Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers should be a hoot. But whatever the outcome, we’re betting it’ll be hard to top Super Bowl XXXIV, when, on the final play, St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones applied “The Tackle” to Tennessee Titans receiver Kevin Dyson, who fell one yard short of the goal line and tying the game. It’s not unlike trying to close a major b2b deal.
After working your tail off for the last year, you win a pivotal meeting with a key decision maker. You’ve studied the company and the buyer’s pain points and then studied some more. Heading into the meeting you’re confident that you’ll be able to close the deal. Yet somehow your goal proves elusive. Like the Rams’ goal-line stand, the difference between success and failure could be mere inches. As we start to hoard Tostitos, mini burgers and other supplies for Sunday’s matchup, here are some similarities between getting ready for the Super Bowl and a make-or-break meeting with b2b buyers:
- Assess the entire field: Consider a short list of competitors who may be vying for the same (lucrative) piece of business. Have your game plan (message) down pat, but prepare for any surprises or unexpected and gutsy calls from the buyer.
- Prepare for every conceivable scenario: Brace for any unforeseen circumstances that may occur during the face-to-face meeting, e.g. an impromptu chat with another C-level executive or a meeting with the IT manager who may not necessarily influence the decision but will ultimately be responsible for the execution of the new product and/or service.
- Don’t get distracted by the hype: As much as it is a thrill to play in the big leagues and land a meeting with a top-notch company, don’t get rattled by the hype and/or all of the attention the market pays to the brand. Have a laser-like focus on your value proposition, your company’s distinguishing characteristics and how you want to dialogue.
- Remember the fundamentals: While the playbook for both the NFL and b2b sales gets more sophisticated, football and sales still rely on the basics: blocking and tackling. As inbound marketing and marketing automation play more significant roles in the sales process, the fundamentals are easy to forget.