I recently had a chance to sit with my niece and hear about all the amazing things going on in her life. She has been traveling, enjoying friends and taking advantage of all that life has to offer. Ahhhh to be 30-something again!
Our conversation quickly turned to her job and new opportunities being presented to her. She is an amazingly talented sales professional with a very specific technology knowledge base in the world of Public Safety. Her eyes lit up as she shared what she had been asked to undertake: the CEO of her sizable organization gave her the task of heading up the largest single sales opportunity in company history — a project that, if awarded, would represent several hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over 6-10 years.
My niece clearly had earned the right to take on that role, but was she ready for it?
This was no run of the mill sales opportunity, and she knew it – so she asked me for help thinking through her approach. I prompted her with some questions, and here’s what she came up with:
What it takes to win
To be successful, she and her team would first have to architect a solution to a very complicated problem. Along the way, she’d need to:
- Facilitate talent from multiple departments working together for the first time
- Solicit IP and input from 3rd party vendors
- Manage a budget
- Work with the client to uncover what a win looks like
- Outpace, outperform and outclass the competition
She had never done anything like this before. How EXCITING!……and scary.
WIN THE START
If you’ve ever been faced with an opportunity, task, or endeavor this big, you can completely understand the effort that goes into completing the mission and achieving the desired outcome. If you haven’t, or you’re getting ready to dive headlong into one, here are a few thoughts:
1. Get help early.
Ideally, you’d enlist the help of an informal, impartial mentor or friend that has experience with what you are attempting for the first time. Take advantage of their wisdom and knowledge to identify blind spots, understand the potential challenges and all the internal / external resources available to you.
2. Build a framework.
A framework might include, but is not limited to:
- Communication protocol and rhythms (how often groups meet and by what medium)
- Rules of engagement for the team
- Roles and responsibilities
- Success criteria and key performance indicators
(Feel free to comment with other important points to a successful framework!)
3. Clear the deck.
If this is the type of opportunity that can launch your business, change the trajectory of your career, or transform your group or company with lasting impact, it has to be your only focus for the entirety of the campaign. I’m dying to sugarcoat this part for you and share how to have work life balance, discuss the discipline around scheduling “me time” to reduce stress, etc. But I’m going to resist because my experience has been this: my customer didn’t care about my softball league, scheduled vacation, or parent teacher conference. My team didn’t want to hear that I couldn’t make a particular meeting time because of a doctor appointment. The submission timeline doesn’t move because personal matters come up. Most importantly, you can bet your competition is pushing as hard or harder to outwork and outperform you. Once you decide this is “THE ONE,” give it everything you have for the time it takes. You won’t regret it!
I would love to hear the details of your big endeavor, the obstacles you’ve faced and how you overcame them.
As for my niece and her team ………….THEY WON!!! Sole Source contract for 5 years with potential for extension. Congrats!!!!
Until next time, go get your win!