Matt Cameron (VP of Sales, Scripted) - Proposals That Win


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  • Focus of talk is guerilla tactics for companies with less resources than their competitors…Part of being successful when competing against the large companies is to use the puffer fish approach and appear bigger than you are through the professionalism of your approach and with this ticket to the game it gets interesting - Today’s presentation is about standing out through using innovative approaches to writing proposals.Let’s check that everyone is awake – Put your hands up if you are in a business that sells B2B.Keep you hands up if you have to submit written proposals- Everyone does….
  • I am going to frame today’s discussion with a summary of a deal that I think epitomizes the guerilla proposal style that I am advocating, but before I do I think it worth a brief walk through my sales history so that you have a context for my way of thinking.The first half of my career was characterized by working for very large companies with lots of resourcesThe second however, has very much been working for challengers – Companies without loads of resources that want to stick a thorn in the side of the established players .- I joined Salesforce Feb 1 2005 and was the 6th employee in Asia Pacific – A time when we all worked from home, used voip calling cards to save money and I would have marc benioff on the line for our largest sales calls. And this is the context for the featured guerilla deal that I wanted to start our conversation with today
  • In 2006 I was in Sydney Australia and received a bid request from Telecom NZ – The largest telco in the country and for a deal that was very significant to us at that time.The odds seem so stacked that I declined to bid whichforced the COO to get on a call with myself and Marc Benioff to explain why we should participate. My prime issue was that Microsoft’s chosen partner was a Telecom NZ subsidiary, who were going to represent 60% of the seats themselves – Think about that….
  • - Once we got over that hurdle is seemed like a big ask - Oracle had 3 times as many people working the deal as we had people in the entire region.
  • 17 vs 3 certainly seemed a little one-sided, so we knew we had to do something different and the guerilla tactics I will be sharing with you today we used in this deal.
  • I am going to step you through a professional approach to proposal development and at each stage share the guerilla tactics that you can use to out maneuver the competition.
  • Pro tip: 10k - Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market RiskGuerilla tip for Individuals: Pro-tip – References provided to others on Linkedin. Who they have worked with, what they value, biases.
  • When you think about key individuals, think in detail about what they do each day and how they judge themselves to be successful, not in the abstract.Pro-tip: If you are selling to CFOs, then go interview your own CFO, either at your company or someone in your network. How are the measured? What are their top priorities and how do they address them? What do they consider to be the biggest obstacles to them achieving their goals?- Be focused on their role, abstracted from your offering and the person, because everyone is different, but roles always have common threads.
  • Think about the references they can provide and how you can water down the value of these. This can sometimes be done by noting that they primarily address different segments of the market than the one in which the prospect resides. For example, if you were selling to a reinsurance firm that is 100% B2B and they have references in B2C direct to consumer, then you would use that info to highlight your relevance with B2C clients.If their style is not 100% compatible with the client, then be sure to contrast – EG In the Telecom example we knew the assessment team to be casual and Oracle to be very buttoned down and formal, which intimidated the prospect. We made sure we were far more accessible.
  • This is an example of attributes that might be sought – The reason you list them is to score and identify strengths/weaknesses for yourself vs the competition, which you will use in the strategy statement next.
  • Completing this very simple set of statements sets you up for your proposal structure and themes – You can complete this on the basis that you know the customer’s hot buttons in addition to your competitive positioning.From this point I am going to continuing the process by assuming that I am a salesperson at the very new Graham-Bell phone company and that I am trying to sell a new fangled collaboration tool (The telephone) to Acme.
