July 1 by Elise Hymes
Life as a Sales Lead
And you think that your life as a salesperson is rough? Try being me–a lonely lead in your CRM system. It’s crowded, hard to get noticed, and there a lot of very weird leads in here. I’m facing a tough qualification process yet I’m exhilarated and ready to take on the world. We’ve been going around with my salesperson, asking tons of questions (which were answered diligently) hoping with all hope that I would pass their tests and “ideal prospect questions” with flying colors.
Great news! I fit the bill perfectly–the right kind of opportunity, the right amount of budget allocated, the decision-maker is identified, and I’m all ready to get promoted to a role that I’ve always wanted–an opportunity!
That means that the prospect has already kicked the tires, researched the product on the website, requested and had a demo, received recommendations from peers, and were interested in taking things to the next level.
Whew! I can’t tell you how much being an opportunity makes my heart sing.
Life as a Sales Opportunity
But, there’s still a long road ahead. In the next phase of my life, needs are assessed, all the decision-makers and influencers air their questions, concerns, objectives, expectations, reservations, and requirements. It’s kind of like a beauty contest because I’m going up against other opportunities–in other company’s CRM systems–that are in the same place that I am. We are all determined to put our best foot forward because the competition is fierce.
I’ve never been an opportunity before, but I know a few things from other friendly opportunities that I’ve talked to. Some sail through the rigorous process like it’s a breeze and some get stuck for months and months while the prospect drags their feet, budgets are juggled, and decision-makers jockey for the power position. Sometimes, we just get plain lost in the shuffle. I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen to me, because I’m definitely the prettiest and best of the bunch.
Let me tell you. We went through the ringer. You should have heard my salesperson fight for me in their one-on-one’s, the Monday morning sales meetings, and–more importantly–with the prospects themselves. She worked every angle at the prospect’s company–the decision-maker and the other influencers including IT, security, and the CFO. She was incredibly thorough, responsive, helpful, and artfully tip-toed through a few landmines.
Please, don’t send me to the lost bin. I’ll never be heard from again.
On to the Negotiation Stage
News flash! I’ve made it to the negotiation stage. There’s one other opportunity from another company that’s in the ring. (Procurement said that’s a must.) From what I’ve heard, this is the ugliest stage of them all. I need to channel my inner Muhammad Ali to defeat my opponent. I need to be flexible and bend on the things that I can and hold steady on the things that we won’t budge on. This is the stage when I generally see my other “colleague-opportunities” fall off and disappear, which makes me even more determined. I’ve been rated at a 60% probability, but that’s just not good enough.
All of a sudden, I find out that my CEO and CFO have joined the conversation. It’s completely nerve wracking and humbling. My salesperson updates me on a daily basis–with emails, meeting notes, notating phone calls, and generally sharing her thoughts on what’s needed to knock the competition out and win the deal. I’m exhausted, because I’ve been an opportunity longer than I anticipated, but if we win, then it will all be worth it. I’ll make the quarter. Everything is dependent on me. It’s a lot of pressure.
I take deep breaths, knowing in my heart that I’ve got this.
Time for Contracting
Contracts are shared, redlining almost makes me give up and go home, but I muscle through it. I’ve been upgraded to 90% probability of close and I can see victory in sight. A big last minute demand rattles me a bit, but I hold steady and stay even-keeled. The prospect clearly wants to work with my company, so this is just a bit of last minute drama to make things interesting. The CEO, CFO, and the sales team are rooting me on and all hands are on deck. I’ve been forecasted to come in this quarter and I can’t let my people down.
Then, it happens. The email comes in with a signed contract and my salesperson moves me from an opportunity to a win. I’ve won the fight and now counted as official revenue. A message goes out to the whole company about my success and I hear clapping from all corners of the office. I think I hear the pop of a champagne cork.
I’m triumphant, thrilled, exalted, and hum a little happy tune.
I’ve lived up to my forecast–which is the absolute best thing an opportunity can do. Aviso understands implicitly and congratulates me with a dashboard notice to sales leadership. Now I can rest, knowing that I’ve won the fight, accomplished the mission, and nailed my number.