Your Sales Team is the First Chance to Make a Difference on a Project
In the Development and Professional Services universe, where we at 729solutions spend most of our time, clients often reach out with a problem we’ve never seen before. It requires the work of our Sales Team, with the help of our Scoping Team and developers/designers, to answer a few basic questions: Can we tackle this project? What is the best way to satisfy the client’s needs? What can we do to make this sale a win-win for everyone?
During the sales process, there is ample opportunity to add value to the project, even before anyone has signed on the dotted line. Emails, conference calls, requirement documents, proposal documents, phone calls, and Slack messages can bounce around for months as the Sales and Scoping teams work alongside the prospective client to zoom in on the situation at hand, and then put a plan in place for success. A solid initial vision for the developers, admins, and designers to follow cuts down on the chance of future frustration for everyone and the cost for the client (Who doesn’t love that?!).
729 Solutions Sales Team Case Studies
Over the last two and a half years working with the 729solutions Sales Team, I have seen thousands of potential projects go from a lead to a prospect. Some of those sales are won or lost in a day, and others literally take years, but each of those projects starts out with its own set of obstacles and individual details that need to be accounted for by the Sales Team. Creating a collaborative, mission-driven environment early in the process is crucial to the overall success of the project and instills confidence in the client that hopefully endures throughout the relationship. Let’s dive into a couple of projects that show the countdown to kickoff.
Brown Paper Tickets
BPT is an online ticketing marketplace for events of all kinds. They came to us as many future clients do, by filling out a form on our website. The request was for help implementing Zendesk, a top-notch Customer Success tool, and one of our partners.
After a few emails back and forth, they had gathered the right folks from their team, had been given a little bit of information about our Zendesk experience, and the initial sales call was on the calendar! Based on that call, it was very clear, from our side, that this was a perfect fit (but we still had the pesky obligation to convince them of that!). BPT had not purchased Zendesk yet, but, being a partner, we were able to provide an easy connection to the appropriate party on their behalf. Their existing system was limited and UX/UI needed big-time improvements. Also, their CTO stated they wanted a fully experienced development shop, not just a Zendesk specialist. It was a match made in heaven!
We made the Zendesk connection and BPT was going to work on a requirements document to give us more information, then it was crickets for a few weeks, but after a few follow-up emails later, we had the requirements in hand. After a few more weeks and a few more back and forth emails, we had all the stakeholders on both sides ready for another call. During that call, all parties agreed that the best way to proceed was with a discovery/deep scoping phase. We like to offer these as an option when the project story is expected to have a lot of twists and turns before the final chapter. Sometimes the best first step is backward to get a bigger picture view of the landscape and the best avenues to take to get to the destination (So many metaphors!).
We decided to pass along a contract for their legal team to review, as we waited for our partners at Zendesk to demonstrate the product itself, all the time working with the Zendesk Account Manager to make sure our goals were aligned. A couple of weeks after that, the contract was signed, the product was purchased, and we were ready to get started. Two and a half months after our first contact, we on the Sales Team were thankful to get to work with their team and set the wheels in motion to pass the project onto our operations team for execution. The success story is ongoing, as we continue to work with them on further projects.
Zift Solutions (No relation!)
Sometimes there is a problem to solve even before the main project can be discussed, and it needs to happen fast. Zift came to us via a referral from their new Account Manager at Zendesk. Zendesk wanted us to help Zift move over from a competitor’s product and tackle the complexities to make it happen. We needed to find a way to make it work for the client and be sure our partner was set up to make the sale as well.
The first step was a call to get a good overview. After that call, we requested a sample data set to pass along to our Scoping and Development team for review. A few back and forth emails followed and the future client realized the data files didn’t contain everything they needed, so our scoping team would have to investigate an alternate connection, via API, to make it happen. The client was eager and helpful and passed along all the information as soon as we needed it, and, within a day, our Team was able to put together a proposal. We explained that the increase in the effort was going to possibly push their budget, but we would do everything we could to keep costs down as the deadline to get started approached. Then came another surprise, Zift wanted to break up the move into two parts to ease the transition internally, so our Team jumped back into action to come up with a Version 2 of the proposal. Within a few hours, Zift had the updated proposal in hand and was ready to sign a contract. From partner referral, initial call, scoping, and re-scoping to contract negotiation and completion, we wrapped it up within a calendar week, and the project was set up for success.
Our Sales folks have seen that a good start leads to good outcomes. We love working with the client to find the solution they need, figure out what it is going to take, and put a plan in place to get it done. You may not know it yet, but your next salesperson could be your new best friend!