POCCAD stands for People, Organization, Current System, Current Vendor, Application and Decision Maker. When I was with a local copier dealership, their sales management team gave us all a pop quiz on the meaning of POCCAD. I had no clue at the time, but very quickly came to realize its importance in closing deals.
Each of these renders specific value to successfully negotiating solutions resulting in long term business relationships.
Would understanding whether your contact was a number cruncher, socialite or gatekeeper guide your interaction with them? How long have they been there? What’s their responsibility? Are they motivated or just putting in their time? Are they just soliciting information or is there a real interest? Do they smile when they see you? Ask them, “If you could change anything about your current product or service, what would that be?” And then listen to their answer. Let them carry 80 percent of the conversation. They’ll walk away thinking you’re a fascinating representative, when actually they’ve done all the talking – and you’ve now gleamed their hot buttons.
How long have they been in business? Do they have multiple locations? Who are their competitors? Are they growing? Is this a family business? How many employees do they have? What’s their employee’s average tenure? Do they have a website? Do they do business online? What is their core focus? What’s their mission statement?
Do they use a mainframe or rack mounted servers? Are they collocated? How long have they been using their current system? Have they incurred any recent issues with it? Are they under a contract? Is their system leased or owned outright? Has it been fully depreciated? Do they have upgrade plans in place? What is their current systems projected end-of-life?
Who are their vendors? Why did they select them? This factors directly into why they should select you. Are they under contract? Do their current vendors exceed their expectations? How long have they used them? Is there a special connection to the business (relative, friend or other)? Do they select their vendors as the result of RFQs and bids?
What are their applications? Do your products or services offer competitive or enhanced features and benefits that may resolve a need based on how they get from A to B currently?
I understand you aren’t always afforded the opportunity to propose your solution to the decision maker directly, so it’s exceptionally important to understand who the influencers are, and their relationship to the decision maker. By all means, attempt to deal with the decision maker as translations often get lost or diluted. If that decision maker is a number cruncher, your proposal will need to be very different than one prepared for a socialite. Understanding the difference, and using that to your advantage helps close deals.
Obliviously, this is very generic, but it can be revised and amended to address sales strategies across most industries, including shared, VPS and dedicated hosting. Part of your sales team effort should be to collaborate on refining the process and relevant questions – to gain insight into your prospects motivation to change providers.
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