"Work It Girl!" – Tania Doub

The Morning After.

The Morning After:  Also known as an unpleasant aftermath of imprudent behavior.

I have more of those than anyone would EVER care to admit.  Four each year, in fact.  Precisely… four.  Which perfectly coincides with the end of every quarter, at work.

It’s the morning after. And the quarter is over now. You are now officially out of time to close out the last 90 days of your performance at work.  And to bring home that one final outstanding “commit” deal in the pipeline.

But truthfully, I always find it’s also a time to reflect – “what could I have done differently to get an entirely different outcome?”

I have been pursuing this deal with <COMPANY> for the last 9 months. We were at “verbal” 8 months ago. We entered “MSA/contract review” over 7 months ago. Next was a “financial and risk assessment review” by an independent 3rd party over 5 months ago. And finally “final approval routing” over 4 months ago. I have been forecasting this deal as a commit for my quarter since January. January! Two whole quarters now!

And still nothing…

Here I am now, once again, thinking about how to look at this deal again…but with a different lens this time. Perhaps long overdue… but honestly, I had never considered there could be a universe where this deal would push for THIS long! All the buying signs had been there all along… hadn’t they?

I guess all but one real, true sign… MY CHAMPION.

I’m scratching my head now… Wasn’t Joe my “Champion”? Joe has been there all along. I could argue that he has been Segment’s biggest champion all along! Over these last few months, Joe has constructed intricate data flows and diagrams with Segment right at the core of his infrastructure! He has worked with my team to define his business and technical requirements. He has given me all kinds of insider information. He has even helped us refine our pricing so that we can get approvals and move to formal agreement. He has done so many things right! But obviously, sitting here now at the end of my quarter, with no ink on this particular deal, I am confident that something is definitely not right.

Was Joe just a “Coach”?

Damn it!

The biggest difference between a “Champion” and a “Coach” is that while both of these personas may very well like you and your solution, the “Champion” is the ONLY one with power and political influence to get your deal done while your “Coach” simply gives you honest feedback about where things stand with your deal. Plain and simple.

I reflected in that moment about all of the things that had gone so wrong in my waiting game these last few months. All the empty promises. All the missed deadlines. I had to find my “Champion” now if I was going to “commit” this deal again for Q3.

In an effort to find my true “Champion” now, I finally thought to craft an email to get me a different result, with a new executive stakeholder.

Example email to the Head of Digital :

Dear Sarah, 

As you may be aware, I have been working closely with Joe (who has been great to work with by the way!) over the last 9 months on your POC and program requirements for <COMPANY> – and your subsequent instrumentation of Segment. What you may or may not have too much detail around, however, is that we have been unable to move much further than our final MSA review, for a few months now…

Most recently, Joe introduced us to a Ken in Procurement, who is running point on contract approvals and signature flow. For the last 4 weeks we have been assured we are in the approval flow – but we haven’t been able to connect with Ken.  Not event once.

My apologies for this email, but I am trying to gain clarity on whether or not this program is still of importance to your team right now? Most critically because I have an implementation, services and account team ready to run with <COMPANY> once we get formal signatures in place. 

I fear I am no longer being responsible with my Segment resources.

Understood obviously if there are other priorities and projects at the forefront for your team.  Simply trying to get an understanding of big picture so that I don’t continue to ping your team weekly on boring status updates – which I can’t imagine are pleasant for either party at this point.  Our latest deadline to get approvals was end of July (COB today).  I’m sure we can agree this is unlikely at this point… but I’ll just need your help to determine what is reasonable so that I am acting responsibly on behalf of both parties. 

We can absolutely, as a next step, plan to come onsite and meet you – and others – if there are still outstanding items to discuss.  Can you please advise when you have a moment so that we have an honest assessment of where things might stand between our two companies?
My team has also offered <COMPANY> a complimentary ticket to Synapse, our user conference in September.  We’d love if you could make the time to attend as it will be a valuable resource for learning, networking and fun!  Event details HERE

Very respectfully yours.

***Stay tuned for my updates on how I navigate <COMPANY> to find my true “Champion”. Will I get a response from Sarah after this outbound email? Who will ultimately be my “Champion” on this deal? Because we know now for certain, that it will not be Joe!

Do you have any guesses on when this deal will actually close? Love to hear your feedback in the comments so that I can adjust my forecast accordingly! 🙂

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