Posts Tagged ‘Customer Engagement Cycle’

Strategy – Art of Selling – II

As a part of our guest Lecture series “Samvaad” we once again had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sanjay Ray who is Director, Solutions Engineering and Pre-sales at SAP India.

This time he spoke about “Strategy – Art of Selling”, role of Business Development and Sales team in an IT company. He started with the example of Cisco whose latest product offering Human network, suggest the way in which a company can relate to the needs of its customer. Sanjay’s Lecture started with “The customer Engagement Lifecycle”,which can be represented as below:

VIP MAP–>Qualification MAP–>Value Proposition–>Differentiator Matrix–>Presented Contracts

VIP MAP is a jargon used to express three key parameters:

Vision: This means understanding the vision of your customer. What they want to achieve.

Indicator: To know how are the customers progressing?  How are they doing in strategy?

Pain: Indicates reduction in pains of your customer. The IT product map you give should be aligned to the customer’s vision map.

What is Lead generation : The Business Development Team and Sales team sit together at the start of the year and decide on number of leads in year.

  • Don’t focus at “Pains” of customer but focus at their “Vision”.
  • The Lead should be validated through value assumption
  • Until you have clarity that your product is feasible and aligned to customer’s vision, don’t take it up.
  • Even if you have a proposition but the chances of conversion are lower in customer then it is better to DROP.

You drop a customer if there is


Risks are bigger

Opportunity &

Potential then


The Qualification MAP asks to check on following:


  • Customer Profile: Example “Selling of ERP to Real Estate or Jewellery Industry”.  Few years back Real Estate felt no need to implement any T solution to maintain their projects and work. However the long term vision and increase in sector was perceived well and today most of the real estate business going global know how important it is to implement ERP system.
  • Financial Situation of customer: In most cases the customer won’t buy your Product if his financial situation is grave. However in few cases if customer’s need is critical and your product feasibility aligns with customer’s vision and his survival then it is sure the customer would accept the offer. Example: Eureka Forbes struck a deal with IBM
  • Project Framework: Make sure the customer has a team or Project that can evaluate your product
  • Drivers and Requirements
  • Date of Rating


  • Customer Relationship: One of the most important criteria. It is actually the relationship that makes the deal work. In most of the cases the Technologies are more or less similar eg. Outsourcing capabilities of WIPRO and Infosys are similar but who would get the deal is decided by customer relationship.
  • Political Situation: This is another very important criterion.For eg, “You have good customer relationship with CIO . But your competitor gets the deal.Why? He knew the CFO. And unfortunately CFO is the decision making.” Bottom line : Understand the Politics of Customer’s Organization.
  • Expectation Matching
  • Decision Making


  • Prospect Resources: If customer doesn’t has the right kind of people who can use your product and services then better drop the customer.
  • Competitive Differentiation
  • Relative Value Add
  • Our resources

Solution Selling Phase

  • This is the showcasing of Products and services.
  • Make sure you don’t showcase all features here.
  • Identify specific areas and specific indicators here.
  • Customer seeks in you the capability they want.

In fact if customer sees the number of computers, the number of people, and the number of systems you have deployed then he may actually assume his costs for implementing your product may be higher and the customer may divert.

Value Proposition:

Few Questions to ask and remember in Value Proposition are:

  • Understand the value for customer
  • Convey to the architects: The architects are actually the technical people. You are required to give them briefing note
  • Why us and not others (competitors)
  • Which factors are decisive for success of project
  • What is our solution
  • What is the prospect aiming to achieve
  • Why does Prospect need to act

Identify–>Evaluation Phase–>Solution Selling–>Decision Making–>Implement

The SAMVAAD for 13th June 09 ends here. Waiting to hear soon from Mr. Sanjay Ray soon on further phases of “The art of selling”.


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Mr.Sanjay Delivering the lecture On Strategic Pre-Sales

Mr.Sanjay Delivering lecture On Strategic Pre-Sales

As part of our Samvaad Series, we had an opportunity to listen to Mr. Sanjay Ray who is Director, Solutions and Pre-sales Engineering at SAP India.

His lecture provided us great insights into strategic pre-sales cycle and how there are different level of pre-sales consultants operating in the market. The most important point which came to forefront was that you should know your customer for sales and business development. It is not about selling product and services but about selling “value” to the customer. This is one aspect which is evidently visible when you take a pass on different type of sales guys present in the industry, namely technical (level-1), capable (level-2), strategic (level-3). As one tries to distinguish between these three types of sales consultant one would see that there intent to sell moves from product & features to the customer and that is where the difference lies.

Some key parameters on which you can classify these consultants are as follows:

Level Outlook Timing Alignment
Level-III Outcomes Proactive Executive
Level-II Process Response Management
Level-I Event Reactive Operations

 A strategic sale is like a game of chess and playing it the grand-master style is what makes you cut the deal. You need to make the customer play to your game-plan to crack a deal. Alignment with the customer is what can lead you to success. The opportunity to align with the customer either lies in the initial phases of the deal or at the end of the deal. In middle phases when technical evaluation is being done, it is not possible to establish relationship with the customer to the extent you would desire. Level-I sales guys operate during the operational phase of the deal which actually tends to make them not think beyond the operational silo where as a level-II or III sales guy would think make interface with the customer at the stages mentioned earlier during the deal roadmap.

 There is another matrix which distinctly explains the different facets of the various levels of sales guys which exist in the industry:

Level Perception Resources Performance
Level-III Business Meeting High On Customer ROI Reliable/Exceeds
Level-II Reasonable sales call Timely / judicious Consistently Achieves
Level-I Technical alternatives Premature / Excess Marginal / inconsistent

Don’t consider technical alternatives for the customer but treat it as a meeting where you can highlight the value proposition to the customer which can come in many ways & most importantly pricing is not a barrier, you would get the right price if customer perceived value is high. Even if the customer does not have the kind of money to buy the solution, you can make him go for it if you are able to identify the impact points for the customer and how it can help turnaround tables in customers favor if he were to buy the solution. It is necessary to understand the buying process and what are the sync points of it with the Customer Engagement Cycle (CEL). For being a successful strategic sales guy you don’t need to “sell” but help the customer “buy”.

The sync points through which helps develop the value proposition consist of:

Value Assumption ↔  Assessment and understanding customer needs

Value Proposition ↔ Identifying solutions to suit the value proposition of the customer

Value Proof ↔ Justification

Value Delivery ↔ Implementation

Customer management would be a continuous process all through the buying process. There was lot to offer from my Mr.Sanjay’s side but we were constrained by time and that was the most unfortunate part. I would leave his trail with this parting point; understand the concept of VIP while dealing with the customer view point.

V ↔ Vision ↔ where do I want to be ↔ customer vision

I ↔ Indicator ↔ How do I know that I have arrived?

P ↔ Pain ↔ what keeps me from getting there?

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