Writing Template – Business strategy for complex deals

Tasty hamburger with cold drink and fries

© Tweeter Linder 2017 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock

To win complex B2B deals you need a clear business strategy. And an ability to articulate your strategy in a few crisp points. This template helps you to articulate a business strategy with the model laid out in a previous blog.

Scope and purpose of this template

This template is the base for a one-page business strategy for complex deals. With a differentiated proposition where each of the 4 elements represent a different value.

The purpose of the template to support you in enhancing weak business strategy articulations for a deal. Take you beyond fluffy statements like “We need to win on price”, “We need to buy the business” or “We need to meet disruptive pricing”. And instead focus on how you will win the business.

What make you WIN a deal

Your first step is to articulate what make you win

  • Which buying priorities do you have a great match with?
  • Which solution element will define winners?
  • What need to have an attractive price to make a deal happen?
  • How do we displace an existing vendor?
  • How do we remain incumbent in case already in?

Look for great matches between explicit customer needs and your own strengths. And balance towards competitor proposals.

What do you ADD to make a solution complete   

Second you want to articulate solution elements with low value add. Table-stakes making your solution complete.

  • What are table-stakes for this type of solution?
  • What enable the solution to become complete?
  • Which third party elements do we need to add?
  • What are low margin commodities in our solution?

Keep the number of these items as low as possible.  Make sure you scrutinize cost of commodities. And area where cost consciousness pays off well. Last but not least and area where you need to scope to be slim.

Be cautious with high margin expectations for these areas. And make sure your business strategy works without them.

Where will we EARN our money

Besides winning your business strategy need to address where you will earn your money

  • What is your primary added values?
  • Do we have sound arguments to defend our value add?
  • What are the major revenue drivers in your solution?
  • Where do you earn your margins?
  • Are sales and margins well correlated?
  • Is your vital sales and margin generators sustainable over time?

Your long term success is dependent on managing this part well. And area where you want to stand firm in defending your core value add. Be ready to negotiate hard on these points.

Be careful about giving away value add and differentiation cheap. An action contributing to  turning your own business into coimmodities over time.

Where can we EXPAND if we win this deal

A sound business strategy includes a perspective on how you can link the current deal to future business.

  • Which new business opportunity can the current deal open up for?
  • Which deal constructs will pave the road for upcoming deals?
  • Which deal connection links make sense for both you and your customer?
  • Which concessions make sense short term to connect to future business?

Focus on linking qualified opportunities you already have visibility of. Make sure a possible “upsell” make sense for both you and your customer. Consider adding scope from this area to your initial deal rather than price concessions for a fixed scope.

Be cautious to connect to future business opportunities if you cannot create a concrete link. And make sure the links are strong enough to secure it will materialize.

A visualization of this template

To make this template stick in people’s minds I have found it to a simple analogy. Where a hamburger meal visualizes the deal strategy.

  1. The BURGER make you WIN your customers mind for the primary selection criteria
  2. The FRENCH FRIES are an ADDITION to make the meal complete, with low extra cost.
  3. The SOFTDRINK is the MARGIN DRIVER where the majority of margins come from.
  4. And the APPLE PIE is the opportunity to UPSELL beyond the original scope.

Sales teams constructing deals along these principles will always deliver clear customer propositions. And screen out “French-fries meals” “Soft-drink meals” and “Apple pie early in the process.  All three options representing propositions with poor alignment to customer buying criteria.

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