An extension is commonly needed whenever our clients engage us too late (i.e. too close to their contract renewal) and we need time to successfully complete the Discovery and Strategy Phases of our proprietary 4-Step Negotiation Plan.
Tip #1: Be Confident
We find that most of our clients have either rarely or never requested a contract extension with either Salesforce or any other IT Supplier. As such, this very basic concept becomes daunting for the average IT or Procurement leader as they don’t have either the experience, or past playbook, to execute with natural confidence. This sentiment is augmented by the fact that Salesforce will automatically inform you that they never allow extensions. If you’ve read our previous articles, then you’ll know this is yet another canned answer out of their sales playbook. Please know that extensions are granted all the time as long as you know how to ask for them…as such, they are considered the exception vs. the rule.
Tip #2: Focus on the Facts
Share only what is necessary with Salesforce without going into too much detail. You don’t want to expend all of your negotiation equity during this process or you’ll end up hurting yourself down the road. Keep in mind that Salesforce will try and obtain as much information as possible during this stage so they can decide 1) whether or not to grant the extension and 2) to determine how prepared you are as an organization.
Tip #3: Establish the Why
Like any human scenario, it’s always easier to influence people if they understand the intent and context behind any request. This scenario is no different as you’ll want to answer in a way that is authentic to your organization but intentionally vague in material content. Typical responses we find most effective are the following:
Tip #4: Create a Timeline with Milestones
Salesforce will be far more willing to accept an extension request if they understand the timeline in which you plan on making decisions. This in a sense shows a partnership mentality which is both real and healthy. Develop a basic timeline of when you plan on making internal and external decisions that provides a good amount of cushion in favor of your organization.
Tip #5: Keep your Promises
Constant and honest communication is key. All too often we find individuals/companies making the mistake of playing the power client position. In other words, the client exemplifies a lack of empathy or care for the sales process and holds all information back thinking that they are protecting their position. After years of research and proven experience we have repeatedly disproven that hypothesis. Instead, we find providing regular milestone updates to Salesforce (or any IT supplier) shows a level of commitment to the relationship and will pay dividends at the final negotiated deal.
It’s important to recognize that each client scenario offers its unique challenges and opportunity. That being said, the guiding principles laid out above will prove effective no matter your situation. Be confident in your request, focus on the facts of your specific situation, build credibility with Salesforce by providing context into the request, set expectations via timeline with milestones, and deliver on your promises. We use these same effective tactics every day and hope you find them useful in your future endeavors.
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