  • The next stage is to complete a solution worksheet where we take the information from the previous worksheets and work them into a couple of areas. We use our ‘alternatives’ considered to minimize the strengths and maximize weaknesses from the previous worksheet by using a technique that I call ghosting whereby we indirectly discredit the competition by explaining why we chose not to take their approach. In this example our competition has smoke signals – In the proposal we will explain that we chose not to go in that direction due to the fact that reliability was an issue because of wind in San Francisco…. Thereby indirectly attacking our competition without mentioning them once.Credibility re. being able to offer alternatives – What if you don’t actually offer any of the competitive alternatives and therefore can’t elegantly slam the competition? Well, the best way is to explain that you considered partnering with someone to deliver the service in this fashion and the second best way is to explain your product roadmap and why you chose not to use an alternative, and make sure that it reflects their priorities.To help give this clarity - We had this situation with the Telecom NZ deal at Salesforce whereby the competition offered on-premise solutions that allowed far deeper functionality and configuration. For example, in 2006 we didn’t even have outlook integration for email tracking. However, our secret weapon was that one of their hot-buttons was speed of implementation and risk related to that. So, to minimize the weakness and maximize our strengths we explained that we considered working with a partner to provide a private instance and then went on to explain the risk that this introduces and how much slower the pace of innovation is with on-premise software.Discriminators are the things that we will discuss that differentiate us against the competition in a way that is relevant to the hot buttons – In this example we are saying speed and reliability are our discriminators for ‘Real-time collaboration’.Guerilla tactic: Take your list of competitor strengths and then explain why you chose not to take that approach in terms that affect the customer’s hot-buttons.
  • So does anyone here get any information from this index?Guerilla proposal: use the index to tell a story, so even if a person doesn’t read the whole proposal, they have your message right in front of them.You can use it to reinforce positives and to mitigate weaknesses. In this example the fact that the old Graham bell telephone had no privacy, (ie if you have two handsets in one house a person can listen by picking up the other line, was turned into a positive by labeling it as a feature: ‘Party-line’.
  • The table is designed to normalize the responses and destroys creativity unless you use the following Guerilla tactic:Every table will have a notes cell for additional detail when your solution partially requires with a requirement. Use this field even when you solution does comply for the key points relating to your competitive strategy. In this example you can see that I have highlighted the party-line feature and I would have inserted this graphic here that makes the point that people can listen in on the line.
  • Having completed the headings and figured out the graphics that you might need it is time to write the executive summary. The Format here is a tried and tested approach that you can use not only for summarizing large proposals, but it can be a complete short form proposal that stands alonge.The structure is as follows:….- What is the pre-requisite for writing the Theme statement?
  • Here’s what it looks like…. [Explain each section] Explain quotes as a replacement for graphics.
  • Matt Cameron (VP of Sales, Scripted) - Proposals That Win

    1. 1. Proposals for Sales Hackers in 15 minutes Matt Cameron – VP Sales, @tmattcameron
    2. 2. 10 in country 6 in country 2000 in country 300 in country 200 in country
    3. 3. We begin with a story … Once upon a time…. there was a telecommunications carrier that needed CRM. Oracle, Microsoft and baby were invited to tender.
    4. 4. It didn’t really seem like a fair competition Sales Leadership <CSM/RSL & CE> Account Management (CDE Designate) Solution Architect (OS) OR Principal (SC) Pursuit Team Leaders <CSE & Bid Manager> Major Sales/ Velocity Team rep Proposal Manager Delivery Strategy Regional CDE Technical Architect Project Support Admin Transition/Implementation Regional Service Lines Mainframe Midrange (UNIX) LAN/Desktop Applications Support ATK Consultancy Strategy SC <industry> Rep Cross Functional Help Desk Voice Comms Data Comms <Other> Data Centre Ops CSG <industry> Rep Real Estate Financial Strategy NBA / Finance HR Strategy Human Resources/LCM Legal Strategy Legal Comm’s & Marketing Corporate Communications Global Purchasing Global Purchasing Oracle’s team was 17 deep
    5. 5. It didn’t really seem like a fair competition Sales Executive Services Consultant Pre-sales engineer
    6. 6. We did a competitive analysis and figured out our strategy statement
    7. 7. And we set about circumventing the rules
    8. 8. We won the largest deal in the quarter! We used minimum viable wordcount!
