MEDDPICC – Paper Process
A variation of MEDDICC that is often used it MEDDPICC which incorporates a P into the acronym. The P stands for Paper Process.
The Paper Process are the steps or actions that lie in place ahead of contracts being agreed and signed.
Generally, most of the Paper Process begins once the solution provider has been given a clear indication that they have been selected. Usually, this means that the specifications and commercial elements of the deal have been agreed upon; however, they may still be in play in some instances.
The Paper Process doesn’t tend to differ too much regardless of the state of the deal specification or commercials unless they push the deal into a new boundary of approval requirements.
The specification of the Paper Process will vary from customer to customer. However, the endpoint of the process is always the same – for the seller, it is a signed contract, and for the buyer, it is approval to release funds for the investment and approval to sign the Sellers contract.
There is a lot of cross-over between the Paper Process and the Decision Process, and in some variations of MEDDPICC, the Paper Process is rolled inside the Paper Process. For this Chapter, we will treat the Paper Process as its own individual part.
You need your Champion
No Seller can tackle the Paper Process alone; they need the support of their Champion to map out each step and go into bat for the seller if any unexpected issues arise or your deal needs prioritizing with other stakeholders.
As uncomfortable as it may become to press your Champion for confirmation and updates for each stage, it is required. Your Champion is likely to ease your pressures by telling you they have it all in hand, but easing up on thoroughly working through each stage is the opposite of what you should do.
For each stakeholder in the Paper Process, you want to ensure your Champion has confirmed that they are briefed and available to fulfill their commitments to the timeframes which have been committed.
Killer Questions To your Champion:
“Have you worked through these stages with a solution of similar complexity/cost before?”
“What things should we look out for?”
“What have you seen go wrong?”
“What things should we be doing to be on the front foot?”MEDDPICC – Killer Question 👌
The 3 Key Elements of any Paper Process
There are always three key elements of any Paper Process in MEDDPICC. They are as follows:
- The Process
- The People
- The Timing
1. The Process
The seller needs to understand the entire process to go from being the vendor of choice through to having their contractual agreements signed. Each organization will be different and have different layers of approval and authority that need satisfying.
It is essential to consider what dependencies the parts of the process have, too, ensure they are mapped out within the Go-Live Plan and be confirmed with all of the relevant stakeholders.
Once we have agreed and approved paperwork, who needs to sign it, and what are the steps in the process that are required to be taken to get that person to sign?
What happens if the signer is incapacitated, I.e., they are ill. Is there someone else that can sign in their absence?
2. The People
Equally as important as the process are the people. For each step of the process, who are the people who are required to approve and progress each stage?
Have you built reasonable contingency plans for if anyone should be delayed or unavailable at any time?
Every seller knows a horror story of where they had meticulously built out their Paper Process only for a stakeholder to disappear on vacation, thus scuppering the planned process.
3. The Timing
The last element of the Paper Process is timing. There is likely to and needs to be some form of time deadline around the Paper Process. It is ideally driven by a deadline on the customer’s side, but failing that the seller should always have a deadline they are working to whether it is tied to resources that are being reserved for the implementation of the deal or it is related to a time-limited commercial offer by the seller.
Having a deadline drives urgency on both sides and maintains momentum on the deal.
The vast majority of timelines are driven by the seller and the timing constraints of how the organizations they represent report their financial earnings. You only have to look at the close dates of any enterprise solution provider, and you will notice a cluster of deals closing at the end of the month, quarter, or year.
What has always fascinated me is how, despite so many deals being forecasted to close at the end of quarters, there is rarely a cluster of deals that close shortly after the end of the quarter. It is so often the case that all guns are blazing, trying to get a deal over the line only to slip and subsequently take a few more weeks to close. However, if the quarter were to be extended by a week in the last month, how many would still close inside the quarter? Many more than do when the next week becomes the next quarter, I bet.
Paper Process when in Closing Mode
The Paper Process comes into its own when sales organizations find themselves in closing mode, such as at the end of a quarter or financial year. In these scenarios where the decks are often cleared of all deals that are forecasted to close outside of the current quarter sales, teams can zoom in on the Paper Process to focus on getting deals over the finishing line inside the deadline forecasted against.
