Building the Business Case: Real World Sales Conversations

In Building the Business Case: Financial Decision Makers, I suggested that, to translate technical wins to revenue, we have to ask questions that:

  1. Connect the buyer’s need to enterprise priorities (the arrow labeled 3 below)
  2. Quantify the financial impact (the arrow labeled 4 below).

If you need help on how to translate the Need Diagnostic outline into real world selling, here are questions that I transcribed from successful call recordings.

Enterprise Priorities

“If we take a step back and take a look at the big picture, how does having a (insert your solution) correlate to the overall operation of the company? Really important? Or not so much?”

“We work with a few insurance companies, Sara. Some would say this is a big deal and others would say it is not big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s a big, complex company. What’s your view?”

Financial impact

“I could use a little help, Tamara, on that point. You have mentioned that customers can’t make payments and you have mentioned the overhead. But you have not mentioned a quantifiable financial impact. I don’t want to go too far and assume there is one, because it sounds like you are doing just fine. Could you help me understand that?”

“I am not familiar with your economics. I wanted to get your feedback on the business case to see if we are a fit or not. Have you found it difficult to quantify this need in terms of dollars?”

“In some organizations a factor we leverage is a current cost that can be removed. I don’t know if that’s part of your considerations?”

Hard to ask, hard to answer

These questions are both hard to ask and hard to answer. However, it is in your best interest and the technical buyer’s best interest that you help them build the business case.

In all of these examples, the buyer responded by working with the seller to co-build the business case.

In some cases, this can be accomplished in the diagnostic call.

In some cases, the buyer asked for help and agreed to a step in the Mutual Action Plan dedicated to quantifying the cost of the status quo and building the business case. In this situation, it is often possible to include the financial decision maker, which is ideal. If they do the math, they believe the math.

With a little effort, sales teams are able to master this most difficult aspect of selling and build a strong business case the buyer believes in.