The Number Of Sales Decision-Makers Is Growing: Is It Time To Adapt Your Lead Nurturing Approach?
Lead nurturing best practices used to dictate that you identify the lead decision-maker at a company and strategically target that person. After the latest economic downturn, however, the game has changed.
According to a 2013 Sales Performance Optimization study, referenced by CSO Insights, the average deal’s purchasing decisions involved 4.5 stakeholders. As the CSO Insights blog states, “Assuming each of these individuals has an ‘influencer’ they turn to for advice, sales reps could easily need to effectively connect with nine people to get to ‘yes.’”
Not only are there a greater number of decision-makers and influencers, but users – of a software platform, for instance – are also being looped into the discussion.
The trend – and the revealing statistic – affects the sales process in a number of ways.
- With more decision-makers, a greater number of sales conversations are taking place for each potential deal.
- The sales process is more complex. There’s a much greater need for collaboration with the number of stakeholders involved in the discussions that your prospects wish to have.
- Considering the above points, the sales cycle is lengthening and deal velocity is decreasing. You have to put in more time to close the average deal.
The CSO Insights blog offers an example of selling CRM software. The support of the CSO is vital, as this person must know how the solution increases sales rep efficiency and effectiveness. At the same time, the CIO is focused on the technology platform the solution is built on.
“Very often we see the CMO wanting to know how the CRM system will integrate with the lead management system marketing is using,” the blog states. “Then there is the CFO, guardian of the corporate purse-strings, who is focused on the ROI of this investment.”
How do you approach lead nurturing and the overall sales process in today’s environment? Take the time to understand the different players involved in your sales discussions and cater to each of them individually. This is certainly true within sales conversations, but also in terms of nurturing the prospect. The type of sales asset you provide should change based on their role.
An asset chock full of numbers and data resonates with the CFO. Users generally appreciate videos and similar multimedia. And case studies are great tools to provide when working with executives.
The other roles you must identify are your supporters and detractors. This knowledge allows you to be as strategic as possible in swaying a stakeholder advocating against your solution.
Along those same lines, coordinating the different stakeholders into the same discussions allows you the opportunity to observe the interactions between them. Take note of who seems to be influencing whom and which person seems to be the ultimate decision-maker. But remember, getting the support of the key influencer(s) is as important as selling to the decision-maker.
The foundation of these selling elements and the key to successful lead nurturing is your ability to build consensus. Without it, your prospect is never going to feel comfortable choosing your solution to help solve their problems.
The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): With the rise in the number of stakeholders per deal to 4.5, you need to strategize your lead nurturing efforts more than ever and coordinate your prospects’ role players. Take the time to understand the roles, identify the key influencers and build a consensus.
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