Being with my feet on the sales ground for 25 years in IT, I can recommend that many steps in the sales process need to be discussed and agreed internally and with the business customer to come to an agreed and signed contract.
Following this sales process through a so called 'Sales Close Plan', describing all the necessary milestones that need to be agreed from a resource perspective, internally from a supplier perspective as well as from the business customer resource perspective. This Sales Close Plan will enable you to set up the right expectations during the contract negotiation milestones during an enterprise sales process.
Discuss with your business customer the close plan and have your customer sign / off the Sales Close Plan on timescales and milestones. If each stone is finalized confirm this in email to your customer so all expectations and potential road blocks keeps transparent and visible to you as supplier and business customer.
1. Identify the Power Sponsors:
Which customer contacts have the power to approve or veto a major contract deal?
Who are the business owners?
2. Identify customer procurement process:
Send Non Disclosure for approval.
Perform Customer due diligence and screening.
Is supplier employee screening process required?
What are customer standard terms & conditions?
What are the expected legal challenges? Intellectual property, Warranty …?
What are the payment terms?
What is the VAT number?
What are the shipping address details?
What are the billing address details?
Discover expense costs cap guidelines.
What is the business identity code?
Will payment be in Dollars / Euro …?
What are the finance contact details?
Which legal resources are required from supplier, internally, externally?
3. Approval process:
Who needs to approve from the IT department?
Who needs to give approval from the business department?
Is budget available? If not when?
Is Board approval required to close the deal? I yes, when is next Board meeting
Which person from the Board supports business case?
Do we need a reference visit and who will attend from the customer?
Which reference do we nominate for site visit or phone interview?
Agree on travel arrangements for reference visit.
4. Feedback 1st round legal / proposal discussions:
Does the commercials / T & C's in the proposal need to be updated to get a deal?
If yes, which resources from supplier and customer are required?
Do we need internal approval from higher management for this?
Is customer requesting any legal adjustments that need further legal review by supplier?
5. Send new proposal / T & C's contracts:
Agree date for presentation final proposal to customer.
Is customer verbally accepting new proposal / T & C's?
When will customer sign / off contracts?
When can signed contracts be collected at customer?
Reconfirm resources allocation.
Start of project or delivery.