Making food, making money and Rock 'n' Roll - Part 4

A 6-part series depicting the events of a salesperson selling to a global food manufacturer without a business case or value-selling approach.

Stephen Jackett
December 8, 2022

DISCLAIMER: this is a true story. The events depicted in this story took place in the United Kingdom in 2018. At the request of the subjects, the names have been changed and some events dramatised. Out of respect for the customers, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

Meanwhile the food production line continues to fulfil orders, although under strain and tight management from Billy. All this is starting to take its toll on Billy, and he is beginning to wonder how the business can continue to run and fulfil its future strategic growth ambitions without some improvement. Billy is really struggling when an email drops into his personal email inbox…  

Dear Billy,

An opportunity has arisen at New Corp Enterprise, it’s a senior management role with share options. The company is looking to recruit a person with significant operational experience in food process and manufacture, let me know if you are interested.



Now, Billy has worked with his current employer since leaving university and he feels he owes them a debt as they have given him the training and experience to get to where he is currently within the industry. However, in the current circumstances Billy is intrigued by the offer and so replies to find out more.

Billy is a key sponsor for the new system implementation and Jon’s key contact, if Billy leaves it could spell trouble for the whole deal!

Meanwhile, Jon has acquired a license for the Dark Finesse software along with an hours’ worth of tutoring from the firms leading consultant Martina Souvern. Jon has a newfound confidence in this area and is keen to tee up a meeting with his prospect and key sponsor. Jon has also realised that he already has the key skills required for creating compelling and customised business cases:

a. The ability to ask an open question

b. To listen and understand the problem the customer has

c. To be inquisitive

After speaking with Gill, Jon realised that his company also completes much of the groundwork for the business case as part of its normal workflow, namely a deep dive into the prospects current processes and workflows and any performance gaps that can be bridged by a new system. So, all the ingredients were readily available to create a customised financial justification for the implementation of the new system.

Jon decided to approach Gill to ask for some help:

Jon: “Hey Gill, did you say you have done a complete process and gap analysis at that food manufacturer I mentioned last week?”

Gill replies: “Of course, it was quite revealing!”… Gill continues, “we found lots of areas where the new system will be able to help improve their current workflows.”

With eager anticipation Jon replies: “would you be open to having a meeting with them to review this analysis and also plug some numbers into a new piece of software I have?”

Gill: “Jon, no problem, I think we already have something scheduled in with Sally and Jim. Jaapak, our techie, will also be there”.

This was fantastic news, all Jon had to do was tag along, ask a few extra questions about the gaps, and get some financial information and we would be good to go! The only thing he would need is for Billy, a friendly sponsor, to be in the room.

The elephant in the room however, was Billy, was he going to stay or go? Find out in Part 5.

What we do

At Shark Finesse we have developed an enterprise-grade cloud application to help businesses standardise and simplify their value engagements across the entire customer journey.

Shark, a business value engagement platform used by 1000’s of customer-facing teams globally (e.g. pre-sales, sales, value teams, and customer success) is easy to use, intuitive and usable directly with the customer to negotiate the likely business returns from investing in a solution.

By adopting the Shark approach you will fundamentally transform conversations with new and existing customers, close more business, and differentiate from the competition.