November 04, 2009

The Access Rules

Access to all those stakeholders in the buying decision is a privilege, not a right and if you are fortunate enough to get it, here are the rules you must follow:

  1. Always obey the rules regarding access, don’t go over or around others to get to who you want
  2. In order to ensure you access the right people, map the buying process to the organisational chart to identify you need to meet. Then pair it with your team as appropriate (e.g. CFO to your CFO).
  3. Tell them why you want to meet, ask them what they want to get from it and set a clear agenda in advance.
  4. Take advantage of other forumn for interacting with those managers of interest, for example, industry association events, conferences, etc.
  5. Use access sparingly and plan it to get the most from any time you have with stakeholders. That includes meeting at the right time and when the objectives or value of doing is at its most. For example, make sure you have your initial briefing, or scoping completed first.
  6. Do your homework in advance, make sure you are fully prepared (e.g. don’t waste time gathering information in the meeting that you could have found from the company’s website, or annual report).
  7. Research person you are going to meet, to understand their role, their previous positions, their qualification, any contacts that you have in common, etc.
  8. Consider the use of workshops that have a value to the buyer as a means of making access efficient. For example a workshop on defining requirements, completing the business case, etc.
  9. Make sure meetings and presentations don’t go on for longer than they have to.
  10. Provide the buyer with useful insights, or information to aid the decision making process.
  11. Provide tools and templates that can support eliciting requirements, defining the specification, building the business case and making the business decision.
  12. Be judicious and tactful regarding the questions you ask of the buyer, remember you have to earn the right to ask questions that are invasive, or sensitive.
  13. Always get permission to include them in your marketing in the future.
  14. Always make a point of expressing your gratitude for the time you have been granted by the buyer.
  15. Send a note with a summary of the meeting and some useful piece of follow-up material, or information for the buyer.
  16. Keep your main sponsor, or contact in the loop regarding any meetings you have with his, or her colleagues.

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