Up to 17 people influence the typical enterprise purchase (up from 10 in 2011), according to IDG.
In every complex business-to-business deal, there are many buyers involved: the decision-maker, the end user, the influencer, the CFO, the procurement department and so on. Each of these people has different motivations and pain points. Each is rewarded differently and each evaluates your products or services from a different perspective.
To support selling into a large account effectively, it’s critical that your team understands how each individual fits into the larger account and has a sense of the relationships, influences and connections that bind them together.
Selling through influencers.
The leads that fill out an online form or come to your trade show booth are often influencers, recommenders and researchers, not true decision-makers.
Instead of treating them as hot leads to jump on, use these as signals of account-level interest and engagement. Research the account to find out the right person to contact, then make that approach. And use the influencer as a critical source of insight and an ally.
“If you successfully sell the value of your product to the influencer, that person will be more likely to provide any information you need to make the critical sell to the decision-maker.” – Mark Roberge, former Chief Revenue Officer, Hubspot
Here are Mark’s tips for leveraging the inbound lead to get the insight you need to go higher:
Ask these questions:
- What has [decision- maker’s name] been talking about in team meetings lately?
- What has [decision-maker’s name] been on your case about?
- What was discussed in the last company meeting?
The key to the first call is needs assessment.
The salesperson needs to understand the challenges (realized or unrealized) the organization faces today and use that information to sell. With the data collected in the first call, sales can craft relevant messaging directly to the decision-maker or other stakeholders.
During the first call with the champion, spend less time on the product and more asking questions that allow you to create a customized benchmark report with real prospect data. Then turn that benchmark report into a reason to have a meeting with the decision-makers. It works. (Executives love benchmark data).
Recommend to the champion that the next call be with a wider group including decision-makers.
If they can’t get the meeting, you should go high yourself… call high and wide with your discovery data. If you’ve done a thorough needs assessment, you should have discovered the organization’s pains and challenges. So call high and wide anyway. The key is to translate what you heard on the first call into a reason the decision-maker should care about you.
For more tips on selling into target accounts, download the Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Sales Development, your trusted guidebook for the ABSD Revolution.
- The Who, What and Where of Account Based Sales Development
- The incredible power of Account Based Sales Development “Plays”
- What truly personalized and relevant outreach looks like (hint: nothing like “robo-spam”)
And much more.