“Be Like Mike” and Land the Big Fish!

Posted by Kevin Wessels

In our previous blog entry, we touched on how to bring the big-company mindset to your small business and your team. This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will impede you from being successful.

Now, that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to talk about who your ideal “big fish” or client is. It’s important to know about the fish you are pursuing before you put a target acquisition plan together.

We’re also going to take a moment to discuss the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits, preferences, timelines, and procedures.  On that note, there are four main areas of their procurement cycle you need to focus on in order to be successful:

  1. Responsibilities:  You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can destroy a deal if they want.
  2. Get on Their List:  You need to know how to get on their preferred vendor list. Your name needs to not only be on this list, but also at the top of it and in as many categories as possible to increase the odds of more sales opportunities and conversions.  Be sure to ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the preferred vendor application process.
  3. Lingo:  You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  4. Fiscal Budgets:  It’s essential that you know the fish’s fiscal year-end and allotted budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape”. Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the negative emotions it stirs in all of us.  Red tape is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape”, imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info to build their business case or secure executive buy-in or investment committee approval, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

Lastly, don’t underestimate how time-intensive and detailed the final leg of the procurement cycle for a big fish can be.  It’s critical that you prepare in advance and respond as quickly as possible to any last-minute due diligence requests.  If you need help with improving your negotiation skills or crafting a more unique market-dominating position and more compelling sales strategy to close more deals with larger clients, enroll today in our RevSherpas Growth Academy or contact us to schedule a free business development strategic consultation.