Having worked through numerous validation contracts for clients with a wide variety of different propositions and requirements, I thought it might be helpful to share these experiences by detailing what the ideal outsourced sales toolkit should look like, and what a client ultimately takes away from a three month Sales Validation project with ChannelCreator.
Kicking off a Validation project
Imagine that you’re a B2B cloud software platform and you’ve decided to work with ChannelCreator to help develop a new market or segment. In ChannelCreator talk this initial three-month period is called the Validation phase.
Validation is comprised of two steps:
- Month 1: Go to Market planning via face-to-face sessions
- Months 2-3: Execution of the sales plan and the commencement of pipeline building
Enabling successful sales execution
There are two important factors to gaining early success in a Validation project:
- Having a well-defined and rational sales proposition to test
- Volume and speed of highly targeted sales activity
Defining the proposition
The Go to Market process is designed to ensure that all of the relevant information regarding the proposition, targets and goals of the client is gathered together, clearly understood and transferred from the client to the consultants on the project. The resulting toolbox and plan ensure that everyone involved shares a single vision for the months of activity to follow.
What’s in the toolbox?
It’s one thing to talk about ‘a high volume of targeted activity’, but in order to actually achieve this a consultant needs access to a series of documents, presentations and demonstrations. Whether you’re recruiting partners or talking directly to potential the requirements here vary.
Working with Partners
It’s likely that some kind of partner engagement will be part of the plan, and for this to be successful the following documents will need to be prepared and agreed:
- Partner contract – including commission terms and obligations. Typically, these now include integrated digital signatures for ease of use
- Partner contract presentation – sent to prospective partners before pushing for signature
- Partner enablement pack – a briefing kit for partners that allows them to start talking to their clients about your proposition. This is typically a presentation along with some training on the platform itself, and includes how to contact the consultant to arrange demos and support
Working directly with end-users
The best way to test a new proposition is to present it to the companies most likely to want to need it – i.e. targets defined during the Validation process. In order to have all of your ducks in a row before attempting this you should prepare the following:
- Marketing material – typically a prospecting email or message cadences
- Discovery document – outlining what the client currently has and how well they fit the ICP. Knowing their requirements and whether they fit is critical
- Sales presentation – to ensure the prospect understands the basic concept of the platform. This is normally a PowerPoint presentation and includes company history and brief outline of the platform
- Live or canned demo – to clearly demonstrate the advantages of solution. Needs to be short and focused. The demonstrator needs to practice beforehand
- Configuration & pricing – typically this is some kind of spreadsheet that automatically calculates the end-user price for different volumes and for different modules chosen
- Proposal – needs to be a simple two-page document that you can send which outlines the price, the modules chosen, any additional items (such as implementation fees) and the route to signing a formal contract
- Contract including terms and conditions – there needs to be a formal contract with terms and conditions which has been verified as legally binding in the relevant country. This is usually the responsibility of the client and is based on contracts already in existence on the client’s side
The above are simply initial lists, which will vary and grow in each case as every platform will have its own particular requirements. For example, if the platform holds personal data (customers, prospects or employees) then it’s likely you’ll also need a GDPR statement. Given that the UK is now outside the EU then it might be necessary to have a document which outlines where the data centre holding any information is located. Each of these is important in its own way.
There will inevitably be feedback from prospects and clients about the material presented and it’s crucial that the material can evolve accordingly. The trick here is to be able to understand which changes are relevant and required in order to adapt to the market as a whole, and which ones relate to the idiosyncrasies of particular prospects who have very specific requirements.
In the end, it’s all yours
This range of documents, drafted, agreed, improved and honed to perfection during the Validation process is, of course, the property of ChannelCreator’s client and proposition owner. Whether the relationship with ChannelCreator moves forward into the Accelerate phase and the inevitable heady heights of global domination that we strive for, the client comes out of this process with a clear understanding of their proposition’s potential, the target market they should be setting their sights on, the ultimate in business development toolkits and a very real sense of excitement and anticipation about what the future holds.
Please get in touch if you think this sounds like something you could benefit from…