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The D.E.A.L.S. Framework: Unifying Customer Acquisition & Success for Acceleration

by Doug Davidoff | Mar 4, 2020 10:00:00 AM


Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen the proliferation of marketing and customer acquisition “methodologies” multiply, fragment and confuse. One of the reasons for this was the success that HubSpot had with their focus on Inbound Marketing and the methodology they created to define it.

Since that time, it’s become part of the standard SaaS/tech playbook to create a new methodology to frame the product a company is attempting to sell. I’ve even seen some very successful executives and advisors proclaim that if you want to launch a new SaaS product you must create a unique methodology to frame it. 

What’s more, with the promise of each “unique” methodology, the focus moves to what you call things instead of on the objectives and results that should be driving the entire process anyway.

Here are just a few of the loudest:

  • Inbound Marketing
  • Account-Based Marketing
  • Outbound Marketing
  • Conversational Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Legacy Marketing

What makes this so confusing and frustrating is that the proponents of each method describe them with near zealotry. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, “We don’t want to do Inbound Marketing, we need to do Account-Based Marketing,” or vice versa. (You can substitute in for Conversational or any other option for either of those.)

Someone needs to hit the reset button. We need to stop talking about these approaches as though they are mutually exclusive. I, for one, am a fan of all of them, and while I would rarely use all of these methods within one company, I would also virtually never use only one. As an old manager of mine used to say, “Everything works and nothing works.”

The D.E.A.L.S. Framework

For the last year, we’ve been wrestling with the challenge of creating a single framework to guide the structure, strategy, tactics, and execution of any customer acquisition and success program aimed at producing high-probability, repeatable, scalable, high-margin, high-ROI, fast growth.

Today, we’re excited to share that framework with you.

First, let me explain what the acronym stands for:

Discovery - At this stage, you’re focused on identifying high-quality, right-fit leads/accounts that fit your ideal client/customer profile (ICP).

Engage - This is where an account-focused approach kicks in, regardless of the underlying tactics you may be using. At this stage, you’re looking to connect with the right accounts and the right people within the accounts. 

Activate - This is the most leverageable (and overlooked) stage. In this stage, the engagement that you’ve generated becomes meaningful, you expand the number of people within an account who are engaged, and you aim to directly influence the definition of the problems and/or opportunities your prospects identify.

Launch - Engagement turns into defined opportunities and the active sales process commences.

Success - You win the business, and now the work of customer success begins.

See The Complete D.E.A.L.S. Framework & How To Make It Work For Your Business

The DEALS Framework provides a holistic view that can align all aspects of what your company does to find, win and retain high-value customers, and to unify the various methodologies, strategies, and tactics you may be implementing. 

While we would firmly agree with a contrary opinion that you can win business and grow fast without following this framework, we’d challenge the wisdom of such an approach. Certainly, not all opportunities will present themselves in such a manner that you can move through the entire framework, but the framework still provides two strong benefits: 

  • Strong insights into how to best approach and manage such opportunities
  • A greatly increased probability of winning (as well as the margins you’ll enjoy when you do win) and the return you and your team’s time, money, and energy 

The framework, by design, is flexible and should be fitted to your business and your strategy. 

In addition, this framework advances your ability to design and implement a structure and system to support and enable your growth efforts. Companies today are paying a 15-50% friction tax. With this framework, you can quickly reduce important areas where friction is dragging momentum and performance and eliminate that tax. 

Check out the details of The D.E.A.L.S Framework here.

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