Making B2B sales can be challenging because you’re not just selling to one person, you’re selling to several people – and all of them must be convinced that you have the right product and the right value.
In B2B selling, especially in large organizations, the team of decision-makers, influencers, and key influencers may involve dozens of people. The more strategic the problem, the bigger the team.
This is why your “VISABILITY” is so important. Simply put, VISABILITY means being seen in the right way, at the right time, by the right people.
In B2B selling, it’s critical that you first understand who the right people are:
- The decision-maker. You know you’re talking to a decision-maker by asking a simple question: “If we get a ‘yes’ today, what will we be doing tomorrow?” When you hear detailed buying actions (e.g. contracts, pricing, project plans, etc.) you likely have a decision-maker. In most sales situations, there will be only one, maybe two people who have the authority to commit the company to a decision with a yes. There are many who can say no.
- The influencer. Influencers present themselves as decision-makers because that’s their job. But if you ask them what happens next, you’re more likely to learn of even more influencers to meet before you get a “yes.” Influencers have expertise in one or more areas that are seen as vital to the decision. The decision-maker needs these people to accept the offering in order to make a good decision and, more important, to successfully launch it.
- The key influencer. These people have more clout than other influencers, and have easy access to the decision-maker. As part of the inner circle, they can get you to the decision-maker. They have expertise in various areas, but also take a big-picture view as they often are being groomed for the top spot or are decision-makers in other areas.
At the Boeing company, there are about 150,000 employees with many thousands serving as decision-makers and influencers. I helped to sell to more than 200 influencers and key influencers multiple times and each had their own criteria and personal motivations. These were definitely complex sales!
But with The Five Abilities®, you can learn to quickly identify best next actions to address all the people and motivations driving each buying decision.
I’m interested in your thoughts. Gatekeepers and influencers—one in the same or different? How does it work in your industry?
©2017 Rick Wong, The Five Abilities® LLC