Sales Lead Generation: How to Communicate with User-Level Sponsors

Get up-to-speed on user-level sponsors and the insights they provide during the purchasing cycle. Then model your sales lead generation tactics to fit their needs.

March 1, 2015

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Selling into a buying committee usually requires focused attention on the C-Level executives who hold decision-making and financial power. However, while the executives might set the direction and budgets for purchase initiatives, the people who perform the day-to-day tasks will definitely have input at different stages of the buying cycle.

The people who perform the daily work are the user-level sponsors, and they have direct knowledge of what a solution must offer in order for them to successfully execute their job duties.  Learn to frame your sales lead generation tactics for their specific concerns and you will earn allies for future conversations with the buying committee.

The User-Level Sponsor

User-level sponsors are the individual contributors to a project, and they have the most direct insight to the existing pain points which brought about the search for a new solution.

Sales professionals can start their prospect research at the user-level to gain intimate knowledge of the problems that they can ultimately address. User-level sponsors provide a unique, tactical perspective that can supplement a larger strategic plan for the C-Level, and earning their support can have benefits for both parties.

The User-Level Sponsor’s Priorities

At the user-level, sponsors primarily focus on what they need to do their job better. While they likely won’t make the final decision, any diligent organization knows to take their feedback into account early and often. Focus on answering these questions at the user-level:

  • How will this solution help save time and effort? User-level sponsors need assurances that your solution will allow them to better manage their team - or workload - and become more efficient long-term.
  • How can I help sell this to my executives or supervisors? You don’t need to be the only one educating and selling. Empower the user-level sponsor for fight on your behalf by arming them with case studies, statistics and powerful talking points. Give them time to become comfortable with your solutions and they’ll become valuable allies in your presentation.
  • Where do I turn for support? The user-level employees are the people who operate your solutions on a daily basis, and they’ll be the first ones to call support if something goes wrong. Ensure that your support system is clear to them, and eliminate any concerns they may have regarding support post-purchase.

Once you understand these major areas of focus, you can frame your solutions to fit user-level sponsor expectations.

Communicating with User-Level Sponsors

User-level sponsors want to influence their bosses to solve problems, and ultimately make a case for the solution they like best. Aligning your sales tactics to address these factors can help you gain allies as you move through the sales process. Use these tactics to win over user-level sponsors:

  • Address the tactical elements. How much time will they save? How will it make their immediate job easier? You’re dealing directly with people who execute the work, so be similarly direct in explaining your benefits.
  • Let them be the heroes. At the user-level, sponsors want to build a business case for their executives. Even if you present the case to the C-Level, let the sponsor influence your discussions. This will give them a voice, and earn you a long-term ally for future projects.
  • Keep the conversations going. As you work up to the C-Level, don’t forget about the user-level people who opened the door. Continue to communicate with them throughout the selling process, and especially as they execute any implementations.

While the final decisions may be made at the C-Level, user-level sponsors can be an integral part of the buying committee. They perform the tasks that come from those decisions. Earning their trust can solidify a mutually-beneficial relationship and set the foundation as your next potential client.

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