What is a Compelling event?

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April 7, 2014
What is a Compelling event?

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” (Steve Jobs)

Hi and welcome back to my blog, over the last week, I have been in London and Frankfurt with Samsung Electronics helping them build their B2B Sales Team and skills. It’s been fast and furious. Spring is in the northern air!

If you have been following my blogs, you now know the basics of closing a sale, the must-have information that is critical in a sales situation:

  1. Understanding the decision-making process?
  2. Who makes the buying decisions?
  3. What are the challenges/pains the prospect potentially has that your product might help solve?

But do you know what the difference is between closing the deal and getting closed down. Every salesperson will benefit from knowing that

 compelling-eventClosing a sale is more likely if built around a compelling event.”

Many sales people will have a plethora of sales opportunities; however, how many salespeople are able to identify the compelling event that will help move their sales opportunities forward?

The absence of a compelling event does not rule out the possibility that the prospect will take action. Organisations often take action based on a risk/reward analysis.

Most responses to the question “what is the compelling event” driving this opportunity initiates a conversation about the symptoms or factors that may drive a risk/reward decision. “The system is performing poorly.” “We’re running out of space/power in the data centre.” “Profitability is down.” “The CIO thinks our stuff is cool.”

None of the above will cause an organisation to act. How long can the company continue to run with a poorly performing system, without any spare capacity in the data centre, with low profitability? Many companies function for years in this environment, choosing to invest in other, higher priority activities or to make no investment at all in an economic squeeze.

A workable definition of a compelling event is as follows:

  1. A compelling event has a significant financial pay back, a defined date and is a direct response to a business pressure or need.
  2. The action is expected to deliver a significant business result (either improving capability or reducing pain).
  3. The compelling event defines the reason for the economic owner to act.

The compelling event, or its absence, is a strong leading indicator for the probability of success regarding the opportunity.

The symptoms described above may well be contributing to a risk/reward decision. Look beyond the symptoms (and the technical owners of those problems) and identify for the economic owner. If that economic owner has chosen to address the issue, he or she will have a project plan with milestones and actions. The technical owners will only hold pieces of the technical plan and will not be able to discuss the overarching plan. Once the sales team connects with the economic owner, a discovery process will determine whether the opportunity is real, the “fit” between seller and buyer, and ultimately the likelihood of success.

A compelling event is not “they think our stuff is cool”. Focus on issues of real importance to your customers. Focus on issues that have significant business value when addressed.

Til’ the next time…. Andrew

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