Dealstorming, what is it really? It’s a portmanteau of “deal-making” and “brainstorming”. Sounds interesting, right? This is very applicable now that the competition in sales is getting more challenging. We will discuss how dealstorming can change things!
Just a small clarification though, dealstorming isn’t just for larger companies – it’s applicable to any company regardless of size. So with that, let’s start!
The Challenge with Making Sales
There comes an event where you really, really need to make that sale. You want to close it because a. it’s a sizable deal and b. It would look good on your company’s portfolio. What is needed? You and your team need to formulate a strategy to get this account.
Tim Sanders, the author of Dealstorming tells us that cross functional teams across the company work together to achieve this. And this is done by highly structured projects and meetings.
Why is sales getting more challenging then?
With technology advancing, the methods of how sale is done has changed also. Less face to face interaction, more communication over the internet through emails, messaging, and such. Also, it’s uncommon that only one person makes the decision. It’s a group who decides if they will purchase or not.
Your prospective clients already have done a lot of research prior to your first communication. Researchers say that the decision is more or less made already before they inquire.
The solutions businesses sell today aren’t that simple. Understandably so because of innovation and improvement. However this involves explanations and understanding.
There are more people today, more entrepreneurs, meaning more competition. How do you stand out in the market with the same businesses offering the same solutions?
Combing these reasons altogether, it makes it difficult to the sale. More so, those much-coveted accounts.
Why Do Dealstorming?
Doing the traditional method of selling? Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit. It’s time to call the team and so some serious dealstorming.
But first study your sales process? What’s preventing you in the process to close that deal? Here are the phases you need to do that sale:
Contact – This phase is about gathering all the people of your prospective client, who are the decision makers? The influencers? The mobilizers and such? Know them and engage with them.
Conceive – Definitely your prospect client has a goal and you can provide them a solution to achieve that. Create a vision on how you can accomplish that.
Convince – Sell that vision to your prospect. Convince them how you can work together to achieve that goal.
Contract – And you close the sale!
If you are stuck in any of these stages and not moving using your traditional method, then you should definitely try dealstorming.
Step One: Qualify
First you must identify that there is really a problem. Is that problem solvable only with help from the outside? This means you have used your usual process and followed it to a T but still stuck?
Then you must understand the strategic value of the getting that sale for your company. Will it add value to your branding, increasing your market presence, revenue? Give a score to the strategic value it will contribute to your company, say give a score in a scale from one to ten – ten being the highest.
After that, you need to know how challenging the sale will be given your available resources. Give that also the level of difficulty a score, same scale.
And don’t forget about human resource as well. How many people and teams are needed from your company to work on this closing? You will get this by multiplying the score of the strategic value and the score of the difficulty level.
Let’s say you gave a strategic value of 8 and a difficulty level of 7, you will end up with 56. You will be using this scoreboard to assess how many people you will need:
Less than 10 – doesn’t require manpower
10 to 29 – 3 people
30 to 49 – 4 to 5 people
50 to 69 – 6 to 9 people
70 and greater – 10 to 12 people
From that with a score of 56 you will need 6 to 9 people from your company to work on this. Do take note that use these numbers with caution. It’s a guide not an inflexible rule.
Step Two: Organize
Having settled the number of people needed to help, you now next identify who are those you need in particular. Of course you will need the internal stakeholders to work together. These are the roles needed in dealstorming:
Problem Owner – This is the main person who is responsible for the sale and this would most likely be the account executive.
Sponsor – The sponsor’s task is to manage the dealstorming and provide a guide on the presented solutions.
Resource – They are the majority of the group. They give insights, perspectives and contribute ideas. They also work on the deliverables of the dealstorming.
Information master – This person documents and follows through the dealstorming. Usually, they manage a workspace online where each of the team member has access to.
Look for people you need in your team and reach out to them. Let them know why they are needed and what needs to be accomplished. If possible, please do talk to the people personally.
