Recently I got one of those tough questions which cause you to stop and reflect on both the question and the possible answer(s). Here is the question…
Do I need to think big and go for everything I can get? or, Do I think smaller and take what I can at the moment?
How many of you are agreeing this is a tough question. How do you feel about the question and your position regarding this potential dilemma.
How many of you think going for everything is the right move? And, how many of you think getting what you can at the moment is best?
Okay, my answer is…
You do Both.
Let’s look at the possibilities regarding which method to use and when.
First, going big or asking for everything you can possibly include in your offer.
When you are optimistic and driven to succeed we want to capture everything we can get in one situation due to our need for efficiency ( one contract ) and ego ( I closed the biggest deal this month ). And, who is to question that attitude for a b2b sales person.
However, the true is you need the following points to support you actions for going BIG…
- A positive track record with the customer
Going for everything the first time is a high risk activity unless the customer has seen how you deliver results and keep things on schedule. This is a critical factor for big contract sales.
- An extension of an existing contract with this customer
When a customer has a similar contract in place and they want to expand the performance of your contract, this is the lowest risk you can have. Experience, expectations and expertise are all working in your favor – close the deal.
- The Customer has experience with large contracts and is expecting yours
One of the things I look for when interacting with a possible new client is whether they have had experience in using big contracts in the past. This experience level with dealing with larger numbers reduces the fear levels in placing their eggs in your nest. Find out what level of experience the decision maker has and it will provide the answer as to your b2b sales strategy.
- You have extensive Brand awareness and a networked Buzz about your methods
Some decision makers want to deal with the Name Brand companies and their products or services. When they deal with a Name Brand company they are expecting a higher price that comes with the built in safety net of the Name Brand company. The old saying of “you get what you pay for” is very true in this scenario.
The above factors will support your drive for thinking big with your b2b sales efforts. And, the old saying of “fish for whales since it takes the same amount of time” are popular reasons for going on the big side of b2b sales and contracts. That being said, there are situations requiring more caution or a slower pace relative to the size of contracts or offerings.
So, let’s look into the reasons for “Thinking Small” when going after accounts. What factors do you need to find to go small in the beginning of a customer relationship. Here are the things to think about for going small…
- The Customer has NO Experience with Large Contracts
This is meaningful, if they have no experience in dealing with large contracts you will encounter sticker shock from the large numbers. One method I have found useful is to offer multiple options ranging from a smaller sales up to a larger more comprehensive solution. Remember the decision maker is more concerned about their risk than your agenda, help them out. And, yes, make the larger option very enticing with recognizable benefits and advantages for them.
- This is a First Time purchase of a bigger concept
Most b2b sales people don’t even think about this possibility, yet, it is a game changer. A first time buyer with no experience in buying your big conceptual sale with have major credibility gaps to overcome before even moving through a buying cycle much less a sales process. Here the major objective would be to pare the opportunity down to a level of a possible pilot or test project at a lower contract level. This allows the decision maker to understand the process and eventually move the larger contract arena.
- You have no experience or track record with this customer
Another credibility issue for you to overcome. Here you need to line up a number of references and testimonials to show your prospect how well you work with your customers. The more you can engage the prospect with actual existing customers – even a plant tour to show your company interacting with the customer – will build a trust level to buy something from you as their test drive.
- The customer is totally satisfied with their current relationship
Think about the old sales training 101 concept of the “salami slice” method of selling. It is designed to pick up a small section of the business or becoming the secondary source for your product line in their business. Anything you can do to get into the account, allows you to gain traction with the buyer – building the relationship needed to go for the bigger sale.
- Your Brand is not as well recognized in the marketplace.
This is one of the toughest jobs when selling to “corporate type” decision makers. Their major theme is to be safe and taking no risk which could draw negative attention to them. So, here you need to have a joint strategy of building a bond or relationship with the decision makers – while at the same time showing how quietly any transition to your products would be. Remember their safety is the most important thing on their minds, so consistently show them how safe it is doing business with you.
There you have the major factors for thinking small in your b2b sales efforts and contracts.
Use this information about targeted accounts to develop your targeted account strategy and plans. Whether you are working on an annual, quarterly or monthly plan – use these guidelines in determining your sales strategy for entry or expansion.