#225 Luigi Prestinenzi & Dave Fastuca - How To Craft the Perfect Business Case
In this episode, we take a deep dive into the critical role of business cases in the sales process. Join hosts Luigi Prestinenzi and Dave as they unpack the secrets to creating compelling business cases that not only resonate with clients but also drive sales forward.
- The Art of Crafting the Perfect Business Case
Discover the transformative power of a well-crafted business case in sales. We discuss why many deals stall and how a strategic business case can catalyse decision-making.
- Timing and Tailoring Your Business Case
Learn when to introduce a business case into your sales cycle and how to tailor it to the deal size. We share insights on aligning your strategy with the buyer's perspective for maximum impact.
- Collaborative Selling Techniques
The conversation shifts to the importance of collaboration in the sales process. Find out how involving prospects in the creation of the business case can lead to increased commitment and a higher chance of closing the deal.
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So that first meeting that you have with a prospect to start understanding and determining is there a reason for us to progress and the reason that you need to be centered around a problem statement. Going to that first meeting with your point of view is actually really, really important, because your point of view allows you to start the conversation. It leads them to a point of you asking some questions and they start sharing some information with you. Usually I send that document post that first meeting. So it was an action of that first meeting because in most cases as well, dave, you're not just selling to one person. You need to get multiple people involved in the sales process. Welcome to another episode of the how to Sell podcast. I'm your host, luigi Preston-Enzi, and as always, I'm pumped on it and excited that you've joined us For what is going to be a little bit of a different episode this week. But I just want to say, if you're joining us for the very first time, thank you very much for showing up. We hope you take away some actionable insights that will help you sell more and, if you're a long time listener, thank you so much for coming. Don't forget, hit that subscribe button on whatever platform you're listening to, so that you can get our insights on your phone wherever you listen, every single week and, as always, I'm getting used to it I'm joined by my host, dave. Welcome to this week's episode.Dave: 1:13
Thanks, Louis. Well, let's just dive right in, right. So what's going to be different about this week's episode than all the others that we do?
So last week we had a great episode with John and if you haven't listened to it, I suggest you go back and hear that episode. But the reason why we're putting this particular episode in place is during the interview we had with John, john mentioned he had a need for a product to help augment something that he's doing. He wanted to look at AI as a tool and they went through this you know really long sales process only to get to a point of this is not for us right, but what was really stood out quite a lot was the fact that the salesperson that he was dealing with didn't really facilitate a business case, didn't put together a document that really quantified the return investment and ultimately John and his team had to put that together themselves. Right, and this is a big risk that we see in a lot of deals. A lot of deals get stuck in no decision or status quo right, and I think the data shares, you know, 40 to 60% of deals get stuck in this space in the no man's land, because of the fact that there's just not enough. There's not enough consensus, they can't quantify the problem, they can't determine if they've got the right solution to meet their outcomes and their needs, and there's a couple of things that impact that right and but in most cases it starts because the business case is not, is not, has been developed. So this week what we're going to do is going to break down what are the fundamental components that make up a good business case, and we'll also provide a link of what we use as a scoping document that turned into a business case post that first meeting.
Louis, before you dive into that, I want to ask you know when is the right time to use a business case? Now, what I mean by that is you know what, from your experience, should be the size of the deal to warrant the effort to go into business case? I've been lazy in the past life in selling different services and products. Where I probably should have, I shouldn't have. I think you know, is a 5,000 deal warranted or is it only for 50,000 plus? What's your experience here?
