Nine Tips to Demystify the Art of Selling Testing Services
Maya Angelou’s statement “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” very well describes the process of selling testing services. And it can be extremely rewarding if well planned. Below are a few tips that will go a long way toward ensuring success in testing presale activities and large testing center of excellence pursuits.
1. Well begun is half done.
Initiate the pursuit by creating an opportunity brief:
- What business problem is the client trying to solve?
- Who are the influencers and decision makers?
- What other vendors are being considered?
- Where are you in the sales process?
- What are your weaknesses and strengths?
2. Innovation is carving extraordinary out of the ordinary.
Identify organizational business objectives. Map quality assurance objectives to business objectives. Discuss these with the decision maker. Structure the pursuit with your decision maker in mind. The decision maker’s goal is your goal—be it capacity, cost, quality, or schedule.
3. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Create a worksheet of hot-button issues, keeping client needs in mind and solutions you can provide. A proposal theme is not unlike the plot of a movie or novel. You need to be innovative, cater to the sensibilities of all kinds of audiences, identify the “villains” (in this case, the competition), and develop a plan.
4. A good decision is made by knowledge and numbers.
Translate all your strengths into numbers. Emphasize benefits before features, e.g., "You will be able to reduce test cycle time by 30 percent by leveraging x, y, and z."
5. Know what you want.
Keep the scope simple and measurable. Highlight in scope, out of scope, and assumptions. A test for a good scope section is the ease with which it can be converted into a statement of work.
6. Value is more expensive than price.
Differentiate between value and price. Be creative and determine alternate mechanisms you can leverage for pricing.
7. Presentation and interpretation are completely different.
To make the clients relate to your proposal, narrate the presentation in the form of a story, describing their current state and emphasizing the benefits your solution brings. Do not ignore the impact of nonverbal gestures.
8. The journey is more important than the destination.
Treat each proposal as part of a journey with the client, concentrating on the trip and not the end. Define a long-term roadmap for the next few years about how your current work can help in future initiatives.
9. Each job is your most important job.
Drive the entire presales process with the sincere intent of bringing benefits to the client. Nothing sells as much as confidence in your solution and your ability to treat each pursuit as if your life depends on it.
Deepika Mamnani is presenting the session User Acceptance Testing in the Testing Center of Excellence at STARWEST, from October 12–17, 2014.