Time to read: 9 minutes
How to Win With MEDDIC During a Downturn
Race car driver Ayrton Senna has a saying: “You cannot overtake 15 cars in sunny weather… but you can when it’s raining.” MEDDICC CEO Andy Whyte gave a webinar on how you can set yourself up properly going into the upcoming downturn and emerge successful.
We have weathered storms like this one before. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit before it, we are well aware of the potential obstacles in our path. What we have learned from these experiences is that your mindset is key when going into a downturn - if you think you can or you can’t, you’ll probably be right.
Something to remember is not to panic! We can learn a lot from downturns, and apply that knowledge now. During the 2008 recession, for example, there was still growth forecasted in the Saas industry, and many Saas companies became more efficient post-2008. Therefore, we can see that a downturn in the economy does not necessarily mean a downturn for your business.
All you need is to wade through the useless information out there and take these 10 actionable tactics that you can apply to win!
- Shift to Efficient Growth
The average salesperson might think that the best way to improve their success is to simply increase the amount of opportunities entering their pipeline; surely the more chances you give yourself, the more wins you’ll get? But this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, you are spreading yourself thin and wasting your time and energy on opportunities that go nowhere. Once you emphasise quality over quantity, you will notice a dramatic shift in your pipeline success rate. For example, if you focus on increasing your annual contract value by broadening your value proposition, you can broaden the overall size of the deal. To truly enable more efficient growth, you can implement the Sales Velocity Equation:
Sales Velocity = ACV x Conversion Rate x Number of Opportunities / Time to Close
By improving each of the above metrics included in the SVE, you will find more efficient success than ever before.
Read more about the Sales Velocity Equation here.
- Think Ideal Prospect Profile, not Ideal Customer Profile
When looking for new prospects, it can be easy to start looking for those like your existing customers - specifically, your best customers. Your best customer may seem ideal as not only do they love you and get maximum value from your solution, they’re impressive and make great use-cases when talking with prospective customers. Despite this, they are not the kind of customer you should be prospecting for! You can find that customers like that are harder to sell to, as their size means they have multiple stakeholders and more departments to engage and align. This means that not only will deals take longer to close, there are more opportunities for the deals to be shut down and fall through. So what does the ideal prospect look like? Your ideal prospect profile will be one that you have Go To Market support for, and have a high win rate. Their company will be in relatively prosperous markets (this means they will be able to afford your solution!) and have agile buying processes. You can then use MEDDPICC to crush your explanations of how you will deal with value, stakeholders, and process!
- Create Urgency by Implicating Pain
At MEDDICC, we know that Pain + Value = Urgency. When you demonstrate the pain to your customer, paired with the value they will gain from solving it, you can drive the urgency of the deal. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The first step, understandable, is to find the pain. But take note: this isn’t binary. While a customer may feel the pain when you first reveal it to them, there is nothing stopping them from forgetting the pain once the meeting is over. Your job as a salesperson is to ensure they carry the reminder of the pain with them, and when new people come into the deal, they are also implicated in the pain. There is no point in implicating pain that only affects a few people involved in your deal; this will prevent it from being made a priority. When it comes to implicating pain, there are three types of sellers.
- Bad sellers: Stumble across the pain almost by accident and only stay at surface level. They simply point to features of their solution that solve the pain
- Average sellers: Indicate the pain and relate it to lost value in order to build a business case. They might use metrics to build up the cost of the pain.
- Elite sellers: Implicate the pain. They dig deeper into the pain via two sided discovery, where they go to the prospective customer and find out what their goals and challenges are so they can personalise their demo and pitch. Then, they find out the implications of the pain and ensure the prospect feels it.
Learn more about how to create urgency in sales here.
- Build Confidence with Metrics
The best way to win new customers is to show them the success you’ve had with existing customers in their field. You can use Metrics to show the proven, measurable, and relevant value you have provided in the past and can provide prospective customers. The ideal approach is to prepare relevant stories about your previous customers that are tailored to each prospect. You should start with the state the customer was in before your solution - talk about what their pain was at that time. You can then illustrate what their situation was after your solution - what value has that customer seen since? What is the quantification of that value? This should not be a one-sided monologue, but a conversation with your prospect. You should also focus on how your solution delivers the value you’ve outlined in a differentiated manner - you don’t want to highlight the benefits of your solution just for them to go with a competitor who does something similar, but not as well as you do!
- Level Up Decision Criteria
When it comes to identifying the decision criteria, there tend to be two types of seller. The first type, the average seller, will try to uncover the criteria against which the customer will be judging their solution’s suitability against, along with the technical elements of the solution that would persuade the customer to buy. So, their approach would be to uncover the decision criteria and simply align their solution ro match the customer’s technical needs. However, the elite seller sees the decision criteria as containing three distinct aspects - technical, economical, and relationship. They understand that the customer likely does not have a strong grasp of what their decision criteria are, and know to seize the opportunity to act as a trusted advisor to their customer and help them to shape their criteria towards the industry best practice. The elite seller also knows that they will need to obtain consensus with their champion on the decision criteria in order to build trust with the customer and seal the deal!
