Politics and the Art of the Deal

In this blog I’m going to share my views on the link between influence and politics, the potential impact of not getting it right and offer some questions for you to consider.  My hope is that the information will offer new insights that support your sales efficiency, effectiveness and closing ratio.

Influence is often linked to politics. We see the link in many facets of our world today, yet it’s not a new phenomenon. Politics is often tarnished with a negative connotation yet when our sales proposition is aligned to stakeholder value, having a political strategy is healthy and improves the odds of our high-value proposition being accepted, by the decision maker(s).

Over my career as a sales professional, leader and coach, I’ve experienced important sales opportunities transition from “high potential to lost” because value has not been positioned to the right individuals.  It’s disappointing, typically we’ve dedicated our time on the opportunity and the time and resources of others within our firm. Resources may include business development expenses, marketing expenses and the time and expenses of other members of your deal-team.

Q: What other resources are expended on high-value opportunities?

In my experience we’ve always leveraged some form of pipeline management in forecasting opportunities and their related revenue potential.  When a deal crashes it can have a meaningful impact on our revenue forecasting and on the credibility and capabilities of the sales professional, and sales manager.  It can be embarrassing particularly if the right decision makers have not been accounted for in our sales strategy.

Q: What opportunity stands out as one that was lost because you missed a key decision maker?

Developing a political strategy is comprehensive and dynamic, following are 5 reflection questions that can get you on the right track:

  1. Have you connected with the key people who have influence, see value in your proposal and are prepared to champion it within the client organization?
  2. Is there organizational change taking place within your client organization? How do the changes effect your political strategy?
  3. Have you aligned the internal resources of your own organization to ensure that you can deliver on your client offer?
  4. Who else needs to be considered as a potential decision-maker? Who has the power to shut the deal down?

I hope that the overview of influence and politics is of value to you and that some of the insights and questions offered open an area of discovery that may have been overlooked.  Sales effectiveness is an art supported by a lot of effort.  I acknowledge you for your dedication to your craft.  Please contact me if you think I can support your work.