Aiming to win more deals… first start identifying your Win Themes!

Ten years back, I worked for a global IT Consulting and Services Company that invested quite heavily in identifying the top parameters its clients kept in mind while deliberating and awarding them large, multi-year and multi tower contracts. The team was named Strategic Deals Pursuit (SDP) team, conceived and created by company’s CKO, under the direct supervision by the CEO.

This handpicked team consisted of a dozen cross skilled members with a combination of skills and knowledge in technology, sales and consulting acumen, large program management and other related skills. I worked in the role of Global Practice Leader pursuing Large & Strategic Deals within this group. I, with my limited knowledge then, wondered what the objective of investing such large amounts on this SDP Team (that too headed by a senior Stanford graduate) would be.

My job and that of my team was to constantly, yes constantly sniff the competition, figure out how they were winning and losing deals and what led to these wins and losses. Analyse the trajectory and the pattern of these wins and loses. Based on these analysis, our job was to create appropriate value additions that would surpass our competition with the right accelerators, tools, solutions and thought leadership across the organization.

Quarters went in creating several such sales and pursuit accelerators while institutionalizing the same across organisation wide industry verticals. My team and I were parachuted to specific Industry verticals to pursue large, complex, strategic deals, which paved the way for industry verticals to win more deals.

‘Win themes are all about the end result your prospective customer wants to achieve based on your past and current expertise and capabilities. It is a clearly articulated, specific, tactical message that supports a customer’s concern (issue) of how you would achieve the customer’s Hot Button

The vision of the CKO and the organisation reaped benefits multi folded, winning against our biggest competitors. Market and customer facing teams like sales and pursuit leaders’ jobs became easier with this offshore team. Presales and Solutioning became an active team brimming with ideas.

I had my answer – the ROI justified this immense strategy based on futuristic vision. While I moved on, the team grew strong and even more prepared to create similar win accelerators, to become the Tiger Team of the organisation.

Win themes are self-centered and self serving, they are about you and not the customer. Win themes need to be reiterated multiple times so the client does not forget your proposal. Harp on Win Themes throughout your proposal. Please note that same Win Theme cannot be used for multiple clients and on different proposals as a customer’s needs and their hot buttons differ. Remember that no two clients are the same.

The Seven step Win Theme test – Win Theme Framework is constructed to identify and align every customer’s Hot Button

  1. Brings direct and perceivable value to your client
  2. Is provable based on past evidence?
  3. Has factual data which is believable
  4. Addresses all the perceived weaknesses of your company
  5. Has an impact full message which is simple to understand
  6. Unique to your company keeping you above the competition
  7. Client believes that only you can do the task within scope

Pass each of your identified themes till you finish the seven steps, if it passes, please include this in your proposal. Repeat this exercise till you revise every theme till it passes the seven filters.

This company grew from a $2 Bn to $ 9 Bn in a period of ten years. The question remains – How many companies have such vision and mettle to create such Tigers and associated investment. It holds true that you Grow as you Sow, especially when it comes to winning Large/Strategic Deals.

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