“The abstract of it’s that we prospected like heck, we did in all probability 50 to 100 demos, we struck out quite a bit, and each time we struck out we simply stored going and going and going. We pulled out each useful resource we probably may, and we didn’t let ‘no’ defeat us, as a result of we knew it was a great alternative.” — Andy Lyon
When Andy Lyon began at ZoomInfo, individuals known as him “Andy Cub.” The nickname was his workforce’s method of each cheering him on and likewise playfully acknowledging the elephant within the room: He wasn’t closing any offers (or, in different phrases, he — regardless of his final identify — “was not but a lion”). His background in leisure gross sales for lodges made for a less-than-smooth transition into information and software program, which is what led our CEO, Henry Schuck, to rejoice Lyon’s first closed-won deal by blasting “I Can’t Wait to Be King” from the Lion King — in French — all through the gross sales flooring.
Quick ahead seven years later, and Lyon has simply closed the largest deal in ZoomInfo historical past: an eight determine deal.
Between an 11-month gross sales cycle, a $0 deal, and a request for proposal (RFP) with 67 individuals on one name, Lyon’s biggest problem — regardless of hurdle after hurdle — was protecting the religion. Learn on to learn how he did simply that.
Challenges to Closing Massive Enterprise Offers
Problem #1: Artistic Outreach (March 2020)
When Lyon and his SDRs, Reed Newcomer and Rachel Gilkes, discovered that John, their first prospect, had labored on an apple orchard, they’d the right opening for the preliminary outreach electronic mail:
Topic: “Cherries, Apples, and Information”
John – Having labored on desk grape and citrus farms in Australia proper out of highschool, I’ve to say the [name redacted] farms portion of your resume was a cool factor to see (therefore the topic line).”
I’m unsure if Reed’s pictures confirmed up on-line for you, or as attachments, however the scoops he included are straight from ZoomInfo, and yours to share with the workforce. I’m heading to your space within the 2nd week of March, however over the previous few weeks, I’ve talked to a number of reps promoting into the Public Sector who’ve inquired about entry. I hoped to attach and see how we are able to higher serve your org with the partnership that’s already in place, or maybe we’re already working along with your colleagues and I simply haven’t spoken with them but.
Both method, I’d love to attach earlier than I’m on the mothership subsequent month.
With this intro, Lyon began out sturdy. There gave the impression to be about $100,000 in alternative, and the deal was shifting ahead.
Then, the corporate — which was within the technique of buying one other — noticed an issue: The 2 firms had been each clients of ZoomInfo, they usually had been paying two totally different costs.
Now Lyon was confronted with consolidating the contracts.
Problem #2: The $0 Deal (Might 2020)
The primary firm introduced its acquisition two years previous to when it truly happened. Inside this timeframe, each firms had signed separate contracts with ZoomInfo.
Provided that the contracts had confidentiality clauses — and that the merger had not but been made official — Lyon wasn’t at liberty to reveal the main points to each firms. When the groups on the two organizations conferred, nevertheless, and introduced this to Lyon’s consideration, he made a daring determination: As a way to offset the costs, he would give them an enormous variety of licenses. Without spending a dime.
“We had been beneath no obligation to do that, however we needed to do it to indicate them that we had been a great companion,” Lyon mentioned.
“It’s gut-wrenching as an AM since you don’t make something on a $0 transaction, however it’s a must to do all of the work for it. You continue to should undergo contracting, you continue to should construct an official quote, it’s a must to have all of the conversations, it’s a must to inform all of your bosses that depend on upsell income that we’re taking the zero … However the thought was, in the long term, this may repay.”
Problem #3: Overcoming the Naysayer (September 2020
In the identical month that Lyon misplaced the primary deal, he instantly began prospecting for the second. A vital piece of knowledge he had realized was that the 2 firms had been planning to mix Salesforce situations within the close to future, which may solely imply one factor:
They wanted clear information.
Lyon continued prospecting and ultimately obtained one of many group’s information hygienists on the telephone, whose job, Lyon realized, was to make sure that the company hierarchy construction information in Salesforce was clear.
Issues had been shifting ahead once more. The entire workforce gave the impression to be on board — apart from one individual.
“There was one man who was simply adamant about this notion that he had had from a number of years in the past: That our account information wasn’t sturdy sufficient,” Lyon mentioned.
Lyon and his workforce did all the things they might do to dispel the parable, however they couldn’t cease it from spreading. They might, nevertheless, make the supply of a lifetime: 30 million credit and limitless licenses.
“It was in all probability the most effective deal we’ve ever supplied. They usually didn’t take it.”
Problem #4: The 67-Individual RFP (October 2020)
Lower than a month later, the corporate had a change of coronary heart and despatched a proper RFP, which included a multi-page questionnaire about each side of ZoomInfo, from income to variety and inclusion hiring initiatives.
“Between information providers, contracts workforce, management workforce, CSMs, SDRs, VPs of merchandise, and resolution gross sales workforce, there have been about 40 people who had been serving to on this deal. We had one name the place the RFP viewers was a complete of 67 individuals.”
From mid-November to late December, Lyon and the workforce had been in full preventing mode. Proper on the finish of the yr, the corporate gave its reply:
No, but once more — however this time, due to a competitor, they usually wouldn’t inform Lyon who.
“That’s type of the place you grit your enamel and also you simply battle via it. Simply since you misplaced doesn’t imply it’s over. You might lose the Tremendous Bowl one yr and win it the following.”
Problem #5: Closing an Eight-Determine Deal (February 2021)
Within the first quarter of the brand new yr, Lyon nonetheless stored pushing. Irrespective of who the competitor was, he was assured that Zoominfo nonetheless had quite a few use circumstances that may profit the corporate.
“We walked them via each use case you might probably do with ZoomInfo — automated workflows, information hygiene, prospecting, ReachOut, integrations with third-party programs, and many others. — in a slide deck that’s now being leveraged by our total strategic workforce.”
From mid-January on, Lyon and the workforce entered a negotiating frenzy, and in February 2021, they obtained a sure. After a five-week procurement course of, Lyon closed the eight determine deal.
How did he do it?
When requested about how he pulled this deal off, Lyon’s fast response was, “It was a workforce effort.”
So many individuals, he insisted, from colleagues to managers, deserved credit score for his success. The piece of recommendation he took most to coronary heart in the course of the course of was to show his frustration into ardour.
“Typically, I’d have a dialog with considered one of my bosses or former bosses, and I’d be so offended and simply passionate on the telephone, and the steering they gave me was, ‘How come you weren’t like this on the decision?’” he mentioned. “For those who’re captivated with one thing, and you actually consider that you just’re going to rework somebody’s enterprise, allow them to see that you just care about it simply as a lot as they do.”
When it got here to Lyon’s motivation and his will to maintain the religion, there was one thought he stored returning to: his household.
“I’ve a imaginative and prescient board above my desk of what I needed to purchase with my fee, and I’ve an image of my youngsters and my spouse on my desk, and so each name, I used to be simply doing it for them. The fee is good, however what’s the fee going to do for my household? That was my private motivation.”
Though his present work-from-home setup doesn’t permit for “I Can’t Wait to Be King” to sound all through the gross sales flooring, a minimum of Lyon can relaxation assured about one factor: He’s definitely earned his identify.