Covering the buying cycle – don’t just sell strategically

It is more complex than ever for B2B salespeople to gain agreement and uncover all appropriate decision makers. Finding all the key stakeholders is imperative or deals could be at risk as you give up control that you should have over the deal. 

Previous research has found that the average number of stakeholders involved in a B2B purchasing decision in 2016 was 6.8, this number has now increased to 8.2 contacts per company. Are you finding all of those stakeholders in every deal? Finding all the stakeholders is key in preventing and overcoming blocks early on in the sales cycle. 

At Clarify, our 3-box model ensures that we identity the strategic, operational and tactical decision makers in every sales cycle. Whilst, engaging strategic decision makers is key in getting a deal across the line, research has shown that a deal is 36% more likely to result in a win if individuals at an operational level are engaged within the buying cycle. 

Making up the numbers

If a purchasing decision requires 6.8 stakeholders, not all of these can be strategic. As a result, engaging operational will increase your win-rate by building buying consensus across the business. Relying on one or two contacts leaves you in a vulnerable state if one of your contacts moves on. The recent article published on LinkedIn highlights that the average time people stay in a tech sales role is between 1.5 to 2 years, with a long sales cycle there is a high risk one of your key stakeholders may move on during that time. 

Need operational level to drive

Engaging a strategic stakeholder offers higher value but gaining support at an operational level is important in substantiating the need for the purchase. A COO may be very interested in a proposal but doesn’t want to undermine their people. Demonstration of the need at an operational level means the stakeholder has assurance that the purchase is warranted and supported by the team for the wider business goal. 

Do not ignore the average number of people it requires to win a deal or the inevitable churn of staff being seen in the industry. It could be detrimental to look past individuals at operational level who are able to influence decision makers. As a result, best practice should be engaging at all levels to reduce risk and increase win rate. 

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