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 Clap Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management, a growth play company. John Kaplan joins me for this podcast and today we're going to talk about dealing with multiple decisionmakers. Hey, Rachel, as always, it's a great pleasure to be with you. Thanks, John. So there's a lot of research out there that suggests there are more and more people at the table when it comes to making a buying decision. I know I've shared some of this research with you in the past and you've never been that surprise. I don't want to say that you rolled your eyes at me, but let's just say you haven't been surprised. Yeah, you know, I'm not surprised because I think this is always been the case in the complex sale. It would be a red flag for me. I would actually be worried if there was only 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 lot of people in the room is a bad thing. No, you know, I had the concept of multiple buyers. I think can actually absolutely work in your favor. It gives you more chances to understand what the biggest business issues are or or is for a specific...

...customer, and it gives you more opportunities to connect with it. At the same time, multiple buyers can work against you if you haven't done your own homework. That's a really good way to say it, if you haven't done your homework, because what can happen to you is is that you can work against you because you might be aligning your solution to too small of a problem, and yet there's other people in the process that might actually allow you to attach your solution to a bigger business problem. And then I like to think of this concept of uphill battle downhill battle. You know, the uphill battle is is when you attach yourself too low in an organization and you're constantly trying to push the rock uphill the the opposite 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 interesting point because a lot of us are familiar, I even write a lot, about calling too low an organization. Do you have an example of how maybe that downhill battle works? Yeah, so...

I remember vividly one time where I attached 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 higher in the organization. So I went high. There were multiple buyers involved. I went high and I only attached myself at the executive level and I'll never forget the specific advice that the executive gave to me. I was selling software at 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 do to a big business issue that we have. But, John, I'm not going to use your software. You have to go back and sell to the technical users. If they don't buy you, I'm going to ask them why they didn't buy you. But they are the ones that are going to have to raise their hand and say I can use this software to accomplish this business issue. I've never forgotten. So, uphill battle, downhill battle. But no matter how many decisionmakers are in your sales conversations, you need to create a common language that drives consistency in front...

...of the customer. You use the phrase 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 it really threads in nicely to this concept of attaching to the biggest business problem when you really think about it. I've I'm always thinking about three levels, the executive 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 those that 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 so there's common threads of value for each one of these levels. So when we're talking about value currency, those common levels of value. What is the currency? Yeah, so sorry, price told answer that the last question. But the currency, the specific currency, is positive. Are the positive business outcomes, the required capabilities in the metrics,...

...and the positive business outcomes are the business 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 the metrics are how they will measure success. And so at each one of these levels, 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 three takeaways 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 you and the customer focused. And what I...

...really love about it in its simplest form, it is really an unbelievable intersection of where business and technical capabilities come together. When you really think about a positive business outcomes and require capabilities typically need multiple buyers in a process, one to be more focused on the business aspects and one to be focused on at least one in each of these areas to be focused on the technical capabilities. What I love about the mantra is it'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 when there's a discrepancy on what is important to each buyer. What do I do in that happens, and do you have a question or a technique that you use to kind of work through that discrepancy? I think anytime there's a discrepancy there's a great opportunity for you to gather information and that and keep in mind the discrepancy gets created because you've presented something...'ve heard in the account and so it's just adding value constantly to the customer. But let's keep it in simple terms here. Just repeat the positive business outcomes require capabilities in metrics in each conversation that you have and look for validation clarification. Always learn something new and powerful 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 early in the sales process than it is way late in the game. And if you're validating that, you're going to be able to determine that discrepancy earlier in the sales process. No doubt, no doubt. Great. So, John. What's the bottom line when dealing with multiple decisionmakers? I think the bottom 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 all buyers, 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 for listening. We've received some great feedback from you on these podcasts. Keep your ideas coming. Find us on twitter, on Linkedin, as well as our parent company, growth play.

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