An Introduction To The DEEP-C™ Framework
There are no complex sales, only complex purchases. Your champion is the only one that can close a deal. Even though they do the selling, they’re not good at it: they don’t do it often, they’re not trained for it, and there are more stakeholders for them to sell to, which compounds the challenge.
Buyers need help.
Companies that embrace Buyer Enablement have an immediate competitive advantage because they simplify B2B buying by coaching and guiding their customers to sell for them, which translates to closing more deals faster.
Garin Hess, the founder and CEO of Consensus and author of the book Selling is Hard. Buying is Harder, describes Buyer Enablement as, “A complete shift of mindset by salespeople, starting with the realization that they are not in charge of selling—their job shifts from ‘selling’ to ‘helping customers buy’.”
The challenge for most leaders is knowing how to adequately enable buyers to sell, and how to turn their sellers into buyer coaches. To implement a customer-focused, buyer enabled strategy, we developed the DEEP-C™ Framework.
The Case For the DEEP-C™ Framework
B2B buyers expect a better experience–easier, faster, more pleasant, on-demand, guided. Traditional selling tactics and tools simply don’t meet these expectations. Instead, sellers typically hold their buyers hostage to their own calendars and processes.
The DEEP-C™ Framework gives you a model for applying a strong Buyer Enablement strategy with steps for properly reorienting your approach to enabling customers so you can accelerate technical sales.
The Methodology Powering the DEEP-C™ Framework
DEEP-C™ is a 5-step methodology for “facilitating and coaching the buying group” as they’re the only ones who can get the deal done. This is critical because “being unaware of needs somewhere in the buying group puts your deal at tremendous risk.”
DEEP-C™ stands for:
- Discover your champion and through them discover the other stakeholders.
- Engage the champion and through them engage each stakeholder.
- Equip your champion with what they need to sell to the other stakeholders.
- Personalize value to each stakeholder
- Coach the champion and other stakeholders through the buying process to a successful outcome.
You’ll always begin by discovering and engaging your champions, but the rest of this framework doesn’t have to follow a linear path. For example, coaching usually starts early and continues long after the purchase. As the champion matures in their “selling” role, you will need to equip them with more tools and information, then help them personalize that to each stakeholder.
The Skills Required to Enable Buyers
While this is an actionable framework with steps for broad application, every business is embedded with nuance that needs to be incorporated into its execution. However, “There are certain selling skills that are critical for successful buyer enablement,” regardless of industry, product, size or language. They include:
- Leading with strength and conviction. You know more about the buying process than your customers, so use that experience to guide them through the deal. Don’t be overbearing, but firmly recommend what you know has worked in the past and why.
- Identifying and connecting with key decision makers. Discover who is required to make a decision so you can include key players as early as possible. Don’t forget to include secondary stakeholders like IT and Finance.
- Recognizing customer’s readiness to become buyers. Some buyers aren’t as far along in the buying process as you think they are. As you engage with them, figure out where they are in their process so you can align your messaging and outcomes.
- Selling the pain of change. While the solution you’re selling will probably make the customer’s life easier in the long-term, in the short-term it’s going to cause change and change always means pain. Don’t sugarcoat the discomfort they’ll experience, instead show them the benefits that they’ll get once they gut through the initial growing pains.
- Mapping out the buying process and educating your buyers. Mapping out the buying process for buyers allows them to feel more in control since they know where the deal is heading and what the future steps will be. Use your experience selling to guide the buyers through the upcoming actions and commitments so they can plan.
- Provoking a change in the buyer’s mind. This goes beyond highlighting differences or gaps between solutions. The key is to convince your customers their lives would have been better already if they had implemented the solution earlier. This leads to a change in perception due to counterfactual thinking.
Establishing DEEP-C Within Your Organization
“If you’re a sales leader, pick a product, a single segment, and a team to begin testing the Buyer Enablement approach and the DEEP-C™ Framework in the reality of your team’s daily life. If you get good results, do more and broaden the experiment. If you continue to get good results, go all in.”
You’ll need to adjust as you go, but at least make a plan and start somewhere small, then expand in phases. Teams that successfully shift their thinking for how to approach technical sales usually start by setting up a Buyer Enablement team. Recognizing that this initiative requires providing the right content to the right customers at the right stage, the Buyer Enablement team will have to define the typical buying group then create content specific to the stakeholders in that group.
It takes time and effort to begin, but by the end, teams have content that speaks to the needs of each prospect’s industry, company, and stakeholder roles. Most importantly, their buyers have the structure, the information and the confidence to rally their teams towards a faster purchase and a highly successful adoption.