"When you pit your idea against your client’s idea, they’re likely to choose their own, even when yours is the better solution." - Anthony Iannarino, author of Eat Their Lunch and The Lost Art of Closing
Maybe it is time to flip the script on the way we sell but for context, read more on quota breath here.
Your client CFO is interested in your B2BFintech because her objective is to get more cash in the door. Your End Users need an improved experience for their Clients to move them through the digital front door faster and with better quality data. The End User's Managers on the other hand need productivity reports, transaction level details and the ability to roll up the Daily Cash to the CFO. Your Sales teams want bigger, longer-term deals = $$$$.
In this scenario, who is the Client? The Sales team will tell you it's the CFO and that's where they focus. The Support team will tell you it's the End Users and the Deployment/Professional Services/AM teams will tell you it's the Managers. The problem is they are all correct which means treating each of those personas at the client as such, not just the CFO who will sign the contract.
But what if you can create bigger, longer-term deals just by flipping your existing script?
From the start, the CFO needs to hear how you get more sustained cash through the door. The Managers need to understand how easy reporting is and how helpful your technology is with regards to adoption and retaining their own Clients. Your End Users need to know their workflow will change but most importantly, why changing the workflow is a good idea and important to the organization. When the workflow is changed and the reporting isn't as smooth as expected or it's not as easy to see the cash in the door, to whom will the Managers/End Users complain at the first opportunity? **Hint: it's not your Support team. When this happens, and you know it does, your teams will spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get back into the CFOs office. She does not care about the issues list, her expectation is that the system she bought to bring cash in the door actually brings cash in the door.
The first thing you do during any sale is listen. To pain points, to industry trends, and to the client themselves. Your teams can craft a story for that Client (the CFO, the Managers, and the Users) that tells the complete story of their current 'pain' and how your platform solves for it from start to end. Your job is to tailor the conversation to the audience. For example, the CFO will not care too much about how the End User workflow changes, but will care greatly about the output and she can expect down the road. When you speak to the End User, and you absolutely should during the Sales Cycle, focus on the importance of their work and what the organization intends with the improved data flow. The 'art' is in touching the emotions of each stakeholder as you help them create the story for the conversations they will have amongst themselves when you're not there. Here is the most important part: Everyone who touches that client must be telling the same story, no matter who they are speaking with. That means Marketing, Sales, the Trusted Advisor, and any Executives who are interacting with the Client can reinforce the story. Crafting this customized Client story is really hard work and few are doing this really well because someone not only does someone have to craft the story for the client but then it takes time for everyone to learn it, all while the sales pipeline train is moving. This is where you'll really smell quota breath. Ew.
The next/concurrent thing to do is introduce the Trusted Advisor during the Sales Cycle (Discovery) to mitigate Relationship Debt. Be very clear about the roles and share that with the Client. It can be a tremendous value-add to introduce the TA as someone "who will continue to work with you and help you optimize the investments you make with us." Remember, all the CFO wants to do is increase Cash but you want to solve for 'more' which means you need to find the value story that will resonate with her for the 'more'. Your Trusted Advisor is positioned to understand not only the platform in detail but also has extensive industry insights and can help her 'avoid' common pitfalls while preparing for what the future holds. Additionally, you'll need whisperers on the team who can help you tell the story of why the 'more' is beneficial for the ENTIRE organization. Our suggestion is to let the Trusted Advisor (TA) own and craft the success story with Sales and Marketing because the TA will own the performance and client-KPIs post Sale but all of those teams will have resources involved in developing the client relationship. Part of the 'art' of this storytelling is making the Client see that what you're proposing is what they already know they need.
But lets be clear - Sales owns and closes the deal, manages all proposals and negotiation. The TA steps back, provides consultative support to both the Sales team and the Client. Be clear with all of your Client personas about these roles upfront. The minute the Client thinks the TA is Sales, you'll by default convert the TA role to Sales in the Client's eyes.
In a future blog, we'll discuss how to build a Trusted Advisor team from the people you probably already have in your organization and how it fits with Sales support to grow and retain ARR! In the mean time, subscribe to this blog (top right), follow us on LinkedIn, or schedule a free 30 minute consultation.