The 5 Door-Openers To Winning A ClientJuly 20, 2020 | By Wayne O'Neill
Business leaders are constantly seeking new door-openers to generate leads and get their solution in front of the right decision-makers. But, instead of looking to add more go-getters to the roster, why not instead take the approach of seeking new doors to open beyond the typical doors that your company knocks on?
You might think I’m saying this because hiring has become difficult during the global pandemic and you need to grow revenue without adding to headcount. It’s quite the opposite thinking.
I’m advocating for this approach in all market conditions, even well after the economy and your industry recover because it’s a proven, intelligent approach to build relationships with clients that has tremendous upside. This season of navigating changes during the pandemic is a great time to start, though, when all options are on the table for pursuing revenue growth.
The approach includes building connections with players that your team may not be comfortable approaching or have experience talking to. But, developing these additional paths of connection will better position your company to present a comprehensive solution that solves the larger problem your target client is facing, allowing you to grab more pieces of scope or larger pieces of scope than you previously thought was possible.
Knock on New Doors to Craft a Comprehensive Solution
Let’s look at how the game is typically played. You offer an IT solution. Your typical client sends out an RFP looking to solve a technology problem. It seems like the right move to just knock on the IT door looking to gather information before presenting a solution that solves a technology challenge.
Stop. You’ve just pigeonholed your company and your solution. You’ve only solved one problem through one path of connection. What about the other issues in the client organization? What about the problem behind the problem within the organization? Don’t you think you can leverage your solution to solve the larger problem?
You need connections with other people and other departments in the organization to gather more intelligence that will lead to sustainable, renewable results, not depending on the RFP to grow your business.
Yes, this may require knocking on the HR or Operations door to have conversations that your team is not accustomed to. But, since when did successful businesses rely on comfort? It’s time to break out of your comfort zone and start pursuing more connections to leverage your solution for value and impact, not just solving one problem that lives within the confines of the RFP.
So, what other connections do you need to pursue and how do you have these conversations when knocking on new doors? Let’s examine.
Consider the Roles and Perspective of Each Player
We believe there are five paths of connection into any company. Two of these paths are external to the client (and internal to your company) and three of these paths are internal to the client (and external to your company).
1. Your Internal Team Members
You know the team members who have been successful knocking on certain doors in the client organization to generate a certain amount of new opportunities. You’re thinking broader now, though. You need to assess the skills, capabilities, experience, and connections that your existing team members have to determine who is best positioned to have fresh conversations with fresh connections.
Taking inventory will allow you to see your roster differently. You may discover that one of your team members actually has LinkedIn connections to valuable client contacts beyond the typical role or department they talk to. It’s time to empower your team member to tap into those additional contacts to gather additional intelligence about the hidden problems or larger problem facing your client.
2. Your Project/Service Delivery Partners
Project/Service Delivery Partners (P/SDPs) can provide valuable context about the situation facing the client organization. Because they already have a connection with the client and because you already have a good relationship with the P/SDP that augments your solution, you can gather a tremendous amount of intelligence by knocking on this door more frequently.
If your team is accustomed to only responding to the RFP at face value, then talking to the P/SDP can be a helpful exercise to help broaden your team’s perspective. You’ll be better able to identify the larger problem the client either is not aware of or does not want to disclose in the RFP. By asking more questions and gathering additional clues from a connected partner, you can form a better understanding of the broader situation that the client really needs to solve.
3. Their Navigators
Turning to the client side of the equation, your team needs to build strong connections with the navigators inside the client organization. Navigators can help guide your team through organizational roadblocks and provide insight into internal business and political issues.
Business and political issues are absolutely critical to understand. If you present a solution that does not align with these subtle, yet important issues, your solution will likely be eliminated from contention. But, if you gain understanding of who the key leaders are, which departments are influencing the bid selection, and what market conditions are affecting the future direction of the company, then you will be better positioned to align your solution with the business and political issues driving the decision-making process.
4. Their Champions
As your team navigates the maze of internal business and political issues, your team needs to find champions within the organization who see the value of your potential solution to solve the larger problem.
If your team is accustomed to only knocking on one door to talk to one department in the organization, this will require a significant step-up in effort building connection with leadership-level influencers. These leaders need to be convinced why they should not only consider your solution but champion it internally. After all, for an organizational leader to become a champion of your company or solution, they will have to risk a significant amount of political capital to champion your cause. Any slip-up could cost them power, influence, position, status, or income.
If your team truly believes in the value of your solution, your team needs to work hard to develop strong connections with these champions. You cannot have effective conversations with this level of influencer, though, unless your team successfully completes the previous steps of gathering intelligence and gaining a deeper understanding of the larger challenge within the organization.
5. Their Decision Makers
Finally, your team needs to build connection with decision-makers who have the power to make final decisions about who receives the work and also have influence over the purse strings in the organization.
Let’s address a misconception. This isn’t about inviting a high-ranking executive to the golf course and hope they’ll write a check by the 18th hole. It’s about building authentic connection by using the gathered intelligence to have a thoughtful conversation about how your organization can help the decision-maker support the company’s business objectives.
Yes, this approach requires a significant amount of work and diligence keeping the ball in the air advancing from navigators to champions to decision-makers. But, it is worth it because your team will have gained so much intelligence, influence, and understanding along the way that your organization will be prepared to present a comprehensive solution that surpasses competitors.
Presenting the Comprehensive Solution
Think of the RFP as a test. The smart clients that you want to work with are testing whether you are willing to put in the effort to understand what’s really happening in the organization and whether you can present a solution that solves the larger problem.
Anyone can just show up for the test and provide a basic solution. But, your team isn’t just going to show up like the competition. Your team is going to show out by delivering a comprehensive solution that leverages your solution for value and impact.
It’s an opportunity to show your work by connecting the dots between the challenges your team identified through each path of connection to arrive at the solution. You can also better explain how your solution helps the client meet their larger business objectives.
One other recommendation is to be aware that the client may want to see multiple paths within your solution to solve the larger problem. While your team may have one option in mind that you believe is the best path forward, there may be internal disagreement within the client organization, especially among decision-makers.
That’s why it’s best to present multiple ways to solve the problem and support business objectives. You can craft these options within the solution because you have gathered a considerable amount of intelligence from knocking on several doors.
All of the work that your team put in throughout the process will pay off by presenting a flexible solution that can be worked through collaboratively to achieve the ultimate goal of solving the client’s problem and positioning your company as a strategic partner
Ready to Knock On More Doors to Find Success?
More project scope and larger pieces of scope are available for your company. It comes down to whether your team is ready to put in the work developing multiple paths of connection to build more authentic relationships and connections within the client organization to support revenue growth.
We can help you and your team have more productive conversations to support your business development efforts. Our proven methodology, The Connection Process, will help your team understand how to leverage existing or new connections to create faster, more sustainable revenue. We’ll even help you identify connections that are hiding in plain sight that could be a valuable new door to knock on.
By following our process, your business will be positioned to grow in a more collaborative and intelligent way through smarter engagement, smarter intelligence gathering, and smarter conversations that lead to smarter solutions.
To find out more about utilizing our methodology to support your team’s efforts, contact us today to discuss your challenge. We’re here to help find new doors to knock on.