Many enterprise software At some point the startup has faced an invisible wall. Over the months, your sales team has done everything right. They have met with a prospect several times, provided them with demos, free trials, documentation and references, and perhaps even signed a provisional contract.
The stars all align and then, suddenly, the deal falls apart. Someone put Kibosh on the whole project. Who is the deal-blocker and what can software companies do to identify, support and persuade this person to proceed with the contract?
I call this person the Chief Objection Officer.
Who is the deal-blocker and what can software companies do to identify, support and persuade this person to proceed with the contract?
Most software companies spend a lot of time and effort identifying their potential buyers and champions within an organization. They build personality and do targeted marketing to these individuals and then fine-tune their products to meet their needs. These targets can be engineering, data leaders, CTOs, CISOs, CMOs or someone else’s VP with decision-making authority. But what most software companies do during this exploratory phase is to identify the person who can block the whole deal.
This person is the champion with the power to reduce potential partnerships. Like your potential deal-makers, these deal-breakers can hold any title with decision-making power. Chief objection officers are not just potential buyers who have the right to decide your product is not the right fit, but instead are blockers-in-chief who can make departmental or company decisions. Thus, it is important for software companies to identify the chief objection officers who can block deals and, then, address their concerns.
So how will you identify the Chief Objection Officer? The trick is to find out the main pain points that arise for companies when considering deploying your solution, and then lag behind to find out which one affects these challenges the most. Here are some common pain points that your potential customers may face when considering your product.
Change is difficult. Never underestimate the power of status quo. Does implementing their product in one part of an organization, such as IT, force another department, such as HR, to change how they perform their daily tasks?
Consider which leaders would be most reluctant to make changes; These chief objection officers will likely not be your buyers, but heads of departments likely to be affected by the implementation of your software. For example, a marketing team may prefer the advertising targeting platform they use and thus a CMO will emphasize new database software that will limit or change the way customer segment data is collected. Or area sales will object to the new security infrastructure software, making it difficult for them to access the company network from their phones. The head of the department who will bear the brunt of the change will often be a Chief Objection Officer.
Is anyone’s work on the line?
Another common pain point when deploying a new software solution is that once one is up and running, one or more jobs can become chronic. Perhaps your software streamlines and outsources most of the accounts payable of a company. Maybe your SaaS solution will replace the on-premises homegrown that a team of developers have built and nurtured for years.