Yeah, it's an interesting question and I get this. This is probably the most common question. I get asked how much work do I have to put in? If it's only five grand, right, I'm kind of going. Well, if it's only five grand, for some people, spending five grand, that's a lot of money, yeah, and we've got to sometimes think about this and go hang on a second. Let me put my need second for a minute and let me really think about this from the buyer's perspective. And that's why we put together these podcasts, right, because we want to help shift the way sellers look at things and we want them to look at it from the buyer's perspective. Now, the framework that I'm going to walk our audience through today, dave, is a framework that can be used in a more complex, larger deal 50, a mill, 10 mill but it can also be used for those three, five, 10, 20k deals, right. The only difference is the way you communicate that to the prospect and to the client. Yeah, so, to answer your question, in every decision making process somebody's making they are doing an assessment of what am I going to get for the money that I spend. Yeah, what we're trying to do here is we're trying to help facilitate that thought process so we can help them quantify that, versus just letting them come up with their own number or come up with their own answer to the question. Because often what happens and what kills deals Is silent objections. Right, the objection that they never bring up becomes a question that they don't answer, and then there's a lack of information, and that lack of information stops them from progressing. Yeah, that's what when people say you handle an objection? No, it's simply about enabling them with the right level of information so they can have the confidence to move forward. Yeah, and often that lack of information stops them from moving forward. So we are going to do one of two things here we're going to have a little bit of control and try to influence the process, or we don't. So this is about helping influence that process and giving enough information to the buyer. Because I can manage the day. You can't control the decision the buyer makes. What you can do is help them sort of determine what am I spending and what am I getting? Is it worth me making this investment? What is it worth me just saying no?
yeah, yeah, this sounds like a shit ton of work, but it doesn't have to be right like there's two ways. No, you can do a one page. You can do it a bit more in depth, depending on the deal Correct size. So this sounds great because, like, we do this ourselves and try to build this into our process. So let's break it down for us what should be in a business case. Pardon the interruption, but I have to let you know about this free resource. The growth forum newsletter has over 10,000 subscribers that are learning how to sell. Each and every week we send you tips, strategies and also some tools and tech on how to achieve the most out of your sales pipeline. If you're ready to level up, sign up for free at growth forum dot I owe forward slash newsletter and get the first issue this week.
Yeah, perfect, and you actually really you fit the nail in the head here. Right, it does sound like a lot of work. But again, it can be a document that you send is a Google doc, right? And or it can be an email but what? What needs to be in that communication? And there are some pretty cool tools out there. You can get you know digital sales rooms that you can put this together and send it out. But If you just want to start and you're not using something like this at the moment just start with the basic Google doc. And the reason why I love Google docs because it becomes a tool that you can collaborate with. The prospect can actually send it to them and asking for feedback and get them to start working on the document together. Right, and we know one of the stages of commitment in the sales process Is the commitment to collaboration. But let me just go back a step. So what's really, really important, and when you start to produce this document, is the minute you have that first meeting. So that first meeting that you have with the prospect to start understanding and determining is there a reason for us to progress? And the reason need to be centered around a problem statement. Yeah, so there needs to be some form of problem that you're discussing where your solution could help them solve, because if there's no problem, there's no say, right, nobody's going to say to you Dave, I want to give you money just for the sake of giving you money, because I, like you. Unfortunately, that's really happening. Business, right, it needs to be a problem. So the very first part of the business case needs to be centered around the problem statement, right, and sometimes the prospect hasn't got clarity over what that problem statement is and that's why that first meeting that's important To really go in and ask some questions to get clarity over that problem statement. Right, the first part of the business case needs to be built around the problem statement and usually you have an executive summary and the executive summary and not talking about a two page document I'm talking about, you know, a hundred hundred fifty words. This is why we met, this is what we discussed and this is what the problem statement is for the business. Then, what's important to have underneath that, depending on the role of the person you're talking to, right, because usually what happens is, again, depending on the size of the opportunity, will depend on how deep you go here. In some cases, you might start to determine the KPIs that are important to them. You might say, hey, these are some key KPIs that you're working on and this is the gap. Yeah, these are the. This is the gap that's preventing you from achieving those KPIs, so there's no need to go into that. So there's. Now you're starting to get the commercial aspect of the business case and the next section needs to have stuff around your current state. So what's currently impacting you? Your business performance, customers, you know whatever you've captured in that meeting, and then you need to have some form of desired state. So what are the outcomes that you're looking to achieve? Right, and then you have your mutual action plan below, which are the steps that you need to do in order to progress this opportunity further. If you think about that now just laid out kind of that foundation of your business case. Now we call that our scoping dog, right, because Before we can even think about demo, before we can even think about solution, we need to get clarity over the scope, and what that does is it allows us to go hey, we're getting an understanding. These are the problems that you're facing. This is what's happening in your business. This is the impact of these problems and KPIs. But this is where you're going, because people don't buy what you do, that by the outcome you help them achieve. So determining those desired state points is critical, and then having a very clear action plan.
