The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode 57 · 9 months ago

Navigating the Decision Process With Multiple Buyers w/ John Kaplan


Improve your ability to navigate your buyer's decision process and win deals that involve multiple decision makers.

John Kaplan walks through key tips for getting multithreaded in your deals and to ensure you’re communicating effectively with the key players in the buying organization, including:

- What actions you can take early on in the sales process to effectively influence a customer’s decision process

- How to get higher, wider, and deeper in your organization to determine key decision makers and multiple buyers who will have a say in the final “yes”

- Tips for making an impact in front of each stakeholder in an opportunity

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Here are some additional resources on decision process:

- How to Ask the Right Questions in Your Sales Conversation


- Why Sales Reps Struggle with Metrics in the Sales Conversation


- Executing Effective Discovery [Podcast]


Most buying decisions today are made bya team of people. So more often than not, when the group comesto a no decision, it's not because they don't know how or because they'retoo busy, it's because they weren't able to come to a unanimous consensus.So we like to call this getting to a collective yes, you're listening tothe audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell morefaster. will feature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create asales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team aforcemanagement, a leader in BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcometo the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clip Miller, joined today byJohn Kaplan. Hi John, Hi Rachel. So today we are going to divea little deeper into one of the letters of medic. We haven't reallycovered it that much on the podcast.

We've talked a lot about medic andsome various parts of that acronym, but we haven't really talked about the decisionprocess. Yeah, this is a great topic because it's a critical topic andI actually call it the forecast accuracy killer. So I mean the decision process isthe intersection of the buying and the selling cycles. So it's really,really credit coal. Yeah, and we break down the decision process into twomain components, the validation process and the approval process. Yeah, so Imean the validation processes the buyers way of verifying that your solution will satisfy theirhighest priority requirements, so in other words, that it will work as promised.And then you also have the approval process, which is the sequence ofevents required to obtain contract signatures once the validation has taken place. So thedecision process is a series of interrelated customer...

...buying activities that convert interest into action. Yeah, interest into action. And when I'm on that fund with thevendor, I love it when they asked me about the decision process or whoelse needs to be involved, or what's the approval process, because I knowthey're executing the science of selling and, as with anything the sales process,it's not a one and done event, right, it's a process, it'sa decision process. So let's talk about what I am doing as a salespersonto continuously validate the decision process in my deals. And I know you've saidJohn, it comes down to controlling the process in those customer accounts. Yeah, I mean in the way we're using the word control. It's not ait's not a bad word in the sense of this. You know, buyerand sell a relationship. So if you're not in control, the customers willbelieve that they need to be in control and your competition will quickly gain control. So this is not to say that...

...customers don't call the shots. Theyabsolutely do, but we need to understand that the shots are being called,they have to be called by somebody. So we need to align our salesprocess to the customers decision process, and we always need to remember everybody lovesto be led, provided you can get them to a place they can't getto on their own. Yeah, exactly. So what am I doing to makesure I'm validating these processes? I'm aligning my sales process the customers decisionprocess throughout the sales campaign, and I just blatantly asking what am I doing? This is part of your discovery. So remember your number one job asa seller is to set highly differentiated required capabilities, also known as decision criteria, and you do this with the buyer. You also want to set how thosecapabilities will be measured. So now the race is set up. Let'sgo win the race, and the race... winning it against the competition.Yeah, it's not really like you said about controlling the prospects. You're almostcoaching them through a well vetted decision process. But the ultimate goal here is mitigatingsurprises are around the deal. You want to know where you stand.Yes, so your prospects expect you to have a process. They also expectyou to ensure that your process integrates with theirs. So you think of itas not following the customers lead. You want to influence how the decision getsmade. It's all about influence. We know that there isn't just one personthat makes a buying decision without seeking input from others. Most buying decisions todayare made by a team of people. So more often than not, whenthe group comes to a no decision, it's not because they don't know howor because they're too busy, it's because they weren't able to come to aunanimous consensus. So we like to call...

