Should the Exec Team Get Involved in Pursuing Large Deals?
Yes, the executive team definitely needs to be involved in pursuing large accounts and RFPs. When Sarbanes-Oxley came out, the rules of the game, and how companies do things, changed.
The biggest change was in corporate governance, which now requires a more defined buying process with RFPs in place. After Sarbanes-Oxley, companies had to show that they were being responsible, getting RFPs and paying attention to money and how they pursued large accounts. This really changed the game.
Back in “the old days,” you were able to do things in a self-sourced manner. At that time, you were able to do deals with friends, based on relationships, on a handshake, and out on the golf course.
You can still do things that from the perspective that relationships still matter. But now, if it’s going to be a big deal, with a lot of money changing hands, there is a lot of risk to the company and they have to be sure that you did your homework.
The buyer now has to do their homework in order to avoid putting anyone at risk. This requires jumping through a lot more hoops and involves a lot more people. It’s much more complex, and you’ll now be scrutinized a lot more.
So in our perspective, the complexity of landing a large account has gone up exponentially. So looking at it now, there’s a lot more to it. For example, you need a process to counteract their process, which includes a matrix of touch points. This includes asking questions such as:
- What things happened all along the way?
- Who needs to be touched?
- How often do you need to reach out and touch them?
- What’s an appropriate way of doing that?
You need to know the hierarchy of influencers. Who are going to be all the players? Not just decision makers because in a normal consultative sell, you will hear people say, “Well, who’s the decision maker? Who’s the one who can say yes versus the one who can say no?”
That’s just not the way it works in large accounts. In large accounts, everybody has the right to say no and it just takes one of them to kill the deal.
No one person can say yes or now and override everyone else. That’s why we say you need a hierarchy of the influencers and decision makers. You may even need involvement from those in the supply chain or however you do fulfillment, whether it’s a service or a product or raw materials.
With large accounts, you’ll need to have more people involved in the supply chain, and you’ll have to provide way more proof of your ability to deliver. You’ll also have to be much more transparent than you’ve ever been before.
The only way that all of this can be accomplished is to have the executive team involved. Regardless of how good a salesperson is, he can’t do it alone.