May 29, 2015 1:00:00 PM
How many influencers does it take to close a deal?
Perhaps you have seen this scenario play out. A sales rep gets a lead or maybe an appointment has been set. They have the first call and all goes really well. In this initial discussion, the key player is open about the company’s challenges and business pain. You know your solution can address these issues — and generate insane ROI. The key player listens intently as the sales rep describes all the wonderful features of the solution. The key player is tracking 100%. The sales rep feels great because the contact really “gets it”.
After the call, the rep is gaga over the opportunity in much the same way people feel in a new dating relationship. While too soon to forecast, the rep enthusiastically enters the opportunity into the CRM.
A “deeper dive” discovery meeting or demo is scheduled for the following week. The contact invites a colleague to the call and this second meeting goes just about as well. The rep reconfirms the business challenges, does the demo. The colleague doesn’t say a lot, but seems to be tracking as well.
The contact asks the rep if they can send some information and inquires about pricing. Later that day, a proposal document is sent. The rep goes into CRM is moves the opportunity to a more advanced stage (but still not forecasted)Then a week passes and the rep hears nothing but……..……………………………………………………..radio silence.
Months later, you find out they went with a different solution or it just went to a “no decision”.
Why does this happen? The answer is simple: “single threaded selling”.
Single threaded selling is the number one reason opportunities stall. A CEB study said that the average B2B sale involves 5.4 decision makers. Sales reps get very comfortable with their “point person” and often times don’t venture further away.
In order to sell any sort of complex deal, you need to have the following:
- Someone who wants you to win the deal
- That person expresses their favoritism for your solution
- That person shares your vision for how to address the need / solve the business problem
- AND, that person has the political clout to help get the deal done
To prevent deals from going silent and leaving success up to chance, a multi-threaded sales effort is essential. There are a number of great sales methodologies (i.e., Solution Selling, Strategic Selling, Sandler, SPIN, etc.) that talk about managing multiple influencers in a deal. Highly successful B2B sellers are masters at the consensus sale. From prospecting efforts and throughout the sales cycle, these sellers make a conscious effort to communicate with multiple people in an account.
This communication strategy gives the successful sales person a broad view on the decision-making process and helps them understand where their allies and adversaries stand.
Sellers using a multi-threaded sales strategy almost always control their own destiny. While they may not win every time, they are rarely surprised by a loss or a no decision.