spoken with at your target account.
  • Describe any business cases you have identified for your product.
  • Describe any RFP or proposals that have been sent out.
  • Describe the current stage of the deal.
  • Describe how you think the deal is going.
    • Do you feel like you’re speaking to the right stakeholders?
    • Do you have a champion?
    • Does your champion have the influence necessary for the deal to progress?
  • Describe your typical sales process.
    • Describe the average time to close.
    • Describe the titles and roles of the stakeholders in the buying decision.
    • Describe why your buyers decide to go with you rather than your competitors.
    • Describe where in the organization you typically enter.
    • Describe who gets pulled into the buying conversation.
    • Describe where your budget generally comes from.
    • Describe how your contracts generally structured.
  • Describe the differentiators you have in the market.
  • Describe any particular sales methodology your company uses.
  • Describe the stages of your sales funnel and where your current opportunity is.
  • Describe any channel partners. Describe any that might be relevant to this deal.
  • Describe the titles and roles of the people that are involved in the purchase decision.
  • Describe who makes the ultimate decision to buy.
  • Describe the personality types of people most likely to buy and least likely to buy.
  • Describe what makes a good buyer and what makes a bad buyer.
  • Describe the ultimate reasons buyers decide to say yes.
  • Describe the most common places for a deal to stall.
  • Describe any divisions or groups that are generally difficult to deal with.
  • Describe whether and why IT squashes or holds up deals.
  • Describe whether and why procurement squashes or holds up deals?
  • Describe the stages that deals spend the longest in.
  • Describe the problems that your products solve.
  • Describe a relevant case study in the same or analogous industry.
  • Describe any relevant customers to discuss with the target company.
  • Describe who in an organization is the primary beneficiary of your product.
  • Name / job title / what I know about them / my understanding of org chart

Target Account Background

The following topics and questions are meant to provide a conversation guide for the Emissary to provide an overview of their former company. Please don’t feel like you have to cover every question in detail (or at all). The goal is to help the client understand the Target Account and be a better vendor.

  • How long were you with your previous company?
  • What were the positions that you held at your former employer?
  • What did you do at your previous company?
  • What were major projects you led or directed at your previous company?
  • Are you familiar with the client’s products?
    • Have you used them before?
    • Have you purchased them?
    • Have you used any of their competitors?
  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • How are your current relationships with people at your previous company?
    • Do you know people there still?
  • What office(s) did you work in while at the company? Where are you based now?
  • What are the major initiatives at your previous company?
  • Who are the owners or primary contributors to relevant initiatives?
  • What are the motivations driving those corporate initiatives?
  • Is the company going through a growth phase or a cost cutting phase? Why?
  • Is the company in the midst of any major technical overhauls or upgrades? Why?
  • Is there an established vendor that is being replaced? Why?
  • Who are the current relevant vendors in place at the company?
    • Who made the purchasing decision for these vendors?
    • Who owns the relationships with the vendors now?
    • Who is happy with the relationships? Who is unhappy? Why?
  • Are there divisions or BUs that hate working with certain vendors?
  • How are vendors reviewed? Are there vendors that are coming up for review in the next 6-12 months?
  • Are there vendors that are seen as trusted partners? Vendors that have outsized influence over the organization?
  • Are there vendors that have outsized sway over purchasing decisions?
  • Is vendor management controlled centrally or dispersed throughout the BUs?
  • How much of a pain is getting an MSA?
  • What are the politics in play for a vendor decision?
  • Does vendor size play a large role in the selection process?
  • What are pain points in the organization that could be addressed by the client’s product?
  • Are there initiatives that the company wants to undertake but can’t due to structural limitations?
  • Are there areas where the company recognizes that they are behind the curve and want to improve?
  • Are there areas where your former company wants capabilities they don’t have?
  • Are there areas where your former company could make efficiency gains?
  • What are the major business units of the organization?
  • What are the reporting structures within each of those business unit and how do they report to corporate?
  • How autonomous are the business units?
  • What are the shared services that are centralized?
  • Is IT distributed to each business units or centralized?
  • Are there liaison functions between IT and each business unit? What are their titles generally?
  • Could a purchase decision of the client’s product be made at the business unit level?
  • Has there been a major organizational shift in the last 3-5 years? Is there a reorganization planned?
  • Where are the hidden centers of power?
  • Where are the major IT centers located?
  • How are the data centers, development, or IT services located around the country or internationally?
  • How much of the workforce is international or offshored?
  • Are there regions that hold more sway in decision making than others? Why?
  • How does the international organization relate to the domestic US organization?
  • For each of the clients products, who are the major decision makers that would be involved in a purchase decision?
    • What are their names or titles?
    • Who do they report to?
    • Who do they delegate tasks to?
    • Who do they go to for advice?
    • What are their main challenges?
    • What is their personality like?
    • Is their decision making driven more by quantitative or qualitative reasoning? Why?
    • What are their budgets?
  • Are there strong preferences for certain types of vendors or specific vendors?
  • Are there entrenched competitors?
  • Are there significant budget restrictions currently?
  • Is there an organizational mindset working against the client?
  • Is the target company gunshy based on a previous bad experience with a vendor?
  • Are there individuals who will object? If so, why will they object? How can these objections be overcome?
  • How concerned is the target company with security, cost, or reliability?
  • Are there any showstoppers that will prohibit a sale?
  • What is the target company’s fiscal year?
  • What is the budgeting cycle?
  • When are budgets submitted?
  • When are budgets locked?
  • How can a vendor get budget off-cycle?
  • Are there funds that can tapped into off-cycle more easily than others?
  • Are there projects that are currently budgeted that would be relevant to the client?
  • Can a pilot be purchased by a Director or VP?
  • Does the target like to do a limited PoC or wide implementation for a product like the client’s?
  • Is there often “leftover” budget at the end of the year for business units that they must spend? Who owns it?
  • Are there any internal terms or terminology that are unique to the target company?
  • Is there a specific way that insiders refer to the company or to themselves?
  • Are there any hot-button topics or issues that will generate a strong reaction?
  • Is the corporate culture buttoned up and formal or more informal? What kind of presentations are generally successful at the company?
  • Is the company very hierarchical or does it have a flatter management structure?
  • How does their stated public values match with how things are actually done inside?
  • Is there anything “unique” or “special” about the target company?
    • Can you provide an example of a vendor that blew it because they didn’t speak in the same language as the target company?
  • How is the company view itself vs. other competitors in its industry?
    • Who does the company compare itself to?
    • Do they see themselves as an innovator in the industry? More cautious? More established?
  • What companies do they want to be more like?