Often times many people think that simply “closing (winning) the deal” is the hard part, but on the path to sales success, you still have more ahead of you. At this point, you have chased the prospect, qualified them, pitched numerous times, sent over a proposal, answered follow up questions, negotiated the deal and then been awarded the signed contract.
“Closing the deal” is not the last stage of sales! Next comes account management where “good account management skills will set you apart from competitors and keep your clients happy. There’s also maintenance, continuous expectation setting, quarterbacking the account through fulfillment of the deal and setting the stage for possible up-sell opportunities.
As an example, here’s a situation where even after being awarded the contract, there was still a considerable amount of work left to do.
Closing the Deal
We closed a significant and high profile deal for a client with a large gold company, great you say – time to celebrate – it is won and done! Wrong, although it took 10 person days to win the deal between prospecting, qualifying, proposing and closing the deal, it has taken another five days to help manage the nuances and follow up meetings where details are continuously massaged out and another three to five days will have to be further invested to finalize the details, complete a site visit, and this doesn’t include the ongoing up-sell work and account relationship that will be needed. I would estimate this ongoing work to be about one day per month. So, based on these numbers, winning the deal only comprises 40% of the work in the first 12 months of the relationship. The majority of the work as you can see is post “winning” the deal.
The Larger the Deal, The More Work
Often times in bigger deals you will run into an intensive procurement process, legislative delay or headaches and a considerable amount of out of scope work that creeps in. Take heed, this is normal and happens to all of us but it definitely adds to the work load.
The Deal is Never Done
It is important as a sales person and sales manager to remember that the deal is never done. Don’t get complacent – keep digging, keep building barriers to entry to keep your competitors out, keep working to be a valuable component of the customer’s team – providing value continuously. Be a source of information and centralization (large companies are often decentralized and people/divisions don’t speak to each other – you can help with this).
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