Losing Enterprise Deals?
Three Reasons Why

Shankar Ganapathy
February 21, 2023
Deal Reviews

When it comes to selling, it's inevitable that some deals will be lost. However, understanding why deals fall through is key to improving your sales strategy and ultimately closing more deals in the future. While some losses can be attributed to external factors, there are three reasons why deals are typically lost. These reasons include technical, commercial, and political issues.

1. Technical Issues

A technical issue arises when you fail to establish a solution-problem fit or lack a critical feature that is in line with the customer's success. In this scenario, you haven't found a way to align the product roadmap with the customer's needs. The customer may have concerns regarding the feasibility of your solution or may have identified a competitor with a more suitable offering.

2. Commercial Issues

A commercial issue arises when your pricing is not in line with the customer's budget. You may have attempted to restructure your pricing or offer a discount, but this may not have been sufficient. Customers are looking to invest in solutions that can move their business forward, but if they cannot justify the cost, they will likely seek a more affordable alternative.

3. Political Issues

A political issue arises when you have not navigated the organization and identified all key decision-makers. It is essential to understand who is a supporter and who is an opponent of your solution. Failure to do so can result in a loss of a deal, as you may not have been able to secure the necessary buy-in from all stakeholders.

While technical and commercial issues are co-owned with sales engineering and sales leadership teams, overcoming political issues is solely the responsibility of the salesperson. 

Big Deals in growth stage companies

If you are a growth-stage company, chances are you have all the key features you need to secure deals. Technical feasibility may not be the issue here. When selling to larger companies, they are willing to invest in solutions that can drive their business forward. In this case, the issue may be more related to political or commercial considerations.

What could go wrong with Deal Reviews?

There are several areas where deal reviews can go wrong, but one of the most common issues is the inability to overcome the buyer-side political dynamics. While you may know the organizational chart, do you know the lines of influence? Do you have a strong opponent or influencer, and have you found a way to navigate around them? Have you found a mobilizer who can help drive the evaluation in your favor? It is also important to connect with the economic buyers and understand their priorities and preferences.

There are several potential issues that could arise during deal reviews in enterprise deals. Here are a few examples:

  1. Lack of clarity on the deal objectives: If there is confusion about the objectives of the deal, it can be difficult to assess whether the terms being proposed are appropriate or not. It's important to ensure that everyone involved in the deal review process is aligned on the goals and objectives.
  2. Insufficient due diligence: If the review team doesn't conduct thorough due diligence on the other party, there's a risk that important information will be overlooked. This can lead to unpleasant surprises down the road.
  3. Poor communication: Effective communication is critical during the deal review process. If stakeholders are not communicating effectively, important details may be missed, and misunderstandings can arise.
  4. Negotiation breakdowns: Negotiations can break down for a variety of reasons, including misaligned expectations, lack of trust, or difficult personalities. It's important to have skilled negotiators involved in the deal review process who can navigate these challenges.

A multi-threading strategy can help you connect with individuals you cannot get to through your champions. This approach enables you to understand their priorities and preferences, ensuring you are better equipped to secure a deal.

Finally, it is important to ensure that deal reviews focus on action plans, not just updates. A deal review should outline a clear plan for moving forward with the deal and securing a successful outcome.

In conclusion, by understanding the three key reasons deals are lost, and taking steps to address these issues, you can improve your chances of securing successful deals. By focusing on political, commercial, and technical considerations, and ensuring that deal reviews are action-oriented, you can increase the likelihood of closing deals and driving business success.


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