The Bigger the Deal

  1. The bigger the opportunity, the more difficult it will be to win. The nature of big deals is that there are more competitors competing to create value and differentiate themselves. There are also more relationships to manage. These factors (and many others) make them more difficult to win.
  2. Larger deals generally take longer than smaller deals, unless there is a super compelling reason to change. Large opportunities are more rare because the companies with partners in place pay a price to change. It costs them time, energy, and political capital. But if there is a serious issue, they can change faster because they have more at stake.
  3. It is more difficult to competitively displace an incumbent supplier than you might believe, even when they aren’t doing nearly as well as they should be. In addition to the difficulty changing suppliers, it’s difficult to fire your friends. When you’ve worked with people for a long time, you want to give the benefit of the doubt. If your relationships are great, you want to keep them. This fact is underestimated.
  4. Your sales process is more important on larger deals. You can get away with some mistakes on smaller deals. You might even be able to skip whole stages of your sales process without paying the price. But the larger the opportunity, the more closely it is going to need to follow your sales process. Skipping stages will cause you to lose the opportunity, even if you make it to a presentation.
  5. Large deals that move for price are usually driven to demand price concessions by factors other than the value being created by the supplier. There are some companies that expect their partners to give them a price concession every year, even though that supplier’s costs go up every year. It’s not an easily sustained model. But many companies switch to a supplier with a lower price because it is easier than fixing what is really wrong with their business.
  6. Big opportunities almost always require more people’s approval, increasing the need to build consensus. Bigger deals almost always touch more people. No one wants to step over people and impose a decision on them that will result in their rebelling against that decision, digging in their heels, and blowing up the deal. It’s easier to get everybody on board before the decision is made. This is one reason so many opportunities lose to the most dangerous competitor you will ever have, the status quo.
  7. Larger deals almost always come with greater risk. They generally require more assurances that the incoming partner can and will be able to execute. Big spending likely means the purchase is more strategic, even when it is a commodity. Because there is more risk, the client is likely to want more assurances, and they will likely have more and greater concerns.
  8. Some of the biggest opportunities will require that you put more skin in the game, that you invest, or that you put something at risk. You may have to invest money to build the right program. You might need to invest in people or building capabilities. Or you might have to provide guarantees.

The bigger the deals, the more difficult they are to win.

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Filed under: Sales

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