Now, at the end you win USD 10 Million and the return on invest of everyone’s time has doubled or in other words: increased by 100%!
How do you do that?
Applying “Lean” means that you only participate in an RFQ where you truly feel that you have a realistic chance winning this account. Plus, you can prove it. Be honest to yourself, in how many instances of participating in an RFQ do you have a trusting relationship to the decision maker?
What`s wrong with sales pipelines
I am not talking about existing customers (yet the relationship is often neglected in a way that sales people only visit their contacts when an RFQ is launched…) but new ones. Yet, almost every sales pipeline I have seen does not ask you about the level of engagement you have with your customer. Even if it does, it is not the driving decision criterion of the sales manager reviewing the pipeline whether to participate in an RFQ or not. The pipeline has to be “full” so everyone else watching pipeline can see the sales squad is working on several, good opportunities.
The relationship building starts well in advance of an RFQ invite (see my other article https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/pricing-platforms-give-your-sales-team-hard-time-closing-nowroth/), in order that you understand pain points, driving deciding factors of the decision maker etc. Otherwise, you are just being used as a benchmark.
So, if a sales rep kills half of the accounts she is working on and focuses instead on the 50% where she truly has a relationship and her gut feel tells she has the biggest chance she will increase dramatically her chances being successful! There are other benefits too:
She allows here team mates from related departments to allocate a sharper focus when quoting and investing more time into an RFQ which really matters. Hence, details will not get overlooked and you can come up with a more customised solution
Even in some cases means where she might not save 50% time, each hour invested has a much higher chance of ROI than the former method!
The 1/3 rule
One fundamental rule best-selling author Stephan Schiffman created in the 80`s is the “1/3” rule:
One third of accounts you get no matter what you do (unless you are utterly incompetent)
One third you do not get no matter what you do (your competition might be married to the decision maker or the client just doesn’t fit your own organization)
One third is where it makes sense you invest more time and where you can make the difference.
The trick is to determine as early as possible in the sales process in which category your prospect falls (Ideally Point 1 and 3).
Besides rating the relationship you hold, use that method when you review your current RFQ list.
Before asking your colleagues or your manager next time in investing their time supporting you in the RFQ you owe them the surety that you do have such a strong relationship and hence a realistic chance winning the account. Their time is precious – and so is yours.