You know there’s a promising opportunity at a high-priority account. Leading up to this point, you’ve landed the pitch, held great conversations with decision-makers, and even received a verbal confirmation from the decision maker. But here’s the hard part – moving into the procurement. It’s an ambiguous process, different at every company, and you feel like you’re going in blind.
This is a make or break point where sellers can misinterpret the silence from the target account and end up making a mistake, like negotiating against themselves. You may think that the client is hesitant due to a price issue, so you offer a discount. Turns out, they really were just looking for a different pay cycle that aligns to their processes – and now, you’re no further to closing the deal.
This is where an Emissary is most helpful. It can be difficult to cut through red tape, but having an inside advisor who used to work at the company will give you the intel you need to demystify this ambiguous final stage of the buying process by walking you through timelines, organizational complexities, buying cycles, and more.
Understanding Procurement Protocol
On the outside looking in, procurement is an uphill battle – different everywhere you go and never as smooth as it could be.
“At almost every company I’ve ever worked with, including a startup,” said Jodi Watson, Emissary and former CMO of Petco, “IT was the longest pathway in the implementation of a project.”
An Emissary can guide you through the process like a sherpa who knows the unique terrain, peaks, and plummets of the account. By arming you with the right information going in – how to get to the right people in the IT department, how long it usually takes, how many steps and bottlenecks there are, how many people need to get their eyes on it (and who they are) – Emissaries help take the guesswork and concern out of procurement.
People and Culture
One of the most difficult parts of procurement is understanding the people behind it all. It’s no longer in the hands of your primary contact – in fact, it could be bouncing around between people you’ve never even heard of before.
By talking with your Emissary, you can understand the people involved and the holdups they may have. This also helps you create a strategy for pushing things forward. For example, a main holdup of their team may just be the time and effort implications in implementing a new system.
“Offer development and implementation team members to implement the solution,” says Watson. “Put a person in your buyer’s office on the ground so that they have access to and can speak directly with experts. Or set up separate meetings with just the IT team, versus the marketing team, because generally, they’re going to have different questions and challenges.”
Budget and Timing
When do budgets become available? When should you follow up, and when should you give them a little more time?
Say you’ve been running a pilot with a client, and you’re getting ready to push for an upsell. Your Emissary could tell you that there’s a budget threshold for new vendors, and anything above that threshold requires a completely different, more lengthy sales cycle. Now, you can tailor your proposal to align to that threshold before you go through that process and cut out the potential frustration and overly-lengthy sales cycle.
Arming you with this type of knowledge gives you a little more control throughout the process – you can then align your strategy to your buyer’s operational procedures to get to Closed-Won quicker and more efficiently.
The way to position the sale during procurement should be different than when you initially pitched. You’ve already captured their attention, proven product fit, and you know they’re interested – now you have to drive home the value.
One of the best ways to help guide your account and communicate value is to demonstrate how you can make the procurement and eventual implementation process as painless as possible for your client and you will increase your odds of winning the business. Show that partnering with you is the path of least resistance, and that doing so will enable them to focus their energies elsewhere.
Navigating unique procurement processes at each of your accounts can be time-consuming and frustrating. That’s why enterprise sellers trust Emissaries to help guide them through the process and make it more seamless and efficient than ever before.