In an ideal world, salespeople can discover what stakeholders are looking to achieve, skipping bureaucratic barriers. Talking directly to decision-makers, understand what they need and come back with a proposal would shorten the sales cycle. But that isn’t reality.
Instead, we’re seeing an increase of inbound hand-raisers researching a service instead of someone with the immediate buying decision. How do we add value to the person we’re talking to while getting access to the actual decision-makers?
We’ll explore what we can do to put the odds in our favor when selling to influencers and hand-raisers. Having a champion who’s on your side, helping to sell on your behalf helps you gain access to that economic buyer. Here’s how you can create sales advocates:
1) Know your point of contact
The first person you talk to is your opening to find the decision-maker. Not only do you have to understand what’s important to them individually and to the business, but you must make them an advocate for you. Understand what makes them credible to influence the decision, and what the decision-making process and criteria are. From there, determine if they are the right person to invest time with, the goal being to move your sales cycle forward.
When you take the time to understand the person you’re talking to, you can tailor a solution to their specific needs, which will appeal to them. Solution and value selling will help create sales advocates within the organization you are prospecting.
2) Look at the solution from your point of contact’s perspective
Understand what’s important to your main point of contact from a business sense, and personal sense. Find out what they are looking to achieve at this company. Are they looking for a promotion? Are they looking for exposure? Does the company have the initiative to streamline vendors or processes? If so, how would your product or service aid in that company-wide initiative or focus? How can you help them shine and meet their goals within that company?
When you successfully establish a relationship with a customer or prospect and understand what’s important to them, you’ll genuinely care if you’re helping them. Not only are you helping the company, you’re also helping this individual.
3) Coach them on selling internally on your behalf
Once you’ve found your champion and know that they’re rooting for the partnership, it will be beneficial to coach them on how to demonstrate the solution you’re offering to the core stakeholders. Focus on the problem your product or service is solving and how it will impact the business in a positive manner.
Have an open dialogue and talk about what’s worked for you and how they can successfully position your product or service for their organization. Offer and ask to join them in conversations they plan to have and make sure to remain an active participant in the cycle.