Venture Partner at RTP Ventures. Co-founder, CEO at Vestorly. Raised $11.2 million in VC, built teams in engineering, sales, and marketing, won Fortune 500 customers, and led the company to the Inc. 5000 before exiting.
I'll assume you've already asked the questions and qualified this prospect using tactics like BANT (budget, authority, need, timing) so I'm not going to bore you with that stuff.
This kind of stalling is rooted much deeper. Very often, a prospect does need your service, and needs it now, and even knows that, but still won't move. Why is this?
It's emotional, it's political, and it's human nature to "prefer to defer."
Here's some stuff no one else will tell you.
There are 3 moments of truth in a sales process:
1. Is a champion identified? Is there someone there who has confirmed that they will recommend your solution to their colleagues, that they would work for your company if they could, that they would put their reputation on the line for you, etc.? This person is usually ambitious and has something to prove in their company. You are a bullet point on their resume, or perhaps a promotion or even an award. You need to find this person and tap into their ambition or you'll wind up in a decision-by-committee scenario where no one cares enough to take a stand for your solution (or likely cares enough about anything in their company). They just sit around and point fingers at each other. You need to find the ambitious one with something to gain or lose.
2. Is there a time-based incentive to close? Most people think this means "is there a discount you gave them if they close by a certain date," and that very well may be enough to get a close, but I mean something else. You need to ask if there is a specific initiative in the business and who has determined that it must be advanced and when do they want it done by? As a CEO, I usually tell my team what I want and when I want it and they go find vendors and negotiate prices as fast as possible. Those who do this for me with efficiency are noticed and promoted (see #1 above). Perhaps your customer has an announcement they want to make at an annual conference or board meeting and this needs to be done by then. Perhaps they have budgetary requirements that you're willing to work within as long as they sign by a certain date. Or perhaps they have revenue targets they need to hit by a certain date that you know they can achieve with your service. Whatever it is, find it and get them to put a date range on it, then use it over and over again to remind them of the timeliness of this project. They sometimes forget this timeliness, get lazy and hide behind the rest of their team and nothing gets done. The CEO could get mad that nothing gets done but the blame has been equally diluted across the organization because no champion has taken ownership (see #1 above). This is office politics at its worst and the reason for mediocre companies and a million dead sales. Find the time-based incentive, or create one, then squeeze it and hold them to it.
3. Is there a next meeting scheduled? This is so simple and so many people skip it. Live by this rule: if there is no next meeting scheduled, the deal is dead. If you hold yourself to that standard, you'll find yourself closing out opportunities much faster. If they refuse to meet you again, they're quietly breaking up with you. Don't let them slunk out like that. Call them out. Get that next meeting on the books to talk about pricing, implementation, references, or to at least part ways as friends like adults. Yes is good and No is good. It's the gray area that creates this time gap, and time kills all deals.
It sounds like you have a lot of contacts at this organization. I use something called the Gervais Principle to find out who really has the power (it's often not who you think). Feel free to contact me to discuss that. I give it to you straight and won't sugar coat it.
At our SaaS company, we found they were better done all separately.
Firstly, your customer might be asking for a proposal, not an MSA. If they are a large company they usually make you use their MSA once the proposal gets to procurement. Your contact may not know this.
Lastly, you can tuck your project management services into one MSA for the software, or vice versa. It can be just one MSA that covers all your products and services in the event they choose to use any of them.
I'm no a lawyer and you should consult one. Feel free to look at/copy our agreements on www.vestorly.com.