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Why we always perform a ‘health check’ as part of our sales cycle

09/19/2023 By

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I don’t often get to ‘take to the digital boards’ of Spend Matters these days anymore, but a snarky-ish post I made on LinkedIn has led to so much public and private reaction and conversation (a month later!) that I felt obligated to dive deeper.

Here’s the post I made:

On the surface, it seems like harmless fun, right? ‘Haha! Nobody knows how to say anything that means anything anymore! Our language has lost any trace of creativity! We’re all sales and marketing sheep that believe we can toss s#it like this into the abyss, and prospects will clog our pipeline begging to speak to us!’

Here’s the thing, though: it’s unfortunately true. I have worked with literally hundreds of solution providers and consultants over the past 15 years, and I have never before seen such a blatant lack of creativity, fun, challenge and personalization in go-to-market messaging and strategy as I’m seeing right now. And that includes us! We’re busy, and it’s hard to be Don Draper all day!

BUT — the important point to realize is that while ‘procurement’ and prospects all have blanket pain points and problems to solve, every organization is incredibly different. And every vendor is incredibly different. Marketing teams should relentlessly celebrate and market those differences, and sales teams should seek their prospect’s unique points from the first interaction.

Ultimately, I’m trying to sell engagements to work with Jason Busch and I to use Spend Matters IP/our own expertise to help solution providers message what’s really, really great about them and what fits their brand and team’s personalities. But before we even try to sell anything like that, we go through a ‘health check’ process to see if it makes sense for us to do business in the first place.

We ask things like:

Metrics — What are your goals for the remainder of 2023, 3-5 year plan (funding rounds, sell, IPO, etc.)?

Suppliers — What suppliers are you working with for lead generation, SEO, PR, data, sales training or any other marketing or sales services, if any?

Team — What is the current structure of your marketing and sales and product teams/what gaps need to be filled, if any? How do you get competitive intelligence and train teams to use it effectively? How do you educate teams continually about the market?

Demand generation — What do current activities look like to fill your pipeline? Omnichannel? Education vs. agoge?

Content — What content supports your pipeline, and how is it distributed? What’s missing?

Partners — What tech/consulting firms do you partner with, if any? Are channels healthy and monetized?

Analyst relations/Influencers — What is the strategy here?

Product — How do you determine roadmap, build vs. buy, competitive insight, etc.? How do you train your sales team on new features and how to talk about them?

Customer success — How do you keep your pulse on ‘voice of the customer’ and industry? Where do you get anecdotal and statistically relevant quantitative and qualitative data to us for go-to-market?

This tells us:

  • The maturity of an organization (i.e., what they actually need vs. what they think they need).
  • What their strengths and passions are (you wouldn’t believe how eyes light up and glaze over as we run through this).
  • Weaknesses they’re scared to talk about (we can read you like a book, sorry).
  • Where we can help now, and where we can help later.
  • Where we CAN’T help, and why.

Asking these questions helps our clients jump out of the day-to-day for a bit and think about the big picture (which can be fun and helps people remember why they do this in the first place). After all, isn’t being creative about being curious?

Whether you do a health check with us or not, block off an hour to do two things:

  • Run through and ask yourself if you’re happy with your honest answers to the questions above, and if not, why?
  • Fill in the blank for your company so that a 13-year old would instantly understand it: [Company name] is [what is it] that [why you should use it] so you can [why you should care].

If you DO want to get creative, we’re all ears: Start a conversation about getting your health check done before the end of the year >>