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

Episode 51 · 8 months ago

Shifting to Bigger Sales & More Decision Makers w/ John Kaplan


Making the shift from selling smaller deals to enterprise solutions that require multiple decision-makers is a common career progression path. This change may require you to change your selling approach. John Kaplan talks through specific things you want to pay attention to if you’re making this shift in your career. He covers:

- How to identify economic buyers in a complex account and leverage them to progress your deals faster and at a higher value

- A successful process for working with an economic buyer early on in the deal and during the deal to capture information that leads to better outcomes

- How to keep economic buyers engaged after the deal closes to open up new opportunities for cross-sells, up-sells, and proof points

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

Here are some additional resources on shifting to bigger sales

- Lessons from a Sales Veteran Podcast

- Champions vs Coaches Podcast

- Why Your Sales Reps Struggle with Metrics (The “M” and “W” blog)

Economic buyers are concerned with thetop and bottom line impact of the organization they care about threequestions: How much, how soon, how sure? So, when you're communicating to them,you have to make sure that that is in your language, you're, listening to the audible, ready,podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster willfeature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a salesengine that helps you feel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team Fforce management, a leader in btob sales affectim. This, let's get started hello. Welcome to the OTDOBALREADYpodcast, I'm Rachel Clatmiller with force management. John Capl Enjois metoday, Hi John, Hey, Rachel, so John. Today we are going to talk through alistener generated topic. I know you get messages on linked an I get. I getthem as well. This person reached out to me because he had transistent into amore strategic rawl and instead of selling to one decision maker or maybetwo, he is now selling solutions that might have ten decision makers orinfluencers as part of his deal, and this situation can be a bit of anooverwhelming shift when you first get started yeah. I think this is a greattopic, because it's it's very common today to have what you know. We callmultiple buyers, an account, especially if you're selling a you know anenterprise solution, yeah and there's a lot to be done as itrelates to accountplanning destermining the strategic approach to these biggeraccounts and we're not going to get into all of all of that here we have todo a audio documentary, not just a short podcast, but at some point youneed to as a salesperson show up and have the right conversation. So, let'sstart by talking a little bit about looking at that sales conversation.What remains the same here and how you may need to adjust your approach and...

John. I think one of the biggestadjustments may be just simply. Your patience in moving a deal forward thatnew rhythm you got to get used to yeah th. The first thing that comes tomy mind on stays the same. As you know, selling is selling with a pointsolution or an enterprise solution, but you need to spend time doing discoverywith key influencers with multiple buyers, or you know, an enterprisesolution that it's going to be several meetings or several conversations, and-and I like your talking about patients, because it makes me think about thatbrave heart movie and Mel Gipson, when you have multiple buyers or multipleinfluencers you have to just like. He says in that one scene. When the youknow the British army is coming on those horses and he's yellinghold hold. You got to be patient because you're you're building a greatstory, so you want to make sure you're building a case for a solution, findingthe pain that makes it a real opportunity for the enterprise, notjust a part of the enterprise yeah. And when you talk about finding that pain,it's important to remember that these influencers of hidecision makers mayprovide you with different viewpoints about that pain. All that might beimportant, right and and those critical components of the deal that we alwaystalk about, required capabilities, positive business oucomes and met andmet triks. They have different viewpoints on nose as well, so John,what are your best practices for working through those conversations, soyou're really building out that story among many people in the account yeah?So, first of all, you have to know and understand the value story for yoursolution. What problems do you solve with your solution? Who owns thoseproblems and an account and whate are the negative consequences of thoseproblems? How do you solve them? How do... solve them differently or betterthan anybody else, and where have you done it before, if you're a CSWEETexecutive? Listening to this podcast? You owe this story to your sellers and,if you're a seller listening this podcast, you owe it to your company,your customers and yourself to execute this story. So once we get that story down, weautomatically understand who is involved in the story and what theycare about. Now, we're ready to go, seek them out yeah, and I would think, as you'rehaving these conversations, there's an art to getting the person to want, introduce you to those otherplayers in the account and then to share information with your. Maybe Ishould reverse that to getting people to share information with you and thenintroducing you to other people. My guess is part of that. Art is to reallyapproach every conversation as its own to treat every influencer as if theyhave their own opinion on those questions y. You just spoke about andthe problem that you're trying to solve until you find some sort of a what weheard consensus yeah. So you know in that enerprise you're piecing the storytogether. So the good news is, you already have a hypothesis of what thatstory might be for your prospect. Now you have to go and validate it andcustomize it for that prospect's actual story. So your job is to get eachdecision maker influencer. To articulate to you three things:positive business outcomes that they're trying to achieve the technical requirecapabilities. They believe it will take to achieve these positive businessoutcomes and remember you're, not just taking notes for these requiredcapabilities, you're influencing them with discovery, questions thatultimately highlight your differentiators and then lastly, yourunderstanding and influencing how they will measure success, so you're goingto do this with every key decisionmaker involved in the process. You know theprocess for acquiring your solution and...