Along with that, when considering the overall decision criteria, it is essential to zero in on the economic decision criteria. As we know, in a downturn, the economics matter. When presenting information to your customer, ensure you communicate how economically viable your solution is from a perspective of finance, risk, and efficiency, not just price. You should make sure you’re listening to what the customer really wants! Accurately convey not only the ROI, but the perceived risk, cost of change, and time to value. When you prove you are thinking about things no one else is, you elevate yourself to a new level of selling.
- Rethink the Forecast
Before we proceed, you must remember that MEDDPICC is not a forecasting tool, but rather a sales framework that helps sellers shift from deal uncertainty to deal confidence. However, when you use MEDDPICC with your forecasting, you can improve its effectiveness. A recent study found that 77% of organisations lack a formalised approach to forecasting altogether. On top of that, 55% of sales leaders do not have high confidence in their forecasting accuracy. Clearly, rethinking the way we forecast is incredibly needed; 97% of companies that worked to implement sales forecasting best practices achieved their quotas as opposed to 55% of companies that implemented zero changes.
When working on your forecasts, be careful not to fall into the four fallacies of forecasting:
- Some sellers believe that forecasting has zero value and exists only as an exercise to report data.
- Forecasts exist to put sellers on the spot - some organisations treat forecasting like a public accountability exercise.
- Sellers may see forecasting as a public deal review, where debate isn’t condoned and actions are given without deeper contextual evaluation. It’s important to remember that this isn’t true - a forecast call is not a deal review!
- Sellers might feel like they see no impact, as they do not see any results from an accurate or inaccurate forecast.
Particularly in a downturn, the forecast is the most important thing you can do as it can make or break your business. The impact of inaccurate forecasting can be felt across the board. If you are overly optimistic, you can lose money you have wrongly invested in areas you thought would do better. On the other hand, if you are overly pessimistic, you lose momentum as you have denied yourself opportunities to do as well as you should have! However, with accurate forecasting, you can only win! You can overachieve when you succeed, and manage your losses when you don’t.
- Align and Engage With the Economic Buyer
Now more than ever, being aligned with your economic buyer is essential. They hold ultimate veto power and decide whether your solution will be chosen or not. To do this effectively, you need to speak their language. You will need to understand that in a downturn, the economic buyer will be considering risk first and foremost, and then efficiency, before considering revenue. To make sure you align on these, you need to build a rock solid business case before the economic buyer decides whether they will invest or not. You should consider the economic decision criteria again here, so you know what will matter to the economic buyer. In your business case, you should cover the payment terms and make sure it’s future proof - covering both attrition and growth. The economic buyer will also be thinking about the consolidation of tech, the cost of change, and the time to value. By taking these things into consideration, you can ensure you are on the right track with the economic buyer.
- Level With Your Champion
When interacting with your customer, particularly your champion, it is beneficial to tell them about the framework you use. While you might not want to tell them specifically that you are use MEDDPICC, it is helpful to be honest on your processes and your approach to business with them. You can explain how your chosen framework helps you to deliver value, engage with stakeholders and keep on track with different processes. This way, your champion knows you are thorough in all aspects of the deal, and they know what to expect from you going forward.
- Lock in Time Frames With the Decision Process
Making sure you have a clear timeline of the deal laid out is essential to keeping it on track. To avoid finding yourself waiting and around for the customer and simply order-taking, you can find or create the compelling event and work backwards. Every opportunity has a compelling event - if it doesn’t, you can create one. Inertia preys on deals without compelling events.Once you have identified the compelling event, you can look at what lies between then and now. What stages are ahead? Are there any stages you aren’t aware of? To get a better idea of the timeline, you can ask your champion what happened the last time they bought a solution like yours - what were the necessary steps? This can be useful for getting a lay of the land ahead. You can then work alongside your champion to obtain a consensus on the process, steps, stages, dependencies, and ownership. You can then work together towards what we at MEDDICC refer to as the ‘Go-Live’ date. Many salespeople work towards the contract signing date as this is important for us, but the customer cares more about when your solution is implemented for them. By working with your customer towards the ‘Go-Live’ date, you will find greater success overall.
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
At times like this, we need to make sure we do all aspects perfectly - and to do so, we need to go back to basics. It’s important to ensure we go into every meeting having done the necessary research, having sent an agenda and reached out to connections. Brief and sync any supporting team members beforehand - you don’t want to be practising your pitch or conversations on your customers! While some of this may seem like no-brainers, you would be surprised at the number of average sellers who don’t even cover the basics in their approaches. Before you go into a meeting with a prospective customer, you can break down every element of MEDDPICC to make sure you are locking in that perfect preparation, so you can win during this upcoming downturn.
If you have any questions about how to apply MEDDPICC, you can reach out to us on LinkedIn. If you want to embark even further on your MEDDPICC journey, feel free to connect with any member of our incredible sales team to ask about out MEDDPICC Masterclass.
Want to hear it all again? Catch Andy’s webinar here.