...this getting to a collective yes,and as a professional seller, part of your job is to help facilitate thedecision process and help your client get to a collective yes, it's no surprisethat you cannot effectively accomplish this if you are single threaded in your deal.So you want to build out those players and then determine how many of themyou have access to. Once you determine that, you want to determine aplan to improve your control of the process. Right, you're influencing how the decisiongets made and I know that some of you listening out there maybe alittle bit overwhelmed if you start to map this out as it relates to yourdeal, to how am I supposed to do that? Every customers different,nobody's the same. It's one reason why we always start with, why wealways say to start early in your process. But also it's important to understand thatif you aren't successfully building all those relationships, getting multi threaded in yourdeals, to use the words you just...

...said, John, there's a lotof room for your deal to fall apart. It's not just understanding the decision process, you probably not going to advance your deal. Yeah, I meanit's all related and we're all kind of swirling around this. Getting back towhat we always talk about. So your job is to uncover customers positive businessoutcomes, to set an influence the required capabilities that are good for the customerand very, very favorable for you as well, and to get the customerto understand and articulate how they're going to measure their success. We then pivotand Aligne how we do those require capabilities, how we do them better or differentlyand where we've done it before. So that is the motion that you'regoing to do day in, day out. You are constantly using a discovery processto understand the three critical things from a customer positiveness, outcomes, requirecapabilities and metrics. So the goal is... fill up those three buckets inyour discovery process. Now this concept of multithreaded. Is there the realization thatthere are depend about the complexity of your products and services, that there aremultiple people that you're going to have to speak to and ultimately, many ofthese decisions come down to a collective? Yes, so I want to remindyou, and maybe you can put in the show notes, Rachel, theconcept of the MMW that we've talked about before. So multithreaded. When wetalk about multithreaded, I want you to think about an m and a Wand. It's engaging all levels of the decision making process. It is engagingthe users. And if it's an M, think about just drawing an m ona piece of paper. You're starting in the lower left hand corner,you're going up to the top, you're coming back to the middle, you'regoing back up to the top, you're going back down. If you thinkabout the users at one level, if... think about the managers at anotherlevel and the executives at another level, you have to include in the decisionprocess. If you look at a decision process and it's single threaded, you'renot going to see an m or aww's the exact opposite of that. Itmeans you started at a higher level, you worked your way back down throughthe organization. You work your back way, back up, down and back upagain. Those are the most successful decision process kind of characteristics that wesee. Positives, outcomes, require capabilities and metrics and it's operationalized by amultithreaded conversation and point of view. So hold yourself accountable. Look Right nowat a critical opportunity that you have and look at your decision process. Idon't want to see that. You just say yes, I understand that.I want the evidence of an M Erw. Yeah, that MW cons up.We have a great blog on that. I've linked it up in the shownotes. It's about the title is how you're struggling, the metrics andthe sales conversation. So be sure to...

...check that out. And you knowwe always talk about even force management. We write a lot about getting higherin your in your prospect organizations, and that's important, but you have togo down to it's not it's about both the end and the w and toyou to your point, John. The thing that makes all of this easieras it relates to your decision process, getting multi threaded in your deal isto align to a business level issue and effectively align the required capabilities to yoursolution. That makes the decision process easier. Yes, I love how you justarticulated that. Always, when I'm looking at the decision process, it'salways it always gets illuminated when we first attach ourselves to the biggest business issue. So that's the first thing we always want to do. Attach yourself tothe biggest business issue facing the customer. If you're attached to a small businessissue, it doesn't mean that you don't have the right decision process. Youjust could have a decision process that's for...

...a small business issue. Small businessissue gets small attention, get small donors, get small power and influence attached toit. So always force yourself to think big. Attach yourself to thebiggest business issue. Next, get the customer to agree on their positi businessoutcomes, require capabilities and how they're going to measure success. You do thiswith users, managers and executives to ensure that you get to the collective.Yes, so now you understand your full value, they understand your full valueand the decision process becomes more of a an excited expectation of how quickly bothof you can get there. Yeah, excited expectation. Will leave it there. Thank you so much, John, for joining me for this conversation.My pleasure. All right, thank you to all of you for listening tothe audible ready podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations intoelite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver...

...programs that build company alignment and fuelrepeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy atthe point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is inour results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've beenlistening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe tothe show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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