Knowing 5.4 people!

In many ways selling was easier in the good old days with top down decisions, hierarchical structures, and a static budget.

Today’s economy with flat organizations, dialogue based decision processes and dynamic, flexible budgets makes it hard to get a yes or no as a sales person.

Studies show that on average 5.4 people are involved in any purchase decision and that especially in bigger companies and concerning software and tech solutions the decision process is long, complex and involving many stakeholders.

As sales people we all get excited just getting our foot inside the door and love our contact person but in reality that is just the beginning of the sales journey.

90-200 days sales process, unclear decision procedures, internal financial distribution concerns and more than 5 stakeholders is the reality we face at our leads in any complex sales process.

I have found it essential to ensure a comprehensive stakeholder analysis to create any progress in a sales process.

Who is the business buyer, the approver/signer, the IT guy, the person responsible for procurements and the financial and/or legal person.

I need to know all stakeholders and get a sense of how they are involved, and how engaged they are – and most importantly I need to know what is in it for them!

Knowing stakeholders’ interest. motivation, opposition and their relationship with each other can help any sales person target arguments and efforts and thus shorten the sales proces.

Without a stakeholder analysis we all risk spending too much time on a marketing guy that doesn’t have the purchase power or on a VP that will never convince the IT department to integrate a software solution.

Knowing 5.4 people through a stakeholder analysis will often be instrumental in closing the deal!