Now are you doing this with them on a call? You're bringing up a Google Doc and you're typing things down and you're asking you know, do you agree with this point? Talk to share how you do it like live with a. I've seen you do this, sometimes with a prospect where you're walking through a doc or, you know, is this something that happens after? Let's get real practical here on how do you put this together.
Yeah, so usually what happens with in the typical sales process? You're having that first meeting because, remember, they're also doing some form of assessment, and you in that first meeting as well, right, so, yeah, we're talking about this discovery stage of the sales process. The buyer is doing an assessment. Now you know. This is why going to that first meeting with your point of view is actually really, really important, because your point of view allows you to start the conversation. It leads them to a point of aha. You're asking some questions and they start sharing some information with you. Usually, I send that document post that first meeting. So it was an action of that first meeting, because in most cases as well, dave, you're not just selling to one person. You need to get multiple people involved in the sales process. Yeah, so this is a way to get influence across the wider buying committee. And so typically what happens is you have that first meeting. You say great, look, based on what you've shared, it looks like there's a opportunity for us to maybe scope this out further, and this is where you use language like this. Typically, what we do at this stage of the process is we'll put together our notes, I'll share it with you in a scoping document and what we usually do is we usually extend that to some other people that these problems impacting and we get them and we start to share this and collaborate just to get consensus around this problem and also get their feedback. And then we have another meeting to sort of discuss what this looks like before moving to that next step of actually looking at some options that could help you Right and that reduces the tension from the prospect side. And then we're like okay, so typically this is what happens because remember that and buy what we sell all the time. Yeah, in a lot of cases they're not buying what we sell, maybe once a year, maybe once every two. Sometimes they've never bought it before, so they don't really know the steps to progress. So this is telling you, typically this will happen. You're going to guide them right I mean, that's your the facilitator of the sales process by having, by finishing up that, that meeting with a clear action step, and often what I do is I also then put some time into the calendar to review that doc with them as well, because you want to make sure you're getting that next step in the you know, commitment to the next step in the process, but again, depending on the size. If it's a sizable deal, I'll put together a two-page, one to two-page doc which captures, you know, that framework. Send a toolman to Google doc. I allow them to have commentary access so they can put their comments on the side, because once they start jumping into that document and start changing things, maybe they say, no, you didn't understand this right. Or actually, upon reflection, this is what I want to put in there. They start to. Then you know they're starting to co-create, right, they're becoming part of the process.
Yeah, there's one thing you glazed over. Not glazed over, you went over it quickly, but I think it's critical. It's getting their buy-in. So organizing the next call on that call, getting them invested in to create it's almost like that IKEA effect. Right, when you build something, it might be a you know, shonky, dodgy chair with leftover parts, but they've invested into it at the time, correct, you know. So now they want it, they want to see it through. Okay, cool.
