Which Competing Priorities Does Your Target Client Care Most About?May 03, 2021 | By Wayne O'Neill
Uncovering competing priorities in your target client’s organization is one of the most challenging aspects of client engagement. And, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this became even more complicated, especially with new priorities added to the mix, and everyone in the client organization having an opinion about what priorities should be pursued first.
If you haven’t already started to look for clues about the new lineup of competing priorities, it’s time to start gathering intelligence about the “new normals” to align with right now. It’s challenging and time-consuming, but this is an absolute must to win accounts and grab more pieces of project scope.
Unlocking the competing priorities that your target client cares about will ensure that your solution is aligned with their current business and political issues. Otherwise, you risk walking into a sales presentation looking to address Priority A when the client cares much more about Priority E. Don’t put yourself in the wrong position. Let’s unpack how to manage competing priorities in your client organization.
Discovery: Start Identifying Clients’ Competing Priorities
Every client has different competing priorities. Don’t assume that because your target client is in the same industry or vertical as a previous client that they have the same priorities. There is way too much complexity in today’s business environment to assume that you can lump every client together. Consider this sample of questions that you need to know the answer to:
- Did your target client pivot their business objectives or strategy post-pandemic?
- Does your target client have an aging workforce, with new leaders emerging?
- Have new executives gained a larger voice in the decision-making process?
- Is your target client’s organization still predominantly working remotely, creating collaboration challenges?
- Did your target client recently experience a significant change (e.g. IPO, restructuring, or M&A)?
- Is your target client expanding operations or downsizing/contracting?
- Has there been a significant change to their industry?
- Is there new or expanded regulatory pressure on your target client?
The answers to the question provide contextual clues surrounding the target client’s current challenges in the marketplace. The answers also provide insight on internal issues floating around in the organization that will help you understand how the competing priorities are organized and pursued.
Each client will have different answers to these questions. Your job at this discovery stage is to understand the business and political issues that are tied to the answers to these questions. Why?
Because these issues are directly tied to the client’s ability to compete more effectively in their rapidly-changing competitive landscape. That’s where you will eventually step in to present a comprehensive solution that addresses these issues to help the client regain a competitive foothold and eventually gain a competitive advantage. But, you need to do some more homework first.
Confirmation: Validate the Order of Competing Priorities
The discovery stage provided you with preliminary information about the competing priorities. You have a better understanding of the order of priorities tied to business and political issues, but you’re not ready to fill out the lineup card yet.
You need to talk to key players in the mix to confirm your suspicions, question some information, and gain a deeper understanding of the context.
- Talk to key executives that you are connected to. Understand the larger issues in play.
- Talk to the decision-makers, influencers, and gatekeepers who possess unique information that executives won’t readily reveal.
- Talk to leaders that understand how decisions are made, whose voice is loudest right now, and whose opinion is valued the most.
- Talk to third parties that are already doing business with the target client.
- Talk to departed executives, directors, or managers who are no longer politically motivated to protect their interest or someone else’s interest.
- Use social platforms such as LinkedIn to uncover industry insight, plus connect with industry experts and thought leaders who can provide deeper insight on industry trends.
Do your homework at the confirmation stage! Be proactive by gathering as much information as possible, then work with your team to contextualize the information. Drive towards understanding. Drive towards unlocking the hidden problems behind the problem. Drive towards positioning your firm to solve the overall larger problem that your target client is facing.
When you are confident in your understanding of the priorities that your client cares most about, then you’ll be ready to fill out the lineup card of competing priorities. But, you’re not done. How are you going to address each of these priorities? Who do you need to bring into the solution to solve these issues?
Planning: Create Your Solution to Solve Key Priorities
After ranking the competing priorities that your target client is facing, you may come to a startling realization that you need to think completely differently about how to solve these issues.
Perhaps the previous top priorities slid down the list to secondary priorities. Now, something much bigger and more urgent has risen to the top of the list. If you’re not accustomed to crafting solutions to solve the new Priorities A, B, and C, then you will need to bring in your partners to help address the larger, most pressing issues that your client is facing.
Fortunately, you already talked to these partners during the confirmation stage. The relationship is warm. You’re not calling these partners out of the blue looking to see if they can help you address these significant challenges.
Once you get your partners on board with solving the key challenges, then you’ll be ready to complete your plan of action and present a comprehensive solution to the client. During the presentation, you want to be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of what’s happened in the industry.
- Express empathy for the challenges that your client is currently facing.
- Present a clear plan for how to solve these challenges that will help your client compete more effectively in their industry.
It’s about creating your own narrative that ties your solution to the client’s business and political issues that dictated the order of competing priorities. When everything comes together, you will have a greater opportunity to win more accounts and larger pieces of project scope.
Contact RESET For Support Unlocking Competing Priorities
Where does your team need support understanding the competing priorities that your target client cares about? Perhaps you need to find the starting point of simply being able to understand how priorities have changed for your clients. Or, you’re deeper into the process and are stuck at discovery needing another set of eyes to help you process gathered intelligence.
Let’s have a conversation about how to unlock and confirm priorities. We’ll help you understand how to manage the list of competing priorities that your client cares about. Then, we’ll advance you toward crafting the right solution and bringing everything together to solve the larger problem that your client is facing.
Contact us today to schedule a coaching consultation with our team. Through our proven methodology, The Connection Process, we’ll help you advance on the journey to winning more accounts and project scope to grow revenue in a sustainable way!