The number of people at your prospect company who are involved in a decision to buy your products and services has increased and often can be 4-7 company representatives. What this means is that the one person – that guy or that gal who wants to be your central point of contact - is not the ultimate decision maker signing a purchase order for your products.
Note: this is not a good situation to be in – we’ll discuss strategies around that next.
You may have to let someone “sell” on your behalf inside your prospect company – one of the worst things anyone in a sales career can ever do. We highly discourage it, but know that sometimes you get stuck and will be at the mercy of one single person within a whole corporate department or even a whole company.
The next time one of your sales opportunities goes “dark” – meaning that your main contact does not return calls, emails, or smoke signals, and you’re feeling a little desperate, think about strategies and tools to help you sell that support your efforts, such as:
Having a single place for all of the information your prospect’s buying team needs. The financial buyer is concerned with different things than a user who is on the decision team or someone who is making sure that the service meets all of their company’s standards. Can’t all of this information reside together?
Do you ever look through dozens of email conversations for something that is critical to making a purchase decision? These are the sorts of issues Cliff Pollan, CEO of Postwire, and I discuss in our recorded conversation.
If you can empower the internal buyer team with the information that they need and have it organized and on demand, it can actually speed up a buying decision quite easily. I’d go so far as to say that if the team gets too slowed down, it can delay the decision right into a stalled opportunity and then to a dead opportunity.
As a seller, we want to be at the right meetings and we need to let the buyer work off of their timetable. It can be a real flurry to see buyers working on something – if you happen to have some sort of an email monitoring program like Signals (that’s what we use) others are Yesware, ToutApp, Buzzbuilder, and FollowUpcc. There are times when one of your contacts goes through an email with proposal information and you can see that it is getting passed around, re-opened, forwarded, other emails are getting opened, and it becomes a whirlwind of activity for them.
Next time you are speaking with a team within a prospect company, make sure you understand who everyone is that is involved. They will have different spheres of influence and their own agendas. Do you know what they are most concerned about?
Once you can identify this complete team (it can be challenging) and understand what they are trying to improve upon or fix, you'll be in a great position to add value and insight. Adding the right value and insight is most important to becoming the winning partner or provider.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.