While having general agreement on a particular way to negotiate deals is beneficial to the entire organization, what is more beneficial is providing individual negotiators with ample flexibility to address their own situations within those guidelines.
Having a negotiation strategy developed by the appropriate stakeholders provides an organization with what can be thought of as a radically centralized strategy with a radically decentralized execution. Meaning, the strategy is centrally designed and those closest to the customer have generous flexibility to execute it.
Once the stakeholders agree on ranges, or guidelines, for what can be negotiated, the negotiators have the ability to move within those ranges and need to go to management only in exceptional situations. A negotiation strategy can be developed for an account, a section of your salesforce or for your entire organization.
The idea is to start with a controllable group in which behaviors can be changed and success can be measured cleanly and closely.
Some additional things to think about:
- Do you have a proactive response strategy for your irrational competitors?
- How will you measure the results of the strategy once it's been implemented?
- What specific guidelines need to be included in the strategy?
- How will the strategy be distibuted and implemented?
The first and most critical step in establishing a successful negotiation strategy is stakeholder involvement and internal collaboration. These various individuals are likely to have equally unique thoughts on negotiation strategies and tactics, and unless those strategies and tactics are coordinated, the result could be a great deal of internal misalignment and external confusion. Do not underestimate the power of collaboration.
Would you like to know more? Read the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) Velocity article entitled Developing a Negotiation Strategy.