Negotiation Consultant. Over 10 years of supply chain experience distilled into actionable advice and clear perspective.
In my experience, governance is often considered a function of a legal department, so approaching a VP Legal, or an Ombudsman/Business Compliance Manager may be of value. They'd warm to a risk-reduction positioning, with the compelling factor of avoiding legal issues, government fines, etc.
Change Management; however, is likely driven by the functional groups, so their specific leadership (Supply Chain VP, Finance VP, etc) would be the place to start. They'd likely warm to an efficiency, cost-savings, employee productivity positioning, with the compelling factor being them getting their change in place and reaping the benefits ASAP.
I would recommend approaching the groups (functional v. legal) one at a time, starting with whichever your company feels the strongest affinity towards and positioning for. If that doesn't click, you can try the second avenue.
(I'm not quite sure what you meant by involving auditors - but would be happy to explore your question further!)
First off –congrats on the opportunity. That you’ve found a great fit for your software is wonderful news.
Based on my experience negotiating contracts with companies of all sizes, particularly for procurement organizations, I have some suggestions -
Has the potential customer been able to share with you why they aren’t able to sign a contract with a small company? Beyond there being a ‘policy’, what concerns do they have, and why do they have them? Asking questions to uncover the specific concerns will help you determine if there’s a feature or term in the contract that you can adjust to address the issue. (Some variables that can pop up as concerns are insurance coverage, financial stability so that you'll be around to support them long-term, contingency plans/systems, or adequate bandwidth to meet their needs for customer service/tech support)
I’d recommend exploring this path a bit more with the potential customer before bringing a 3rd party into the mix.
If the client’s concerns can’t be addressed successfully in a negotiation of the contract terms, bringing in another party to act as an agent or distributor is an option.
Some thoughts on what to look for in that relationship:
- establishing a contract between yourself and the agent (independently of the client),
- financial arrangements related to fees/% due to the agent (they may not be doing any development, but facilitating the deal is a service that they’ll likely require payment for),
- limitations on the relationship with the agent (so that it’s for this specific client/product/time period. This way, as your company grows, you’re not limited by that structure).
Hope that helps get you moving with discussions – would be happy to provide assistance along the way.