Brent’s Breakdown – Episode 2: Sponsor Letters

Note from Brent:

Last week I introduced the concept of a “customer verifier” and a “customer verified pipeline.” This week, a tactical example of a specific customer verifier that any sales or success rep could deploy immediately–the Sponsor Letter.

Video Transcript:

I’ve talked elsewhere about the concept of a customer verifier and, ultimately, a customer-verified pipeline. The idea that you base your assessment of where an opportunity stands or ultimately, where a pipeline stands based on customer actions or reactions, rather than rep actions. 

Let me give you an example of one specific customer verifier that is super simple but incredibly powerful. It’s something called “a sponsor letter.” 

And all a sponsor letter really is, is the result of an early-stage sales process, or maybe an expansion process, where you’re having a conversation with your customer and you begin to map out–or through discovery–what it is that they’re trying to achieve, the outcomes that they’re trying to achieve, the challenges that they’re facing. And you’re just trying to sus out the surface area of that opportunity and the different ways that you as an organization or as a solution might help them meet those outcomes or overcome those challenges. 

Now, as a result of that conversation, typically what happens is that gets logged in the CRM system as “Stage One: Complete,” right? “We had the discovery conversation, let’s move this thing onto Stage Two.” 

But the thing that’s critical isn’t the fact that you had the conversation, what’s critical is your customer’s reaction to that conversation–not “Are you ready to move to Stage Two?” but are they ready to move to Stage Two or whatever that next stage may be. 

So a sponsor letter is simply a–the step you would take here is you would actually just put in an email, probably in an email or some other format maybe, but an email that just sort of–as the customer success rep or sales rep, your assessment and summary of that conversation. Here’s what we talked about. We agreed that these are the outcomes that are most important. We talked about these challenges being the most critical. And you simply end with a question, just want to confirm that I got that right and we’re ready to move to the next step.

Now, the sponsor letter itself isn’t the actual customer verifier; the customer verifier is the customer’s response to that letter. So when you send that–again, as an email or whatever channel you prefer to your customer, what you’re looking for is the response from your customer essentially saying, “Yes, I agree.” And that’s the customer verifier.

Again, it’s an action customers are taking–it’s like “I’ve responded to this letter with agreement.” 

It is objective. It’s either a “yes” or a “no.” 

It’s like, “Well, we should kind of talk about this,” then it’s not verified. 

And it’s binary. It’s either “yes” or “no” because that response from your customer, that “yes” or that “no” can be logged into the email system and CRM system and documented as evidence that not just that you’re ready to move forward but that your customer is ready to move forward.

A sponsor letter is a very simple idea but incredibly powerful in predicting the next step or in indicating your readiness for the next step in your opportunity and in your pipeline.

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