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The Machine

products or services they purchase regularly. What’s more, different organizations’ procurement procedures for comparable products tend to be remarkably similar. If we consider major purchases, I suspect the greater variation we see in procurement procedures is more a consequence of an absence of procedure than it is evidence of the absence of a need for one. In other words, I’m suggesting that there probably is an objective ideal procedure for making major purchases of various types—it’s just that because organizations make major purchases infrequently, they haven’t yet determined what that procedure is. I’ve often asked groups of salespeople who sell major products (e.g., enterprise software) whether there’s a right way and a wrong way for organizations to purchase a product like theirs, and I’ve always been impressed by how well reasoned (and unanimous) the salespeople’s responses are. My suggestion, then, is that there is an ideal opportunity-prosecution workflow for both minor and major purchases. Where minor purchases are concerned, this is more likely to be determined in advance by your customers, and enormous variation from customer to customer is unlikely. Where major purchases are concerned, there is still an optimal procurement procedure; it’s just that customers are unlikely to be aware of it, which presents your salespeople with the opportunity to take the lead and help the customer buy more effectively. Making It Scalable Practically, as was mentioned in the previous chapter, the benefits of standardization (in and of itself ) are relatively limited. The real value of standardization is that it enables hand-offs between stakeholders in both the sales environment and the associated functions (e.g., engineering and production). Of course, without hand-offs, there can be no division of labor. Consider the communication between a BDM and a BDC. If an opportunity is being prosecuted according to a preexisting workflow, after each field activity, the BDM needs only to update their BDC with one of four possible next steps. They will recommend

The Machine (First Four Chapters)  

The Machine (First Four Chapters)

The Machine (First Four Chapters)  

The Machine (First Four Chapters)

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