Mapping The Process
Whenever you first move into the seemingly murky world of solution selling, someone usually takes you to one side and suggests that the fog of war can be lifted by “mapping the process”.
With specific regard to sign-off procedures, I had a reminder of this when recently helping out on a deal worth around $150k.
Everyone had acknowledged a sense of urgency, so panic set in when the buyer-side uncovered that a ludicrously imminent deadline had been imposed. It was by the official purchasing unit for any end-of-period spend to be “committed”. There’d be no exceptions and any project that did not have such committed funds would be shelved for at least the next quarter. This practically could mean shelving forever. It was harrowing news.
We rushed to map the process of everything that needed to be done together. Among the (documented) steps were:
- The number of signatories and each person required
- Proposal approval from Legal actions
- Forms required by the Supply Chain Manager for authorised supply compliance
- Another set of Forms required by Finance for budgetary reconciliation
- Quotation process to effectively trigger Order Number generation
The precise tasks seemed pretty daunting considering the number of people we’d have to mobilise, but in the end it was managed within the tight stipulation.
Interestingly, only one task was not accepted before the deadline, and the reason for this was not foreseen at the outset. It also lead to another item being presented as a requirement. As these were both unknown by the buyer-team at the time of our meeting, an extension was granted to gather both extra pieces of information. Common sense prevailed and how refreshing it was to see from a procurement operation.