The Challenges for Sellers in 2020…

Salespeople who are trying to identify, develop and close big deals right now are facing unprecedented challenges.  They include:

  • Prospects are distracted, hard to reach and hesitant to set meetings
  • Buying teams are avoiding any type of risk or perceived risk which includes changing products or services
  • As a seller, your biggest competitor for new customers is the ‘status quo’
  • Live virtual prospect meetings mean that relationship building is more difficult than ever

New business win rates for RFP’s range from single digits up to 15% unless sellers have a robust pre-RFP sales effort. Source: The Seibert Group

3 Strategies to Gain Traction on 5X Opportunities this Year!

The 3 strategies that will positively impact your win rates for 5X deals this year (contracts worth about 5 times your average deal size), include:

  • Solidifying at least five key relationships
  • Engaging in at least five account strategy development sessions (I call these ‘War Room’ sessions)
  • Give yourself a sales runway of at least five months to learn, qualify and develop the opportunity

Let’s break these down one at a time…

5+ Relationships Developed

Did you know that the average enterprise deal has 6 to 10 decision makers on the buying team? Source: Gartner Research

This group includes decision makers, decision validators, decision influencers, stakeholders, subject matter experts (e.g. technical experts, security, legal, procurement) and end users.

Relationship development goes well beyond an initial meeting.  Relationships are developed over time and built on mutual trust and in-depth rapport.  For large opportunities, relationships should be mapped by the internal account team. For example, who best aligns with your prospect from your company?  The account team can analyze each relationship to best understand the appropriate engagement plan.  The account team must think strategically about relationships and ask themselves about the relationships they have and the ones they know they will need.

5+ Account Strategy Meetings (War Room Sessions)

Did you know that 79% of prospects prefer interacting with salespeople who are trusted advisors that can add value to their business?  Source: Salesforce 2019

Account strategy meetings (or war rooms) are an opportunity to discuss how to be a trusted advisor for your prospect.  They also allow the team to do the strategy work necessary for future success.  A sampling of topics covered over a series of war room sessions would include:

  • Mapping relationships
  • Executive engagement planning
  • Designing the Win Themes™
  • Developing competitive blocking and analysis
  • Pre-call planning (for every single prospect meeting)

This work cannot be accomplished in only one or two war room sessions.  It must be done over time.  Each session builds on the prior one as new information is learned.  To truly put the account team in a position for success, all the above components must be completed prior to the issue of an RFP or proposal for a large opportunity.

5+ Months of Solid Sales Engagement

Did you know that many companies report a successful sales runway to be closer to 10 months or more for 5X opportunities? 

It takes time to develop relationships and work through all the war room elements.  It also takes time to learn, qualify, and develop the opportunity.  If these early sales stages are missed or rushed, results will suffer.

The other critical part of the time equation is understanding the buyer’s journey for big contracts.  What is your prospect doing, thinking, and feeling at each stage of their journey? Can the account team put themselves in their prospect’s shoes? According to Gartner Research, three-quarters of buyers involved in a complex purchase described their purchasing journey as ‘very complex’ or ‘difficult’.

The prospect’s journey takes time, too.  It is the job of the account team to add the right value at the right time.

Ring the Bell!!!

The account team will ring the bell more often if they commit to the 3 strategies that will positively impact win rates for 5X enterprise deals. The result will be well worth your efforts. 5X contracts are game changers.  Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate! (High Five’s are a good start.)


About Lisa Magnuson

Lisa Magnuson has walked in the shoes of sales leaders.  She was an award-winning sales manager and Sales VP including executive positions with several Fortune 50 companies. Top Line Sales, which Lisa founded in 2005, has a proven track record of helping companies overcome the barriers to winning TOP Line Accounts™.  Her clients boast of closed contracts totaling over $350 million in new revenue due to Lisa’s “roll up your sleeves” approach to winning big deals.  She is the author of two highly acclaimed books: The TOP Seller Advantage: Powerful Strategies to Build Long-Term Executive Relationships and most recently, The TOP Sales Leader Playbook: How to Win 5X Deals Repeatedly.