July 11, 2021 | Blog
Sales Skills vs. Negotiation Playbook: Which one will bring home the W?
If you haven’t heard this phrase from the Velo team enough, then here it is again:
Process beats skill, and it’s not even close.
Most companies invest in training to improve the negotiation capability of their sellers. They tend to think of negotiations as a skill held by select individuals. Negotiation training isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without a clear negotiation readiness process in place, the investment in negotiation training is like lighting your money on fire.
Sales teams are getting crushed by better prepared professional procurement organizations. In the end, you can spend all the money you want on training, but that investment isn’t going to address the problem. The problem is buyers manage dozens of complex negotiations each year, and you – the account executive – might only manage a major negotiation every 1-3 years when it’s time to renew the contract. Add to that, 98% of corporations use a defined negotiation readiness process to manage major purchases or sourcing events. Yet fewer than 20% of corporations use a defined negotiation readiness process on the selling side of their own business.
This relationship between the buy-side and the sell-side can best be described using a sports analogy—let’s use the international sport of basketball. The sell-side has put their top players through a shooting practice. They have nailed down making free throws and mastered an array of dribbling and passing drills—all executing to perfection. The buy-side team has not only mastered shooting and dribbling skills, but they have a wide range of plays and have competed in a full season of games. They can execute the ‘pick and roll’ without much effort.
Most sell-side teams don’t stand a chance. The pressure to capture market share is at an all-time high. Without a playbook, your sell-side team can only run isolation plays—it is a game of one-on-five.
Here is the point: large deals are a team sport. Virtually all companies have large recurring
revenues tied to single customers. In these scenarios, there is almost always a multi-functional team interacting with the customer. It is not unusual for sellers to have anywhere from 5 – 20 people with ‘touch’ daily. These teams hold enormous contextual understanding about the customer. They are that elusive team we mentioned above.
Some would say those years of working on one account could enable your team to create some sort of value. When that contract is up, telling the story of that value your team created is going to become pretty vital when it comes time to negotiate.
With Velo, we harness the individual skills and understanding of the team managing that client to figure out the value your business creates for that client. Velo isn’t training. It is a ‘real play’ focused on establishing a playbook and clear and aligned negotiation plan to drive profit-maximizing outcomes for large deals and opportunities.
Large deals aren’t much different than team sports. Get the team together, understand the
opponent, establish a scenario-based playbook, practice your plays, and win the game.