by Mike Gomez, Director of Enterprise Growth
The real driving priority for a major contract decision may not be the most obvious one...
For years, a U.S. company pursuing a major military military aircraft sale in Europe had assumed the decision would be heavily weighted on performance and capabilities. (The competitors were the Russians MiG, UK Grippen , and the French Mirage.) This company spent considerable resources emphasizing these aspects and performing live demonstrations to impress the military.
During a state dinner, the Prime Minister of this country asked the U.S President why the U.S. firm kept emphasizing product performance when his biggest political issue was an 18% unemployment crisis. Puzzled by the question, the President directed this feedback be provided to the American CEO.
Mike Gomez was called away from his regional sales duties in the Middle East and sent to Europe to conduct a complete in-country sales strategy review. He used the Winning Customer Decisions© process with the entire campaign team (country expert consultants, U.S. Embassy personnel, multi-disciplined sale force, etc...) to thoroughly evaluate how this decision was to be made and the priorities that would guide it.
The process revealed the top 10 people who had a role in the decision were focused on trade, economic development, and geopolitics - not military capability. It became clear that jobs (to provide cover for the spending of national funds) and geo-political considerations (EU vs U.S) would dictate who won or lost this multi-billion dollar competition.
Armed with this new understanding the U.S. company immediately launched a focused jobs and technology transfer campaign and eventually won the $3.6 billion (USD) competition. In announcing the winner, the Prime Minister highlighted that their decision would bolster the relationship with the United States and, over the duration of the contract, bring thousands of high tech jobs to their nation.