The giant, unexpected speed bump that can often quickly put the brakes on closing your first big deal.
Suppose you want to win deals with large enterprise organisations, become a government supplier or operate in highly-regulated industries. In that case, due diligence will become a critical part of the sales process, and it pays (literally) to get your ducks in a row early rather than scramble to get everything in order at the last minute.
In this first blog of our due diligence series, we’ll take you through how to create a process that will get you closing faster, even when dealing with those 100-question-long due diligence questionnaires.
This blog is the first in our new due diligence series. Over the month, we’ll dive into simplifying the process of due diligence and supplier assurance for some of the UK and Europe’s most complex due diligence requirements.
The due diligence process:
Due diligence is, in its most basic form, a way for customers, partners, governments and even investors to evaluate your business before they decide to work with you or purchase something from you.
In most cases, you’ll be asked to complete a due diligence questionnaire to demonstrate that your company’s processes satisfy your third party’s requirements. The questions you’re asked will depend on the sector in which you operate; however, most third parties will want evidence that your company has met the cyber security and data compliance standards required by your country and your industry.
In order to capture as much information as possible, questionnaires tend to be incredibly detailed, sometimes asking over 100 questions on topics such as cyber security, business continuity and data compliance. If this process sounds tedious, that’s because it is. But not having this information ready to go in a clearly laid-out process can add months onto your sales cycles and impact your credibility with potential customers and partners.
Tips to ace due diligence:
Cyber security and data privacy matter (and rightly so!):
The first step to aching due diligence is to have the data privacy certifications and cyber security measures your customers demand in place. At the minimum, you’ll need to be compliant with the data privacy regulations in force within your region, such as GDPR or UK-GDPR. But depending on your customers, you may also need additional data privacy and security certifications, such as ISO27001, Cyber Essentials, or NHS DSPT.
The specific cyber security measures and data privacy certifications that your organisation needs will depend on various factors, such as the industry you operate in, the types of data you handle, and the regulations that apply to your business. One way to determine which measures and certifications you need is to seek guidance from the organisations or customers you are working with early in the sales process, demonstrating your commitment to resolving due diligence as quickly as possible while giving your internal teams the time they need to get any measures in place.
This nicely leads us onto:
Make due diligence part of your sales process:
Traditionally, due diligence has been seen as a necessary evil or a hurdle to overcome before a deal can be closed. However, a more proactive approach to due diligence can turn this process from a blocker into a competitive advantage (stay with us, sales!).
Differentiate yourself from your competitors by flipping the script and bringing up due diligence early in the sales process.
Instead of waiting for your new enterprise customer to ask about DD, proactively raise the topic and offer information, documentation, and other resources to help them conduct their due diligence more efficiently and effectively.
By demonstrating your company’s commitment to transparency, compliance and securing its data early in the sales process, you’ll be well on your way to positioning yourself as a trusted partner, not just another supplier.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail:
As you complete your DD questionnaire, you’ll often be requested to send copies of internal documents, policies and certifications to submit as evidence. For some extra credibility points, create a password-protected, view-only “data room” (a nicely named external facing folder) to send to your third parties as part of the due diligence process. Received a new due diligence request? Just grant them access to their very own “due diligence data room”.
Hundreds across the UK and Europe are already using Naq to automate their due diligence. Get a complete view of your cyber security and data compliance posture and comply with new certifications in days through Naq’s automated platform. Click here to learn more.
Don’t wait until the end to address compliance gaps:
As you work through the due diligence questionnaire, you may discover compliance or cyber security measures that your organisation has yet to implement. Rather than putting them off until the last minute, take a proactive approach to resolve these issues. Some compliances take time, and getting the ball rolling on these as soon as they’re discovered can save you time and headaches down the line.
Make your DD process foolproof:
In order to lighten the due diligence burden, it’s crucial to create a process that other team members can easily use. After all, the last thing you want interrupting that beach-side pina colada is a call asking “what’s the principle of least privilege, and do we do that?”. Once you’ve gone through your first due diligence process, create a template with any previous responses and guidance on where to find any necessary evidence. By establishing a standardised process, you can reduce the workload on individual team members and ensure consistency in your responses.
In conclusion, supplier due diligence has become a critical part of the sales process, especially for those businesses operating in highly-regulated industries. While it may seem daunting, implementing the tips outlined in this blog, such as being proactive about addressing compliance gaps, making due diligence part of your sales process, and creating a standardised process, you can streamline your due diligence process and close deals faster.
Looking for an even easier way to ace your supplier due diligence? With Naq, you can automate your entire due diligence process, from responding to questionnaires to gathering and submitting the necessary documentation. Our platform allows you to build, manage and review your business’ data compliance and cyber security programmes, instantly highlighting gaps and helping you close them in days, not months.
Click here to learn how hundreds are saying goodbye to the headache of due diligence and data compliance and hello to a streamlined, efficient process with Naq.