...every new meeting becomes like a recapand for command of the message. Customers. You heard US talk about theMontra, so you're going to recap in a way that hey my understanding is these:Are the positive business outcomes you're trying to achieve from my lastconversation that I had they talked about these required capabilities andthey said that you were going to measure success this way and thenyou're going to talk about. How is that different for yourorganization? Can you tell me, do you agree with these? Are there any changes?Are there any things that you'd like me to update on this, because what you'redoing is you're building that for your solution for the enterprise? So it'sgoing to be a conglomerate of all these conversations into positive businessoutcomes require capabilities in Mattrick and it just becomes a greatcommon language to pick up from wherever you left off to whereveryou're going inside of the account yeah and one thing too, as you're talking, it reminds me ofthat recent podcast. We did with our colleague, Frank Azaleno, who is reallygood at working through many decision makers and inside in an account and oneof the things the tips he offered was as you do. Your meetings only have simpone objective, maybe to a simple objective. So for those conversationsyou're not really getting overwhelmed at the ten people, you need to talk toand build out this story. If you just take it one step at a time. This is myconversation. My objective of this conversation is this, and this is thenext step I'm going to push to and as long as you're clear about that, youbegin to develop those little nuggets or that Montra that conversationbecomes to be really really fruitful, because you're not trying to do so muchwith every individual conversation yeah like that. If it just reminds me of thethree pes you know the purpose process and payoff so and you can even do thethree piecs for yourself. So the purpose of my call is and you're doingself talk here for the purpose of my meeting and the purpose of my call, youknow the process that I'm going to use..., you know, discovery and gaininginformation around positives, thatcomes to quire capabilities or metrics, andthe benefit to me is staying focused, aligning myself to the biggest businessissues facing this customer making sure they understand that I care more aboutmaking obvious than I'm trying to find out more about them than earning theright to make it all about me, and it just helps. You stay really reallyfocused. I think that's great advice by Frank. Yeah and I' be sure to link thatpodcast in the shownotes, for those I't listened to that. Yet so, even with theslew of people giving you information about the CCOUNT as you build up thatMonto, those required capabilities, pbos metrics, you want to do the worknecessary to identify those keyp people among that group. Right thinking aboutthose medic terms: economic buyers, champions, coaches, those people aregoing to be critical when you're selling to a complex account, yeah, MEAmedick will be the gift that keeps on giving to you so whether it's a pointsolution or an enterprise, it's really really a sound frame. Work for thisconversation we're having. So, let's take a look at the economic buyer, soeven in a team of people you're maneuvering through there will likelybe someone who's, an economic buyer. You need to identify an Aligne withthat person. So let's remember a definition for the economic ire. Let'sjust get the square on that first, so they have influence as it relates tothis business issue, power and authority in the organization they haveveto power, which means they can say. Yes, when others thay know, and theycan say no an other say yes, they've got direct access to money anddiscretionary use of fun. So this is the person that is most likely going tohave the most significant impact on the... for you and because they own theproblem that you're trying to solve or your solution is set up to solve. Sowhenever ihave trouble identifying the economic buierts typically because I'mdealing with a technical buyer or a budget holder who is masquerading asthe economic buyer, so economic buyers are concerned with thetop and bottom line impact of the organization they care about threequestions: How much, how soon, how sure so, when you're communicatedg to them,you have to make sure that that is in your language, how much? How soon, howsure economic byers appreciate the time value of money so once they areconvinced that your solution is the best option for resolving theirpainpoints and achieving their business objectives. Your deal is going toaccelerate it's going to get on a fast track, and so again the economic buyerhas the single greatest impact to you and your deal or it's certainly asignificant impact. So that's why gaining and maintaining access to theeconomic buyers, one of the greatest accelerators of your sales cycle- andyou know one of the greatest predictors of your forecast accuracy. It's acritical, critical concept, yeah and the point here, John, when you're, whenyou have a team of people to manuver through, like the gentleman that gaveus this idea. The point he is is a faster you get to the economic buyer,the better yeah I mean for me when I think about access to the economicbuyer. It's really in three stages, so many people think of access to theeconomic buyer as an event I like to think of it as a process, and I justtell myself, there's really three points of engagement with an economicbuyer early during and after so I go to them early, and I ask for advice. Itried to attach myself to a big business issue facing the customers toyou know, make it make myself relevant. I give them the impression that we mayhave a solution, because I have proof...

