The deal is so close to closing that you can almost taste your victory glass of champagne (or herbal tea, whatever floats your boat), but the prospect just won't budge on their demands for pricing. What other levers can you pull while negotiating to still win the deal without dropping the price?
You work for a company with a great product that you believe in and you're talented at sales, but deals don't seem to be moving forward as fast as they should, so what gives? Well, you might be spending too much time on customers that just aren't a great fit. So, how can you make sure that you are selling to the right customers and in the right way?
Applying frameworks, like MEDDIC, for complex enterprise sales can help you optimize your sales process with a clearer qualification process. What is MEDDIC, you say?
The acronym MEDDIC stands for Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, and Champion. These are the six steps you can use to qualify customers better (and not waste time on customers that probably won't convert!). So, let's dive in to see what you should be asking yourself at each step during the qualification process:
Ask yourselfWhat is the customer trying to achieve by implementing my product or service?
What measurable impact with this have on their key performance indicators (KPIs)?
For example, the company may want to increase the number of calls an SDR or a BDR can make in a working day. If you're selling a direct dialer product that saves a BDR 30 seconds on every call, you can easily calculate the return on investment (ROI) on your product for the customer. Similarly, if a company is looking to reduce manufacturing costs and your product can automate 15% of the process, you can justify the economic impact of implementing your solution.
Tip 💡If the company is publicly traded (i.e. if they're listed on a stock exchange), they release quarterly and annual reports on their investor relations page. In these reports, you can usually see what a company has identified as their top strategic priorities for that quarter or year. If you can tie the value your product brings back to one or multiple strategic priorities, it will be easier to make a case for budget approval.
Ask yourselfWho is the person in the customer's company with budgeting authority who can authorize spending for my solution?
Who is the person in the customer's company with budgeting authority who can authorize spending for my solution?
Get an intro! If your current contact will introduce you to the economic buyer, get an understanding for it they have different requirements or evaluation criteria than the person who would be the end user of your solution.
If talking directly to the economic buyer isn't possible, learn as much of this information as you can from your current contact. It's important to empower your current contact with all the the information required for them to make a case for your solution internally, if you won't be directly in contact with the economic buyer yourself.
Ask yourselfWhat factors will the customer consider when deciding which solution to move forward with?
Is it price, is it ease of integration, is it potential ROI, or some other factors?
In enterprise sales, you're often not the only solution a prospect is considering. They're most likely also talking to at least one (if not a few) of your competitors. Ask them what factors are they considering as they evaluate each potential vendor, and which of those factors are the most important.
It might not be a good fit if the client cares the most about price, you sell a high quality product with a high price tag, and you're competing against a lower cost competitor. If that's the case, educating the prospect on ROI (how a higher investment into your solution will pay off in X weeks, months, quarters, etc.).
Ask yourselfHow will the company decide to move forward?
What other internal teams might need to sign off during the approval process (i.e. legal, engineering, or some other team)?
What timeline are they working within to make a decision and then to implement that solution?
Even if you get a verbal commitment from the economic buyer, you might have a long road ahead of you with legal review on the contract if you're selling to a large enterprise company. It's better to be aware of this in advance, so you can plan accordingly.
You can even ask your contacts you're working with "What was the buying process like in the past for a solution like this? What other teams needed to be involved?" They might have some tips for how you can get through the process quicker.
Ask yourselfIs this a need-to-have or a nice-to-have?
What pain would they feel (or costs they would incur) if they don't make a decision or delay a decision?
Using our example from above about reducing manufacturing costs by automating 15% of the workflow, you can calculate the cost to the company each day, week, month they delay implementing your solution.
Use this measure of pain to convey the urgency of why your solution is critical and a decision is time-sensitive. You don't want a sales cycle that drags on forever and ever, and this will help you make sure the process doesn't get slowed down.
Ask yourselfWho is my internal "cheerleader?"
Who will be most deeply invested in the success of using my solution?
You should have a main contact within the company who will go to bat for you internally. They might be the person who feels the pain you identified the strongest, the person whose day-to-day will improve significantly by using your solution. This person might not be the highest level, but they should have a good amount of internal respect where people will listen to their opinion.
So, you get what MEDDIC is, how do you actually use it?
The best way is to create a template (with a free tool like Dealnotes!) using the high level MEDDIC categories and fill in these details as you're on calls with clients. As meetings progress, you should have a clearer understanding of if this customer meets the MEDDIC criteria or if not, in which case you might not want to spend too much time on the customer.