Focus on How: What is the Compelling Event

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During a forecast call with my manager we were discussing a deal we expected to close in quarter. We dug into the opportunity and the path to the PO. I gave an overview of the case notes to my manager and discussed the technical notes.

Based on our conversation the opportunity seemed to be on the right track to close in quarter, but unfortunately at the last minute the client backed out.

In analyzing why we lost the deal we realized that we did not focus on the ‘compelling event.’ We understood the pain and business objectives, which is part of the compelling event – but the pain doesn’t always drive a deal forward. We build value with pain, but that value also needs to be anchored in an compelling event.

Pain is important – but in tying that pain to value you as the seller/consultant need to demonstrate the urgency of inaction.

The compelling event: a customer’s business pain that needs to be solved by a certain date otherwise negative business consequences will occur. The impact of the consequence helps to leverage the value of the product and close a deal. A compelling event ties the pain of inaction to drive transformation and buy-in to your product.

We can establish pain, but we also need to ask: ‘What is the compelling event.’

Ex: Client pain point is they need a better way to collaborate internally. They reach out to you (Inbound) and they say the CEO has charged the champion to investigate your solution. You establish pain that they are using email to collaborate now and don’t have versioning

You build value around a single system of record with versioning – this is real pain that you quantify, but…

What is the compelling event. What prompted the CEO to research this? What stake does the champion have here? What is their go-live date? What happens if this system is not implemented within a certain timeframe?

With Inbound leads there is usually a real compelling event – but it might not be critical or urgent. Ex: CEO is look at adding your solution next year and just wants to research options. They have a need but it is not compelling enough for transformation right now.

  • In this case if you understand the ‘compelling event’ you can speak to it and also build urgency to help create need and demand.

Dig in and reflect on the compelling event. I usually fill out a BNAPR worksheet to help me breakdown the compelling event, so I can Focus on HOW to tackle it.

I keep this in mind throughout discovery and the sales cycle now because I learned that something as simple as understanding ‘the compelling event’ can help ensure a win for you and your client.

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