I can almost hear you now thinking to yourself, “yeah, what does a marketing guy know about sales? What’s he ever sold in his life to know what he’s talking about.” Well, I actually worked for over 15 years in consultative sales before becoming a lead generation guru. That eventually morphed into a career in writing marketing copy. So, yes, I have been there in the trenches and on the firing line. Just like yourself.
One of the hardest parts about sales is getting a buy in from the multiple stakeholders involved in the process. And of course you never know who all them are. Each of these stakeholders have different priorities, goals, perspectives and varying levels of knowledge. Naturally, all these people will need to agree in order for a sale to be made. Talk about complex group dynamics!
So, I would think to myself “who can I get to help me convince each of them that mine is the path they want to be on.” Usually there were three options:
The Champion: This is the person who probably set up and organized the presentation. They seem like if it were up to them, they would have bought it last week. Since everyone in the group knows that The Champion is in favor of buying it, his credibility is biased.
The Team: This is an exhaustive process, like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. You take on everyone at once trying to dazzle them with your brilliance and baffle them with YOUR “bull”. Addressing all their questions en masse is a grueling task. Each may agree on aspects, but do they agree for different reasons. This is quite different than achieving a collective yes.
The Skeptic: They keep a distance, with a sales cynic demeanor. They push back, asking all of the difficult questions. Playing devil’s advocate is their favorite game. You may emerge feeling like you just ran the gauntlet. This is the person with the credibility to rally the troops around the deal! They don’t care about bells and whistles. They are focused on the bigger picture, valuing new ideas and directions for the business to move in.
Building a Consensus
Once your converted skeptic is on board, you will need to help him build a consensus with the team. Preparing our convert for the obstacles of internal challenges is paramount in this process. Provide them with questions to expect and the information to overcome those objections. Marketing can help by providing content such as buying guides, diagnostics, and cost of inaction calculators.
I hope that this helps you to better plan your strategy for meetings with customers. Also to help target the right person to focus your presentation on. We would like to hear what works for you and your organization, and any questions you may have. Please leave your comments below.