Step Three: Prepare
Now that you have a team, it’s time to prepare everyone for the dealstorming. The account executive should give the team a brief of the situation. It should be concise but still contains the essential elements.
This brief should be sent at least three days before the actual dealstorming. You would want to members to be prepared just in time. Do take note that this is an additional task to their actual activities so it’s wise to prepare them ahead of time.
You could use this format for the brief:
- Problem Question: You have to state what’s the problem in this deal. For example, you have a contact person in your prospective company but that person does not make the decision for the sale. However, that person will not give a clue who is making the key decisions. Who are the decision makers of the deal? That’s your problem question
- Opportunity statement: What will be the opportunities opening for your company if you will close this deal? State the probable revenue, having a share of the market, and getting ahead of the competitors.
- Influence Map: List down who influences the sale and those who prevents or delays it as well. You should provide information about each person.
- Account History: Lay out what has happened so far in this deal, create a timeline. Include details that would be essential in solving this concern.
- Recent Development: Of course, explain what has happened lately and why the dealstorming was needed for this.
- Constraints: In reality, there will be unavoidable limitations. It’s good to identify them early on so you can work around it.
- Assets: List down also the assets that will be useful in making that sale.
- Pre-meeting Assignment: For each member of the dealstorming team, prepare an assignment that they should know about prior going to the meeting. This makes them better prepared.
Step Four: Convene
So the dealstorming should finally happen. It’s the sponsor’s prerogative to invite a facilitator for the sessions. The meetings to run well and be productive in order for the dealstorming to be successful.
The facilitator must know how to listen, assertive, and protective. These qualities are needed to maintain the order in meetings.
Next, think about where the meetings will be held. While it is exciting to do it off-site, remember that it should be convenient for everyone. They still have their day to day tasks so it’s important to set in a place where it’s good for everyone.
Conference rooms within the company premises is good and they are really made for meetings. Make meeting resources such as white boards and flipcharts available also. Do make sure that everyone can view what is being done.
At the start, the problem owner should discuss the goal and the importance of closing the sale. Introductions must be done so everyone understands each person’s role.
Then establish the ground rules of the dealstorming:
- There are no limits to the ideas
- Rely on facts, research hunches
- Be focused
- And no room for distractions
Having said the rules, it’s time to discuss the problem. Fifteen minutes will be enough for the discussion and the point of it is the problem and why has it become that way. At this point, you may have heard a lot of insights and thoughts from the members already.
Now, solutions will be discussed. Surely there will be more discussions but prevent people to hang on to the first idea they hear. People gravitate usually this way so try to exhaust all possible solutions first.
Don’t forget to look at “inside the box” solutions as well. They may still probably contribute in solving the problem. Do this first before moving forward to “out of the box” solutions.
After all the possible solutions are listed out, it’s time to narrow the choices. Ask questions such as “Why would this solution work?”. “What are the assumptions on this?” These questions will help the team narrow down to the best possible solutions.
Remember that your goal is not to build consensus among the team. However, you must check if each member is comfortable with the chosen solution. If this is not the case, the solution will not be applied.
Conclude the meeting and lay out the actions that must be done so everyone is guided on the next task.
Step Five: Execute
Execute – These are the important steps needed to do to execute the ideas:
- Confirm the decision and the agreement
- Check the assumptions regarding the problem and the solution
- Implement the idea and allow it to be testable
Step Six: Analyze
You are determining if the ideas worked. Get information, collate the data to measure the performance.
Step Seven: Report
You have to go back to the dealstorming team to relay the results of the actions. The outcome should be discussed whether it’s bad or good. It’s important to update them so everyone learns from it also. Don’t forget to thank and praise them for their contribution in this.
And so the cycle goes on. If you haven’t closed it yet, you go over the steps again. You dealstorm until it’s done or you decide not to pursue it further.
So next time you are stuck with a problem, try doing some dealstorming. This article discussed each step along the way and how to go about it. The steps have been laid out to guide you and help you win that deal!