If you have attended one of Gener8’s CO-IMPACT™ workshops, you’ll understand what the title to this article means. For those of you who haven’t, here’s an explanation.
The term ‘white van’ comes from the film Ocean’s 11. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his men execute a heist, taking money from a casino owner’s supposedly impenetrable vault. Benedict, the casino owner, is made to believe the money is in a white van and sends all his men to chase it to an airport. Once captured, however, they discover there is no money in the vehicle.
A ‘white van’ is an opportunity you are not going to win; there’s no money in it. You are wasting your time, energy and company resources.
So how can you stop chasing white vans? The 3 Whys and CO-IMPACT™ are designed to help.
The 3 Whys
One common mistake made by sales people is they have ‘deals’ in their pipeline that aren’t even real opportunities. The 3 Whys provide the initial qualification gate to assess whether an opportunity should enter your pipeline. They are:
· What is the pain or the potential gain the customer has that means they need to or want to change from their current state and that makes you relevant to them?
· What is the compelling event, the depth of the pain or the size of the gain that means they need to do it now and allows you to forecast the opportunity with confidence?
· What is it about your proposition that will compel them to purchase from you versus your competition, which may include doing something internally or staying with the incumbent
Can you answer the 3 Whys IN THE CUSTOMER’S VOICE for the opportunities you are forecasting this quarter? (‘In the customer’s voice’ means the customer has told you this information, its not what you assume it to be). If no, then you may not have an opportunity. You either have some work to do or you should qualify out and focus your time elsewhere.
The 3 Whys give you initial wisdom about the quality of your pipeline, hence they can be referred to as The 3 Whys Men (did you see what I did there?!)
Once in your pipeline, CO-IMPACT™ is used to qualify and manage opportunities, setting up the deal to optimise your potential to win. The acronym has three parts:
CO: In the English language CO means ‘with’ or ‘together’. Just take a second now to think about all the good deals you have done. It probably felt like you were working ‘with’ the customer; collaborating with someone in the account for your mutual benefit. You can only do this effective if you have a true Champion and know who you need to engage with in the Org Chart.
IM: This is the epicenter of the opportunity. People buy for emotional and then rational reasons, beginning with identifying pain that translates into a set of addressable needs. Tangible Money Metrics are used to create the business case required to justify the investment to the necessary people in the buying process.
PACT: A pact is an agreement between two parties. Understanding the Process, who has the Authority, the Competitive Criteria by which the decision is going to be made and the Timescales, will allow you to understand if and when you will receive a signed order.
CO-IMPACT™ has a 50-question qualification sheet, which is more applicable to larger deals. It is used throughout the lifetime of the opportunity and in deal reviews to identify what the sales person does and doesn’t know and therefore what needs to be focused on next before over-committing additional time and resources.
Using the qualification sheet, one of my customers, who has an 85% opportunity to win ratio, said “it scared the s**t out of the team with some deals”. The rigour of the process made them take their optimist yellow hats off and put their pessimistic “why won’t it happen and where are the bases we need to cover” black hats on.
Finally, when implementing this type of qualification methodology, pipelines will shrink in size, typically by at least a third. White vans, being chased by sales people high on hopium, are consigned to the scrap heap and the process of driving the right deals can begin.