Much of the benefit of the Paper Process for Sellers and Sales Leaders alike is that it focuses the attention of all of the stages that need passing to get a deal closed and highlight all of the aspects that could impact the likelihood of the deal being forecasted when scheduled.
The Paper Process is not Linear
Even when you have the Paper Process entirely mapped out and confirmed by your Champion, there is always a high risk of unanticipated factors throwing a spanner in your deal’s works.
In addition stages will frequently run out of order as some get completed ahead of time while others fall behind. Add in the fact that many of the stages are dependent of each others progress and you have a process on your hands that needs a very keen eye kept upon it at every step.
Paper Process and your Sales Process
The Paper Process is a part of the sales process that cannot be passed over. It is the part of MEDDPICC that has the most significant impact on the forecast accuracy from a timings perspective.
MEDDPICC in the Early-Stages:
The Paper Process is often skipped in the early stages of deals, but it shouldn’t be ignored entirely as the Paper Process can have in impact earlier in deals with paperwork such as an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
I have seen NDA’s that slow deals down as organizations cannot reach agreement on the terms.
On rare occasions, NDA’s can also contain legally binding terms in areas such as intellectual property or liabilities. These types of terms are often controversial and are likely to need intervention from your legal team. I have seen NDA’s grind deals to a halt at the early stages and, in some cases, kill the deal altogether.
With all of this in mind, Sellers must get on the front foot with NDA’s and any other paperwork that will need to be agreed upon before a full sales engagement taking place.
As part of your Discovery process, you are likely to uncover details relating to the Paper Process such as who some stakeholders will be, how their procurement and legal processes work as well as any matters that should be considered at this stage such as unusual terms or expectations.
MEDDPICC in the Mid-Stages:
In the Mid-Stages of your sales cycle, you want to gain visibility of the Paper Process, what stages it contains, and which stakeholders will be involved.
If there are any significant stakeholders you haven’t had a chance to engage with, you will want to work with your Champion to make that engagement occur.
As your move towards the selection process of your deal, you will want to have a good understanding of the Paper Process in particular before you enter into any commercial negotiations as timing and the terms of any agreement should all be on the table before your begin any negotiation.
Another reason why the seller must understand the stages of the Paper Process is to prepare and reserve appropriate resources to assist with any parts of the process that require them.
The seller needs to obtain consensus from their Champion of what the Paper Process is and that it hasn’t changed from how it was detailed earlier in the sales process.
MEDDPICC in the Late-Stages:
In the Late-Stages of the deal cycle, the seller should be immersed within the Paper Process with a clear understanding of the stages of the process, the stakeholders responsible for them, their dependencies, and the timing around each stage.
The seller should be tracking progress against each stage in real-time in their Go-Live plan, the details of which they should regularly discuss with their Champion.
The Paper Process is not completed until the deal has been signed and booked against the opportunity in the Sellers CRM system.
The consensus at the late-stage should all be around the confidence of your Go-Live Plan. The seller’s confidence in forecasting measures the level of confidence, their deal should be committed, and the seller should be prepared to stand firmly on the date.
Summary Snapshot of the Paper Process in the sales process:
- Early: Can I get a brief snapshot of the Paper Process?
- Mid: Was my initial assumptions and information correct? Is there anything I need to be prepared for or anyone I need to be introduced to?
- Late: Do I fully understand the Process, People, and Timing and feel confident it is as my Go-Live Plan shows?
Summary of Paper Process
The sooner Sellers engage in the Paper Process, the sooner they can progress on the stages within it. Often different stages of the Paper Process are not dependent on each other or the progress of the deal, so items such as security approvals can be completed in the Mid-Stages of the deal, saving time and resources for other things dependent on the late-stages.
A thoroughly executed Paper Process leads to fewer surprises and vastly improved forecast accuracy.
I highly recommend implementing MEDDPICC over MEDDICC if there is frequently any kind of complexity or you have multiple stakeholders in the contracting part of your sales process.