Today's post is by Darrin Fleming, managing director at Stratavant, which provides strategic marketing and value-based sales and marketing tools for B2B companies. Read the original post here on the Stratavant Blog (this version has been slightly edited and is used here with permission).
Today, it’s tough for sales teams to persuade decision makers without the support of a strong business case. In fact, I believe a business case has become a permanent staple of success for sales teams.
Here’s more context: when the economy was strong, sales and marketing would generally expect to rely on deeper pockets and looser budgets. Chief financial officers (CFOs) or other budget-minded decision makers were not as likely to be involved in every purchasing decision, unless it was a major investment. In a slow economy, however, a strong business case was necessary to get budget allocated even for smaller investments. Without solid numbers to support their position, sales and marketing didn’t have a lot of leverage to close deals.
Now I see a permanent shift toward needing a business case. Whether the economy is soft or strong, everyone is thinking like a CFO and scrutinizing projects for indication of a measurable return on investment. For example, the blog post on Inc.com, “6 Steps to Building a Better Business Case,” takes for granted that a business case is a necessary component of a successful sales pitch. The very first question the authors advise asking when assembling a business case is “What is the potential value in this situation?”
“A strong business case begins with a logical financial and strategic foundation for value creation. If you are selling a product, this is as simple as explaining why the product creates more value for the customer than any alternative. If you are selling the idea of a business partnership, you’ll want to focus on why the partnership will create a high return on investment.”
The days of being able to wing it and close deals without a compelling economic business case and cost justification are over. The new normal requires that we all help customers to cost-justify our solution’s inclusion in the business-case portion of their budget authorization. If you aren’t doing that, then chances are, you aren’t closing as you should.
Does your sales team use a solid business case when talking with prospects and closing deals? Share your experience in the comments section.