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The Collaborative Sale: Solution Selling in a Buyer Driven World by Timothy T. Sullivan, Keith M. Eades

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1 “The Story” and What's behind The Collaborative Sale

Jon was a sales superstar, and the rapidly growing company we'll call “ExyRisk” couldn't wait to get him on board as a rainmaker. Jon's success in selling technology solutions into the financial services industry, coupled with his Wharton MBA, made him a coveted midcareer hire for ExyRisk, a developer of financial risk modeling software based in the San Francisco area. Recently purchased by a private equity firm, the four-year-old company was under intense pressure to perform, and it needed top sales talent.

But within six months of being hired, no one was more surprised than Jon when he realized he couldn't close sales in his new job.

After he joined ExyRisk, Jon did what he had always done—he reached out to his network to arrange introductions to senior-level prospects. When he met with them, potential buyers were intrigued by ExyRisk's capabilities, but he couldn't get more than a couple of his prospects to agree to a demo. Their reasons varied but were based on one of two themes. The first was: “We've got a project on the horizon that this might be a good fit for, but right now we have to execute what's on our plate.” The other was: “Our budgets are on lockdown, so there's no need to waste your time giving us a demo on something we can't buy.”

His best lead was an insurance brokerage that specialized in severe weather modeling to set risk pools. Jon saw an opportunity to partner with the broker who would resell ExyRisk's ...

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