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

Episode · 6 years ago

Multiple Decision Makers


John Kaplan covers best practices for articulating value and differentiation with multiple buyers in a sales opportunity.

Hello, my name is Rachel ClapMiller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management, a growth playcompany. John Kaplan joins me for this podcast and today we're going to talkabout dealing with multiple decisionmakers. Hey, Rachel, as always, it's agreat pleasure to be with you. Thanks, John. So there's a lot ofresearch out there that suggests there are more and more people at the tablewhen it comes to making a buying decision. I know I've shared some of thisresearch with you in the past and you've never been that surprise. Idon't want to say that you rolled your eyes at me, but let's justsay you haven't been surprised. Yeah, you know, I'm not surprised becauseI think this is always been the case in the complex sale. It wouldbe a red flag for me. I would actually be worried if there wasonly one buyer in the sales process. That brings me to my next point, that if you're selling into an account, you shouldn't necessarily think that a lotof people in the room is a bad thing. No, you know, I had the concept of multiple buyers. I think can actually absolutely work inyour favor. It gives you more chances to understand what the biggest businessissues are or or is for a specific...

...customer, and it gives you moreopportunities to connect with it. At the same time, multiple buyers can workagainst you if you haven't done your own homework. That's a really good wayto say it, if you haven't done your homework, because what can happento you is is that you can work against you because you might be aligningyour solution to too small of a problem, and yet there's other people in theprocess that might actually allow you to attach your solution to a bigger businessproblem. And then I like to think of this concept of uphill battle downhillbattle. You know, the uphill battle is is when you attach yourself toolow in an organization and you're constantly trying to push the rock uphill the theopposite can be true when you attach yourself only too high in an organization,you actually might struggle to go back down in the organization. That's an interestingpoint because a lot of us are familiar, I even write a lot, aboutcalling too low an organization. Do you have an example of how maybethat downhill battle works? Yeah, so...

I remember vividly one time where Iattached myself high in an organization. I was feeling fantastic about getting up high. You know, my managers were always telling me you got to get higherin the organization. So I went high. There were multiple buyers involved. Iwent high and I only attached myself at the executive level and I'll neverforget the specific advice that the executive gave to me. I was selling softwareat the time and he said, John, you've done such a great job,you know, explaining to me your solution and aligning your what you doto a big business issue that we have. But, John, I'm not goingto use your software. You have to go back and sell to thetechnical users. If they don't buy you, I'm going to ask them why theydidn't buy you. But they are the ones that are going to haveto raise their hand and say I can use this software to accomplish this businessissue. I've never forgotten. So, uphill battle, downhill battle. Butno matter how many decisionmakers are in your sales conversations, you need to createa common language that drives consistency in front...

...of the customer. You use thephrase value currency when you talk about this. Explain what you mean by this?Yeah, I like this concept of value currency because I think it itreally threads in nicely to this concept of attaching to the biggest business problem whenyou really think about it. I've I'm always thinking about three levels, theexecutive level, the management level and then the user of the technical user level. You know, and I'm always a cognisant of you get delegated to thosethat you sound like. So if you believe your solutions are customer centric,and then they should offer value at each one of the levels. And sothere's common threads of value for each one of these levels. So when we'retalking about value currency, those common levels of value. What is the currency? Yeah, so sorry, price told answer that the last question. Butthe currency, the specific currency, is positive. Are the positive business outcomes, the required capabilities in the metrics,...

...and the positive business outcomes are thebusiness outcomes that the customers looking for as a result of you solving the problem, and the required capabilities are what's technically required to solve it, and themetrics are how they will measure success. And so at each one of theselevels, this value currency around these three takeaways constantly. These three takeaways,positive business outcomes, require capabilities and metrics are the common takeaways that each buyer. Those three words again, positive business outcomes, required capabilities and metrics.We use them a lot. I'm not going to call them the Holy Trinity, but they're pretty good trinity. So when you're moving through multiple decisionmakers,I'm using these with each buyer. I'd like you to think about those threetakeaways or those the you know, the the trinity of those three positiveness outcomes, require capabilities and metrics. Think of these as the platform to keep youand the customer focused. And what I...

...really love about it in its simplestform, it is really an unbelievable intersection of where business and technical capabilities cometogether. When you really think about a positive business outcomes and require capabilities typicallyneed multiple buyers in a process, one to be more focused on the businessaspects and one to be focused on at least one in each of these areasto be focused on the technical capabilities. What I love about the mantra isit's a great intersection of where business and technology, or technical capabilities come together. So if I'm validating these with each buyer ats there might be times whenthere's a discrepancy on what is important to each buyer. What do I doin that happens, and do you have a question or a technique that youuse to kind of work through that discrepancy? I think anytime there's a discrepancy there'sa great opportunity for you to gather information and that and keep in mindthe discrepancy gets created because you've presented something...'ve heard in the account and soit's just adding value constantly to the customer. But let's keep it in simple termshere. Just repeat the positive business outcomes require capabilities in metrics in eachconversation that you have and look for validation clarification. Always learn something new andpowerful at each level at each conversation when I'm looking to validate it every time. If you if you hear a discrepancy, it's much better to know it earlyin the sales process than it is way late in the game. Andif you're validating that, you're going to be able to determine that discrepancy earlierin the sales process. No doubt, no doubt. Great. So,John. What's the bottom line when dealing with multiple decisionmakers? I think thebottom line is always assume multiple buyers attach yourself to the biggest business issue,use positive business outcomes, required capabilities and metrics to create value currency with allbuyers, and have a blast at the same time while you're doing it.Great bottom line. Thank you, John.

Thank you to all of you forlistening. We've received some great feedback from you on these podcasts. Keepyour ideas coming. Find us on twitter, on Linkedin, as well as ourparent company, growth play.

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