    9. 9. Here is how we did it… Prospect intelligence Strategy statement Competitive analysis Solution Worksheet Review Draft headings, themes, captions and graphics Review Content Review and release
    10. 10. Prospect intelligence Prosp ect intelli gence Com petitiv e analy sis Solution workshee t Strategy statemen t Review Draft headings , themes, captions and graphics Revie w Conte nt Company Key individuals  10k  Work history  Website  State of origin  Social media  Publications  Investor relations material  Social media Revie w and relea se
    11. 11. Key individuals Prosp ect intelli gence Com petitiv e analy sis Solution workshee t Strategy statemen t Review Draft headings , themes, captions and graphics “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” - Sun Tsu Revie w Conte nt Revie w and relea se
    12. 12. Competitive Analysis C o m p e t i t i v e a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l i g e n c e Str ate gy stat em ent Solu tion wor ksh eet Re Dra vie ft w hea din gs, the me s, cap tion s and gra phi cs R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e
    13. 13. Competitive analysis C o m p e t i t i v e a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l i g e n c e Str ate gy stat em ent Solu tion wor ksh eet Re Dra vie ft w hea din gs, the me s, cap tion s and gra phi cs R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e
    14. 14. C o m p e t i t i v e Strategy statement a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l Si tg r De a rn t ac ee ft g h y e s a t d a i t n e R g m e s e v , n i t t e h w e m e s , c a p ti o n s a n d g r a p h i c s We will maximize our strengths in […] by […]. We will minimize our weaknesses in […] by […]. We will neutralize their strengths in […] by […]. We will amplify their weaknesses in […] by […]. S ol ut io n w o r k s h e et R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e
    15. 15. C o m p e t i t i v e Solution worksheet Hot button #1 Real-time collaboration Solution Graham-Bell telephony system Alternatives considered - Smoke signals Tin can and string Postal mail Discriminators - Reliability Speed Proof /Experience/ Performance - Megacorp case study a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l Si tg r De a rn t ac ee ft g h y e s a t d a i t n e R g m e s e v , n i t t e h w e m e s , c a p ti o n s a n d g r a p h i c s Hot button #2 S ol ut io n w o r k s h e et R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e Hot button #3
    16. 16. Draft headings, themes and graphics Scenario 1 – Free form proposal with required sections: C o m p e t i t i v e a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l i Sg te rn ac De t r e a g ft y h s e t a a d t i e R n m e g e v s n i , t e t w h e m e s , c a p ti o n s a n d g r a p h i c s S ol ut io n w o r k s h e et R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e 2.0 Functional Requirements Detail 2.0 Functional Requirements Detail 2.2.2 FEATURES Realtime communication Audit Trail Ease of use Monitoring ability 2.2.2 FEATURES Bell-Graham telephony will allow Acme to converse in real-time All calls will be recorded as events and audit logs provided. Our rotary dialers are very simple to use – Tested on 6 year olds The Bell-Graham ‘Party line’ will allow managers to listen in on any calls
    17. 17. Draft headings, themes and graphics Scenario 2 – Table filling Requirement Provides ability to monitor calls in real-time Mandatory? Yes Solution complies? Yes/No/Partial Notes The Bell-Graham party line feature allows for an unlimited number of Acme personnel to monitor critical conversations. C o m p e t i t i v e a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l l i Sg te rn ac De t r e a g ft y h s e t a a d t i e R n m e g e v s n i , t e t w h e m e s , c a p ti o n s a n d g r a p h i c s S ol ut io n w o r k s h e et R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e
    18. 18. The executive summary – Four box organizer C o m p e t i t i v e a n a l y s i s P r o s p e c t i n t e l Dl S r ti a rg f ae t tn ec he g e y a d s i t n a g t s R e , e m v e t i n h e t e w m e s , c a p t i o n s S o l u t i o n w o r k s h e e t R e v i e w C o n t e n t R e v i e w a n d r e l e a s e a n d g r a p h i c s Document purpose Theme statement Preview Acme requires a new collaboration system that addresses the following key topics: • Real-time collaboration providing for accelerated development • Hot button #2 • Hot button #3 Proposal details Real-time collaboration providing for accelerated development [Solution and benefit] [Proof] [Visual/Graphic] Proposal details Summary Next steps Acme will increase employee engagement and shorten new product launches by 15% through the ability to collaborate in real time with the BellGraham telephony system
    19. 19. Graham Bell telephone network for Acme - Executive Summary
    20. 20. Use graphics as a weapon and ensure your intent is understood Original graphic Employee engagement survey results Guerrilla graphic Graham Bell customers beat industry averages Tied to win themes – “Maximize our strength in improved collaboration frequency.”
    21. 21. Summary  Research your prospect – Firm and individuals  Know your competition and plan to outflank them  Address competitive strengths/weaknesses by ‘ghosting’ them  Weave your messages throughout the proposal  Use the Four Box organizer for unsolicited propodals