#043: How to sell in 2024

Align your solution to high priority initiatives

Read time: 5 minutes

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I posted on LinkedIn this week about why it’s so hard to sell in today’s environment. In this newsletter, we’ll show you how to follow the budget by aligning your solution to high-level department and company initiatives.

3 years ago anyone with cool tech could sell.

Today that's not the case. Here's why.

A few years ago everyone was flooded with cash and interest rates were low.

Companies were looking for every edge possible which meant trying off-the-wall ideas, testing new tech, and risk was encouraged.

This meant you could meet with a company, show them your cool tech, and they'd be willing to give it a try.

This created a ton of bad sales habits that don't work in today's environment.

Today, companies are only focused on the "sure thing". Risk can't be tolerated because there isn't enough funding to go around.

They are forced to prioritize only the highest-value projects. Oftentimes these are the programs closest to the clinic.

This means they have a focused list of initiatives. Anything outside of that, won't be prioritized.

Unless you can tie your solution to one of their top initiatives, you don't stand a chance.

You can't show up and give the same "pitch" to every buyer like you used to.

1: You have to conduct deep discovery to identify the company's top initiatives.

2: Align on the biggest challenges getting in the way.

3: Quantify the impact they face if they don't solve those challenges on time.

4: Show how your solution can help them resolve those challenges.

It's important to work in this order so you can show a clear path from your solution to a top company initiative.

It doesn't stop there.

You need a champion to drive this initiative through the customer's buying committee.

That champion has to have both the power and influence to get the deal approved.

With the average buying committee having 7+ influencers, you also need to convince them to use your solution.

This is how you win deals in 2024.

That's why selling is so much harder than it used to be.

Follow the budget

If you look at the graphic below, you’ll see the hierarchy of initiatives a biotech company might have. Different levels of the organization are responsible for different goals.

A bench scientist is responsible for executing a specific experiment and getting reliable results.

A group leader or department head is responsible for ensuring their team meets broader program deadlines and they are allocating their resources most effectively.

An executive is responsible for increasing shareholder value, driving the company towards specific milestones, and allocating budget to teams/initiatives.

I would make a bet that most of your conversations are focused on project-level objectives.

You’re aligning your product or service to help someone complete a particular project faster, cheaper, or with better results.

While in theory, this is great! But you’re not aligning your solution to larger initiatives that have a bigger share of the budget.

So if you’re losing deals to people ghosting you, or saying they don’t have the budget, or they’re pushing out the decision, it’s because you haven’t aligned to a high-priority and urgent initiative.

Bottom Left: 3 years ago you could easily sell to this quadrant because there was a ton of money floating around. Not the case any more. Nice to have products aren’t selling.

Bottom Right: They need to solve something quickly but how they solve it isn’t important. This is where inbound leads come in asking for pricing and they pick the lowest price option.

Top Left: They need to ultimately fix a problem they have but they have 15 other more pressing items on their list. This is where deals get pushed and pushed from quarter to quarter.

Top Right: These are the top 3-5 initiatives a company is focused on at any given time. They probably have company-level OKRs in place to monitor the progress of these initiatives. They HAVE to fix these problems at all costs, or the company faces negative consequences. This is where you want to tie your solution. This is where budget is created to solve high-priority and urgent problems.

Align to high-priority and urgent initiatives

Here are a few different strategies to align your solution to larger initiatives.

Ask the right questions

  • How does this project roll up into your department-level goals?

  • How is this project prioritized in the long list of other things you could be doing?

  • Would it be the worst thing in the world if you missed your deadline? Why not?

Multi-thread and get other’s opinions

  • Multi-threading is the process of developing relationships with multiple people involved in the buying committee.

  • 78% of deals have only one point of contact!

  • Use the same questions above and talk to multiple people that are impacted by the results of the project

  • Who else is impacted by this project? Shouldn’t we also speak to them and get their input?

  • Find out what’s most important to everyone else. You’ll notice a trend that you can align your product or service to.

  • Ask who is upstream and downstream of this project

Create a business case showing how your solution impacts a high-value initiative

  • Use a simple business case template to show exactly how your solution aligns with the strategic initiatives you’ve uncovered

  • Work with your new points of contact to craft the business case together

  • Arm your champion with the business case so they can use it to sell on your behalf when you can’t be in the room.


  • Budgets are tight and companies are only spending on the highest-value initiatives

  • Unless you can align your solution to those initiatives, you’re deals are dead.

  • Budget is allocated from the executives down through the org.

  • The higher level initiatives you can align to, the better chance you have at winning the deal.

  • Ask the right questions, multi-thread, and build a business to align you solution with those initiatives.

This is the process required to sell complex products and services in today’s market.

If you want to learn exactly how to execute these techniques, sign up for a free trial of Succession and I'll point you to the exact courses you should focus on.

Episode 35: [Sales] Recruit, train, and retain top sales talent with Amber Penrose

  • One-size-fits-all training is dead

  • Training is a top requirement coming up from candidates

  • Gen Z turnover rates are high

  • Why you need to build a personal brand

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  3. AI-Powered Prospecting: We’ll build you an AI-powered prospecting machine to book qualified sales meetings with biotech and pharma companies.

  4. Strategy Call: Need more than training? Want help implementing and executing your sales strategy? In a 30-minute call, we will assess your company’s current situation and identify growth opportunities.

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