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Internal Issues: The #1 Obstacle For Sales Executives Negotiating Large Sales Contracts

BY Ganesh Tayi, CEO of Never Lose The Deal.

In a recent study that I conducted of over 100 senior executives that negotiate multi-million dollar deals, 52% indicated that the #1 obstacle preventing them from closing their sales deals is an internal constraint. This was followed by customer-driven factors (34%) and competition (16%). Instead of fighting competition and collaborating with customers, 1 out of 2 sales executives is bogged down by an internal issue. This is a sad truth that you must recognize and confront to Never Lose The Deal.

Now, let me highlight the most common internal obstacles faced by sales executives and how you can overcome these challenges.


1. Multiple Decision Makers Across Different Departments

If you have multiple decision-makers, form a Deal Team with them or their designated representatives. Engage these stakeholders and make them appreciate why your deal is important for the business. Understand their constraints and viewpoints so that you can take these into account while negotiating with your customer. Educate them on the customer’s perspective and the competitive landscape so they can change their constraints and viewpoints. Encourage them to come up with solutions to the gaps you have between your company’s internal positions and customer needs.

2. Management’s Fear Of Failure – Risk Averseness

When you sense that your management is hesitant to take risks, do not give up. Understand what is driving this behavior. Is it past deals that have burned them? Is it your company’s financial situation? Is it the availability of other lower-risk deals in the pipeline? You must get full clarity on these issues and evaluate all options to mitigate these risks for your deal.

3. Corporate Leaders Overreach Terms

One of the most common gripes that sales executives have is that their corporate leaders are out of touch with reality and impose terms and conditions that are not in tune with the marketplace. “While the competition is offering favorable terms to win the customer’s business, my leadership is too tough on our sales teams.” The ultimate solution to this age-old problem is for you to take full responsibility.
Ask yourself: what efforts have you taken to combat the ‘overreach’ issue?
How much time and energy have you spent on educating your leadership on the deal and why certain exceptions need to be made?
Have you developed a mitigation plan to provide relief on the terms and conditions that are required to seal the deal?
Are you facilitating appropriate communication between your leadership and your customer’s leadership, so they can hear information straight from the horse’s mouth?

4. Internal Politics

Whether you hate it, practice it, or avoid it, office politics exist in many organizations. The philosopher Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by inferiors.” This holds true in the workplace as well. When you recognize that internal politics are taking a toll on your deal, you must first accept that reality and then develop strategies to work around it. Understand the informal network that is influencing key decisions. Develop your own channel of communication to keep these influencers apprised of your deals and get their “buy-in.” Do not ignore the negative players – understand what motivates them and learn how to counter their impact.

5. No Process & Standards For Approving Deals

Randomness reigns when your organization does not have a systematic process and criteria for approving deals. Every deal approval becomes subjective and prone to the whims and fancies of the person approving the deal. In some instances, exactly who needs to approve could even come into question and lead to a lot of frustration, impacting the morale of your sales team. If you find yourself in this chaotic situation, collaborate with your finance and leadership teams to define the process and criteria for approving deals. Establishing a deal desk and a cadence for reviewing and approving deals will help you to institutionalize the process quickly.

6. Lack Of Alignment Between Marketing & Sales

Gone are the days when marketing brings in qualified leads and sales takes on the baton to close these leads. B2B buying decisions are becoming increasingly complex, and now 5.4 people are involved in an average B2B buying decision. So, it is imperative in today’s competitive marketplace to embrace Account-Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is an effective strategy that targets high-value accounts rather than targeting leads. The goal of ABM is to improve efficiency and gain higher revenue from marketing efforts while using fewer resources. Sales executives responsible for large deals must implement ABM to ensure collaboration with marketing to identify, engage and influence key stakeholders to close deals.

Many times I see sales executives get frustrated with internal issues and feel let down. You might not be able to fix all these underlying issues in your organization, and yet you must work around these challenges to close deals that benefit you, your team, and your customer.

If you are currently in a precarious position and battling internal issues, I would like to offer you the opportunity to sit down with me to discuss your situation. I am experienced in streamlining processes and resolving conflicts that ensure deals get closed in the most expeditious manner.

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