Crossing canyons is no cake walk. Take it from the late Even Knievel, famous motorcycle stuntman.
In 1974, Knievel attempted an outrageous jump over the Snake River in Idaho. The distance between the launch and landing ramps at the north and south rims of the canyon was roughly one mile. To pull this off, he built a special motorcycle-rocket ship powered by a steam-engine. Sadly, his attempt ended moments after it started as the parachute deployed early and Knievel landed at the bottom of the canyon narrowly avoiding death.
Roughly a mile away from all the drama stood the Perrine Memorial Bridge. Since 1927, the bridge had crossed that same canyon and had safely carried cars from one side to the other.
Your company most likely has created divisions to organize its business, and adds new ones to house new capabilities or acquisitions. Senior management encourages you to do more cross-selling. Ideally you want to pursue the enterprise sale, the complex sale, the cross-discipline or cross-divisional sale — deals that include multiple capabilities and produce significant revenue. This would surely catapult you to Chairman’s Club.
But what if your customers’ problems were so complex that they didn’t fit into the tidy siloes your company has built to organize its business and capabilities? (Smart Collaboration by Heidi Gardner is an excellent book to understand these dynamics.) And what if the divisions between those siloes were like canyons that were rarely, if ever, crossed? That would make the enterprise sale an unlikely jump.
So how do you bridge your company’s canyons and address your customers’ full issues without risking life and limb? Here are five tips on how to become a canyon crosser this year:
- Gain support. Building bridges to other business lines takes time away from other selling activities. Gaining your senior leader’s support for this investment is critical, especially if these activities clash with how your performance is measured and compensated.
- Become a client explorer. Be willing to allow your questions to go beyond the boundaries of your primary product or service, to understand the client’s issues more completely.
- Find fellow canyon crossers. Seek those, even from outside your current network, who are willing to invest their time and skill to find and develop cross-organization solutions.
- Engage them early. Dealstorming by Tim Sanders is a great resource for how to leverage co-selling partners in deal design.
- Invest in your relationships. Exchange feedback about what you each need to accomplish your client-specific as well as your broader sales goals.
Leveraging these five best practices will help you strengthen your ability to cross your company’s canyons to devise and close solutions that solve your client’s broad, complex issues. And for you to win more and win big this year.