How Viable Is Your Intake Process?
In this issue…
Standardize the Input
451 words, under 3 minutes
Unfortunately, us sales-types prefer not to color inside the lines and desire a bit of cowboy freedom when scoping or specking the client’s job.
The problem is: this does not scale.
Companies that can control the input side of communicating the client’s requirements and desires have a much greater chance of efficiently satisfy the client.
So, what is really needed?
In client speak
it needs to relate to what he/she expects to get in general terms.
In tech speak
it needs to end up in a specified solution that can be built, delivered and supported.
In admin speak
it needs to be able to be booked, ordered, received, delivered and accounted for.
So, what should we know before investing lots of company resources generating the proposal?
i. It’s easy for most people in the discovery to walk thru a plan or the property room by room,
ii. Identifying key subsystems and the extent to which they would be deployed is also important,
iii. Key notes on user preferences and how they plan to use the system adds to a better definition,
iv. Cost parameters can usually be assessed on the first meeting and provide quality input,
v. And we know many projects have special consideration (degrees of difficulty that should be factored in when scoping the work.
A generalized tool for collecting this information is a more standard fashion has been developed and you can download it with this link.
The philosophy of discovery is very important to the sales process. If you do all the engineering up front you likely will be re-designing, re-quoting and burning valuable resources with delayed results. Use the scoping exercise to present a comfort range to the client and scale the project to their preferences and budget. Get a commitment of some dollar value at this stage.
It is OK to give a non-product specific proposal of scope with the specified products being called out after the client accepts the scope. It’s more like a letter of intent then the actual contract. If heavy design is required, you should get a design fee. In all cases recover the engineering work (proposal and build documentation) in your project pricing.
We are big fans of sales support resources to generate proposals and we fully expect that you should get paid for engineering systems. We also believe the better the input and conversation is with the client the better the system fit, the faster the process and the higher installation success.
Work to get all of your salespeople aligned on their recording of the client’s needs/desires. It will pay big dividends.