In an ideal world, your sales team will always be selling to people who have the authority to make a purchasing decision regarding your technology. Well, the world is not ideal and there are many instances when sales team members will have to rely on their primary contact to “internally sell” on your behalf.

If the sales situation involves selling to someone who has to go to his boss for approval, make an assumption that the boss will have five questions. Arm your contact with answers.

Here are the five questions (and associated answering strategies) that will enable your contact to respond to his boss’ questions:

Five questions the boss will ask:

  1. Is it in the budget?
  2. How do we get a return on our investment?
  3. What other options did you consider and why did you select this one?
  4. Why can’t we just use or develop our own technology?
  5. Why should we make this purchase a priority over all our other important business initiatives?

Have sales reps follow these guidelines.

Is it in the budget?

If money for purchasing your technology is in the budget, the answer is simple, “Yes Boss!”  If this will be an unbudgeted purchase, see question two.

How do we get a return on our investment?

Establishing a return on investment (ROI) is best done in partnership with the sales rep and the prospect. Whenever possible, have the rep lead the discussion regarding how to most effectively establish and measure the return-on-investment using your technology.

What other options did you consider and why did you select this one?

Summarize the competitive positioning presentation in a format that will enable the contact to reuse it with the boss. Keep it concise and simple. Typically, simply copying the sales presentation and giving it to the contact will not work; it will take some modification.

Why can’t we just use or develop our own technology?

Provide the contact with information about the research and development that has gone into your company’s technology. Discuss plans for ongoing development. Explain how new features and functionality are identified and prioritized. Make sure contacts know the depth and breadth of the development team and the costs associated with the advancement and ongoing support of your company’s technology.

Why should we make this purchase a priority over all our other important business initiatives?

Engage in conversation with the prospect about where the potential purchase of your company’s software fits within the context of other business initiatives, planned or underway. Ask questions like these:

“Looking at the next two or three quarters, what are some of the other business initiatives taking place?”

“Where does investing in new technology fall in importance compared to those initiatives?”

In summary, if the contact has to seek approval from a boss in order to make a purchase decision, work closely with him and help make the case for prioritizing the purchase of your technology. Your contacts will be thankful for the assistance and look great in front of the boss!

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