...points. I have a reason to be speakingto them. What I'm trying to do when I get to them earlies to get a hall pass,is to get you know, specific direction for them and then go down in theirorganization. You've heard me talk about Rachel M nw, and maybe we canlink that into the show nights as well, because I think that's a criticalconcept, but so I like to get a hall pass and then go back into theorganization and ask for the ability to come back. You'll hear me say often,I'm not sure if I have a solution for you, but if I do will allow me to comeback and I've, never I'm fifty seven years old today, in my thirty plusyears of selling or whathave you I've never had an economic fier say no, noyou're, not welcome back. So then, I like to go to the economic buyer duringthe sales campaign to get clarity on things. Like I'm hearing these positivebusiness outcomes, there could be some discrepancies in the requirecapabilities from the different organizations that happens all the time.There are differences in one department's opinion versus another. Ilike to go to the economic buyer and ask for advice to break a tie or howthings are going to be measured, because the economic buyer needs toknow. If there's discrepancies in that, if people aren't articulating in aconsistent way how they're going to measure success- and I also like to dothat during the campaign to keep them engaged and keep them involved, andthen I love to go to them after the deal to keep them apprized at theperformance and enjoy telling the story or reminding them about the story ofit's just the mantra. So you told me that these were the positive business.Tout comes that you are trying to achieve your organization articulatedthese technical requirements. They said that they were going to measure successthis way. Let me tell you about what we've done together with your team, sohere's what we did, here's, how it's different or better than anything else,they've tried to do or what was out...

...there before and here's what happenedto those metrics. There now proof points for us. I love that meetingbecause now we're going back and we get to finish the story. So again, it's notan event. It's a process focus on early during and after and I think you'llhave great outcomes. Yeah, that's a great way to think about it, and youmentioned that Emman w scenario for those of who aren't familiar with it:The MNHE WIS going starting low and going up going back low, going up or wstarting high and going down. Then then going back up, which John Talke,through I'm going to link that resource in the show notes as well. It's goingto be a robust show note, so you better click on it. Yes, I would you know, th.We talked about early identification of the Economic Buyar, also important withthose champions and a coaches, as they might not be that and I'm my buyers, aneffect often aren't so identifying them early, will help you as well yeah. Thisis a fundamental skill that people really really struggle with, and Ican't tell you how many people tell me that they're champion and theireconomic buyer the same person- please listen to my statement here. In myexperience, this is rarely true and virtually impossible in an enterprisesale. First of all, when I dig in most champions are not really championstheir coaches because they lack power and influence, but that's a wholenother podcast. We don't have time to get into ther right now, Rachel, so sowhat I love to do with my champions, obviously after ive validated that theyare actually champions, is to walk through the decision process. I startwith the end in mine and work backwards. You know, I call this a reversetimeline and my favorite question is and then what happens and then whathappens and then what happens? Someone often the economic buyer will pop up inthe exercise as someone the champion has not mentioned before, and then theyplay it off as when I ask questions...

...about it, they play it off as if it'sOh, that's, just a rubber stamp approval. So whenever you hear thatthat's just a rubber stamp approval, as Jeff foxworthy would say, theire's yoursign. Yes, yes, there's your sign and ofcourse we have tons of content and champions versus coaches. That contentis continues to be some of our most popular. I know people revisit it a lotbecause there's good reminders. Those will be in the show, show notes. John.As you said, this is a big topic and we can't really do it. Justice, ind, justa short podcast but you've given us some great things to think about. Ifyou're, in that situation, where you're making the shift to a one decision,maker, quick sale to deals with a lot of influencers that are more complex.What's the one thing are few things you want people to remember as they come to the end of this podcast andwhen they're selling these more complicated deals yeah, so you knowmore and more. Customers are expecting enterprise value, so solutions anddecision processes are getting more complex and therefore you really haveto be on your game. So companies have to be great. So ifyou're seller really encourage your company to begreat at this, if you're a seller, you got to be greatat executing. What I'm about to say. So you've got to be great at defining whatproblems your solution solve and for whom. How specifically you solve thoseproblems, how you do it differently or better and where you've done it beforein in a complex sale, you have to understand what those answers are foreach decisionmaker influencer in the process and if you're a seller, youneed to own the execution of this story. So I can't emphasize this enoughsellers. You can't do without your company, giving you the answers. Thesefour CENCHA questions companies. You can't do it unless you provide theanswers to the those four centof questions to your sellers and sellers.You got to own it, so the next thing... got to do is you got to attachyourself to the biggest business issue, facing your prospect and then followthe money. When you follow the money, you find the people with power andinfluence, and when you find the people with power and influence, you will bewell on your way to Findin the economic fier and when you get there piece, thestory together from each of the influencers focus on positive businessoutcomes, require capabilities and metrics, and they will lead you tosuccess. Lead you to success. Thank you. So much done that's a great great wayto wrap it up. My pleasure all right. Thank you be sure to check out thoseshow notes. I don't lie it's great content down there and thank you forlistening to the audible, ready, podcast at force management. We'refocused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams, areproven methodologies, deliver programs that build company alignment and fuelrepeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the grossstrategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proofis in our results. Let's get started visit us at force. Managementcom you'vebeen listening to the audible, ready podcast to not miss an episodesubscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (133)