All salespeople know that they have a greater chance of closing a deal if they have influence over a buyer’s decision making process. In B2B markets, salespeople strive to “get a seat at the table.” However, most the time, solutions salespeople do not get the opportunity to present the case for their solution to all the decision makers (many salespeople don’t even ask for the opportunity.) Simply delivering pricing leaves the presentation to the person showing the quotes to the decision-making team. Think about it, small-to-mid-market companies aren’t cutting six-figure checks through the decision of one person. So how can you set yourself, and your champion within your client, for the best shot at closing the deal?
Deliver a business case.
And make sure your champion reads it and asks you questions prior to the meeting with decision makers. Have the document shared with all the decision makers prior to the final meeting as well. Also, offer to create a short presentation and coach your champion on presenting (best case scenario is that your champion helps you sell your solution to the team.)
A business case does not need to an elaborate document, which you’d spend hours writing pages of arguments. In general, business writing is concise and to the point. Keep that in mind when writing the case. Also, the business case will prove that you understand the client’s business need for the solution they are looking for.
Business cases in solution selling boil down to four distinct sections.
Description of the client need.
Forgo the introduction –your client knows their company and why they are reading the document. In this section, describe the process of discovering the company’s need, and whether it is a problem or seeking a competitive advantage. This section proves that you –the salesperson –understand the client. If the client doesn’t agree with your perception of their needs, you’ve already lost. This isn’t the time to reframe their needs; any reframing should already be done.
Description of solution proposed.
Briefly describe the company in this section, but do not oversell. Quickly move onto the solution being proposed in the pricing and the process of coming up with the solution. Go into detail around the solution and map the solution to the client needs in the first section. In essence, you are saying, “This is your problem or need, and this is our answer.”
Explain the expected result.
This is the conclusion. You’ve mapped out the solution to the needs, but you don’t want to repeat yourself in the conclusion. This is your last selling point –tell the client what they should expect as a result of choosing your solution. Describe the result using data from other clients, while also explaining the qualitative benefits. You can paint a mental picture for the reader, however, be realistic.
This part is very important. The business case may only be four pages, but the appendix could be an additional eight. Why? Well, salespeople have a lot to say, so this is where you say it, while being concise in the case itself. You can reference the appendix in the business case. You can choose to include the following in the appendix.
– Full company description, including accolades, recognition, and awards.
– Information on the account team.
– Case studies of clients who have implemented your solution.
– Additional data, charts, or graphs.
– Other solutions the company sells.
– Details on competitor solutions and why yours is superior.
– Your company’s purchasing process.
– Anything else you may anticipate your client will ask for.
Differentiate yourself with a business case. Showing superior business acumen could be the reason you get the next deal and it shows the client that you care.