Things are going well - the relationship between the buying and selling teams couldn't be better. Conversations are friendly and take place regularly, you feel like the team gels and are working towards a common goal - but then suddenly they STOP. The customer team goes quiet. They can't be reached. They don't respond to your emails or your calls - have they died? Was someone in an accident?
In my sales career, this happened too many times to count. It's hard - your sales leadership team asks difficult questions. What went wrong? I thought the customer was happy? I thought you had an agreed plan of action?
Why aren't they responding?
Sometimes you never find out. The customer never returns your call. Hours and hours and thousands of pounds have been invested from multiple groups - but it counts for nothing.
Did you lose the deal? Did you offend the customer? Was the project canceled? Has the business hit an issue? Did funding get cut? Is your contact still around? Was your price too high? Is there another competing requirement? Is it just delayed? Has your contact had a personal crisis? Is the deal still on but they are thinking about the next course of action?
And all this is seen from one angle - from one lens, that of the salesperson and the sales team. There is another of course another angle. That of the buyer.
For the buyer, the range of emotions might be a little different. Maybe they can't get internal funding. Maybe your competitor came in and gave them the technology for free? Maybe they have been told to focus on something else. Maybe, whatever the issue is - they can't face taking your call and explaining the situation.
So the deal hangs. Neither side know what to do. The sales team has invested too much to just forget about it - they push it back to 'next quarter'....then the next, and the next. It becomes a running joke. Time passes and eventually - the deal is 'closed to lost'. Finally. Thankfully.
We have seen too many 'stalled deals'. In some cases, they don't need to stall. In some cases, nipping things in the bud quickly is the best approach. With quick intervention we can:
* Understand the reason for the stall and work with both the buyer and seller to find a way forward.
* Quickly determine the severity of the issue causing the stall - and put all sides out of their misery. If the deal is broken beyond repair, let's acknowledge it and part on good terms so that we can come back to it in the future.
This is where our new 'Deal Mediation' service comes in. Part of our Selection Support group of services that help get projects over the line. It's a pretty simple process and can be initiated by the buying or selling organization.
1) We speak to one side of the equation (e.g. the vendor) to understand their situation.
2) We speak to the other side of the equation (e.g. the buyer) to see what has happened on their side.
3) We bring the two businesses together to find common ground.
4) We work behind the scenes on behalf of both parties to advise, guide, recommend different approaches.
Our primary aim is to find closure - to mediate a way forward. We hope that the deal can be salvaged and that is our number one aim, but our focus is on finding a path that leads where it leads.