No surprise at the closing: "Closing Plan

I recently wrote about a few unpleasant experiences at one closing or another. One of the sales tools mentioned there is the sgt. "Closing Plan". It sounds simple, is effective, but is often not used. Maybe I can encourage you to try it at least a few times.

I'll start with an experience here as well. We had a sales colleague who was very successful in his previous company. Accordingly, we had great confidence in his numerous contacts at potential customers, but above all in his skills to design and close a deal. In fact, we had a deal in the high 6-digit range in front of the shotgun, which, however, could not be won at first.

What happened there? The colleague spoke with many departments in order to determine the customer's overall requirements. However, he failed to realize that purchasing, the legal department, etc. also had to be involved. In addition, a multi-stage approval process usually has to be followed even for higher sums. In his old company, there was a team that almost automatically ensured that everything ran synchronously. Unfortunately, that was not the case with us - smaller company, often still in a startup mode. In the end, we didn't lose the deal, but there was a significant delay, which in turn impacted all other dimensions of the company's strategy.

We have therefore introduced the concept of the Closing Plan, especially for larger deals. A Closing Plan means that you plan with your contact person on the customer side what all has to happen until the launch of the product and, if necessary, afterwards. After all, there has to be exactly this common goal: we want to get started in January in order to achieve goal xyz (if this does not exist, there is usually nothing else to do apart from drinking coffee together on a regular basis).

Such backward planning can help both sides to do the necessary things at the right time. This can be, for example, the contract review, onboarding as a supplier beforehand, naming technical contacts, agreeing the purchase price with purchasing, etc. I have also not yet experienced a customer resisting to create a joint closing plan. Depending on the customer, things can work differently, and an open, joint agreement helps everyone to also achieve the goal or to determine if there is a sticking point somewhere. Another positive result is that CRM-based reporting becomes much more reliable when there is not just wishful thinking and hope behind the individual CRM stages, but a solid plan.