Complex B2B selling is exactly that: complex.
To be great, not just good, Sales Teams need to have more than charisma, industry expertise and sales process mastery. They need tools and resources to help them discover, navigate and manage the challenges of highly complex sales and all the politics, process and people involved in the account.
With an average of 6.8 people deciding on a purchase, navigating who is influencing and evaluating an organization’s choices about when and if to solve a problem is tough. The probability of closing a B2B deal drops rather quickly as the number of decision-makers increases. No decision is as likely to be your enemy as the competition.
Staying ahead of this statistic starts with mapping out who you are selling to in each target account. The first step in this critical process requires knowing what tools and resources you’ll need to track the buyers in your target accounts and empower your Sales Team to navigate these complexities. Your buying landscape includes these five critical actors:
For each target account, Sales needs to understand the company as a whole and how that company buys, business priorities and any relevant industry requirements. In an ideal scenario, this information has been populated for the rep in the CRM or system of record for their target accounts. More often than not, the Rep is acting as the detective on this company and capturing their notes outside of the system, when the system doesn’t provide insights for them.
TIP: When researching a target accounts, sources will vary based upon factors including whether they are publicly traded. Tools that can offer good insights into a target accounts include:
Seeking Alpha. Great for publicly traded companies. Reading their transcripts allows you to understand what the company is committing to their investors.
Glassdoor. Provides insight into how their employees feel about the company. What they like and what they might like to see improved.
Google News. Track news on accounts that matter to you.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Track accounts as a lead.
Reddit. Consolidates news, postings, links, etc on all sizes of companies
The Buying Group
The buying group is everyone that might be interested in the problem the company is trying to solve. This includes anyone that might influence the decision along the way. Tracking all the people involved in the buying group is important for accurately gauging how the buyers journey is progressing and to help Sales stay on top of everyone that may influence the buyers internal conversations about the sales opportunity.
The Buying Committee
This is the group of decision makers who will make the actual evaluation and purchase decisions. In order to sell successfully into the Committee, you have to think about how they behave as a group of decision-makers and how you can help meet their internal needs so the group can reach consensus.
Each of the buyers on the Buying Committee has their own role. Based on their role, buyers across your accounts will have similar problems, preferences, barriers and needs internally. Buyer Personas developed by your internal customer-facing personnel and validated with real customer conversations are a helpful structure for understanding the nuances of these roles.
Each person in a role must be treated as an individual, since people are unique despite the roles they fill. They come to the table with their own preferences, expertise and biases that guide how they make decisions. Take time to understand what motivates the individual at a personal level and at a professional level as you decide the strategies and tactics to employ in each account.
As you begin your investigation into an account, map the information available about your target accounts out using the framework above. You’ll likely land in one of two places at the start:
- You will know you have a lot to learn about the account and the people making decisions. It may be that you have to make that first contact to discover more before you can develop an approach to engage the account.
- You discover you have a useful amount of information and are ready to start organizing it in a way that empowers you or your Sales Team to effectively act on it. Use that information to develop an approach for engaging the account and get going!