And they place more value on it. Right, so they place more value. Like you said with the IKEA effect, they place more value because they're starting to put it together with you. Yeah, you're also moving away from I'm selling something to you to now I'm coming around the table and I'm sitting next to you, so we're doing this side by side. I'm becoming like a colleague. Yeah, that's really really important as part of the process as well. So now, if it's a smaller deal, you still follow the same process. You just send them an email and you do the same thing. You say you know, hi, dave, thanks for meeting with me during a meeting. You mentioned. Bang is a key problem that you're trying to overcome at the moment. These are some of the challenges that are impacting you. Bullet point, bullet point, bullet point. These are the outcomes you're looking to achieve. You know, does it make sense for us to do X or are there any additional items you want to add to above before we move to presenting our solution? Something like that yeah, now you can have variances of that email. You can have you know. In order to go to the next stage, can you just validate this internally so we can book the next meeting in and present to the wider stakeholder group about X. Yeah, so, again, depending on the type of business, like I said, we've got a very short period of time here. Dave, you know you'd obviously change that depending on the size of the organization, who you're talking to, etc. But that's the same doc. In an email process If it's three to five K, you just lighten it right, but it's still focusing on problem current, future, next steps. Yeah, but in the doc it's a bit more detailed because you know you want them to share that document. You want them to actually and aligned. So aligned is a digital platform that has digital sales rooms and they've got some interesting data from looking at various deals. You know they've reviewed thousands of deals and they've said usually what happens in deal you might think there's five stakeholders when in fact there's 10 stakeholders. There's usually double the amount of stakeholders involved in the buying committee. So that's why it's important to create a document that they can collaborate and share internally to get that consensus, because, again, one of the biggest deal killers is consensus is people are not aligned on the problem they're trying to solve, right Do?
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Now you don't want to determine that right at the end. You've gone to solution, you've demoed or you've presented. You've gone to solution, you sent that proposal. They come back and look, this is not right for us because we can't get consensus. You want to kind of pull that out beforehand and this is where the challenger questions will kick into this process as well. Right Asking some questions of the buying committee to see if there's alignment across the problem. And it is, you know, from a priority perspective. Is it a priority for all the stakeholders? All, do they have conflicting priorities? Yeah, because these are the nuances that impact especially complex beta B sales. So now we're going deeper into the nuances. But from a business case perspective, the key takeaway for this week's episode it's if you have a meeting with somebody, don't just move to the next step and say, great, test my product, here's a demo, here's a proposal. You've got to have something that you insert pre, and it should be the scoping doc, because the scoping doc will usually turn into that business case and in most cases that is the document. That one page or two pages will become the foundation of your proposal. Yeah, because then again we've seen this day. We've reviewed hundreds and hundreds of proposals, and most proposals will start with talking about the selling organization. This is who we are. This is what we do, these are the awards we've won, and then it goes in. This is the solution and this is the price. You know what? They don't care about all that. They can get that off your website. The first two pages of every proposal should be these are the problems you're trying to solve. This is what's currently happening in your business. To make this a priority, these are the outcomes you're looking to achieve and this is the expected return on investment based on X. Yeah, and this is what it's going to be costing all the investment parameters. That should be the first second page of the proposal. Then you move into hey, you know what are you going to do to deliver X. Then who we are, etc. Right, but we are the. The organization selling is down the bottom, right, yeah, because again, today we've asked this of you know countless CEOs, countless CFOs and buying people. In the buying hierarchy. They say I only look at what's it going to cost me and what's my, what's my expected return and why are we actually looking to solve this problem? Yeah, and that's why it's critical that we use this particular step in the sales process to start to build out that scope Right.
No, that was awesome. There was a masterclass on business case development. Now you've heard Louis talk about the doc, the doc, the doc. You know, during that, during this episode. If you want to get your hands on a templated doc that we have after this episode, reach out to us on LinkedIn. I mean, mention this episode, whether you watched it on YouTube or on your favorite podcast player, and we send us a comment and we'll give you that document. You could duplicate it, make it your own and apply it to your business. Okay, so it's not going to be in the notes. I'm going to make you do a little bit of work here. Reach out to us on LinkedIn. Right, tell us you mentioned, you listened to the episode and you that doc is yours. So any other parting our thoughts before we wrap up?
No, we're coming close with our how to sell to enablement. We've got a couple of interviews left and then we will start. We'll release the first playbook on how to sell to enablement professionals, which will have the personas. It'll have the key questions to ask. You'll have everything that you need to sell to enablement based on the interviews, the sessions that we've had with different enablement professionals. So that's going to be something that we'll be releasing in December. So you know, keep make sure you keep following, keep listening, keep that subscribe button and, as always, thanks for being part of the growth forum community and joining us on the how to sell podcast.
Until next week, keep selling, keep winning and sell ethically in the world of sales. See you all next week.
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