Where are the big deals? Try two sources, viz. TPA (third-party advisors), and the ground up, say Anirban Dutta and Hetzel W. Folden in ‘Winning Strategies: Secrets to clinching multimillion-dollar deals’ (www.wileyindia.com).

TPAs, ‘the most sought-after business development channel among India Inc. players,’ are primarily power brokers that help craft a win-win scenario between the provider and the customer, in global sourcing deals, the authors explain. While TPAs have their own methodologies on how to help choose providers and map them against the client’s needs, the basic flow has the analysis, implementation, and management pieces of sourcing.

For instance, in the sourcing analysis phase, the TPAs typically take the business case (done by management consultants or done in-house) and develop a strategy to align technology with business drivers, as the book informs. “The existing business architecture is studied on a high level and a future-state architecture diagram is created. The diagrams are generally business-design-focused and not technical-architecture-focused.”

Finding customers from the ground-up, the second source, can happen by going after deal renewals, and penetrating and radiating (getting big deals within established business). Citing examples of agencies such as Datamonitor – which produce business intelligence in the form of ‘a list of industry deal renewals broken down by customer name, industry, competency area, region, incumbent, deal size in revenue terms, and renewal date – the authors advise business development leaders to initiate contact with a potential customer a year or two before the deal renewal date.

“Some 5,000 deals with a TCV (total contract value) of $396 billion of sourcing work is up for renewal. Even if the incumbent gets the bulk of the work, does it not make sense to chase this pipeline even if a new provider can get only a fraction?”

The traditional method of engaging in dialogue at the middle-management level for way too long, as salespeople often adopt, may not be effective, the authors counsel. “Although these customer sources are great to present an accurate picture of the sourcing relationship, project managers, program managers, or other middle-management personnel cannot usually make game-changing decisions on provider selection for large deals,” they reason.

The mantra, therefore, is to reach the customer executives, during the short time to create an opportunity, and deliver to them the pitch about relieving top-line or bottom-line pain needs! “There are several companies, known as business associates, specialising in securing appointments with executives at target companies. Typically, in the US, these companies charge about $500 to get you an appointment.”

The secret to getting big deals within established business lies in being honest about deliverables, relating on a personal level, and not harassing the customer. Relationship managers should ensure that the accurate status is communicated to the customer. “If a major delivery is at jeopardy, the best way to handle it is to be upfront with the customer and present a problem resolution plan. Simply being honest about the problem without showing how you are trying to fix it (even if the plan is not complete) is just not enough.”

Repeated honesty in disclosing problems and sincerity in trying to resolve them will help you turn customers into internal champions for you, Dutta and Folden guide. “These champions will pave the way for the next deal.”

Useful addition to the business developers’ shelf.

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