How Pitney Bowes Sells to Multiple Decision Makers
Making a B2B sales means selling to multiple decision makers across the organization. This interview reveals how Pitney Bowes effectively uses this approach.
February 13, 2017
In the not-so-distant past, sales professionals who built a solid, trusting relationship with a decision maker meeting BANT criteria were calling upon a proven method for closing deals. But that one-relationship strategy is no longer effective in many sales situations. With the average B2B purchase now involving 6.8 decision makers – and people changing roles and companies more often than before – nurturing a single contact within a target account is simply ill advised. Such an approach actually puts sales professionals at a considerable disadvantage.
The right technique is to develop relationships with multiple stakeholders across the organization. To understand why it’s essential to embrace a multithreaded approach and ways to effectively do so, we interviewed Paul Lewis, Global Social Marketing Manager & Social Selling Lead of Software Solutions at Pitney Bowes.
LI: What challenges did Pitney Bowes face when sales reps primarily relied on single customer relationships?
PL: In 2014, the average tenure of an employee was 4.7 years. That number today has fallen to 4.3 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There was a time when you’d form a professional relationship with one individual at an organization and liaise directly with them. With people changing roles and companies more frequently, sales opportunities are now at risk.
At Pitney Bowes we’ve seen just that. It’s fundamental to form relationships with multiple stakeholders in a variety of different functions, [including] marketing, operations, IT, finance and customer service. One stakeholder may be focused specifically on price; another may be the end user of a solution. A one-size-fits-all sales approach doesn’t work.
LI: What developments encouraged Pitney Bowes to make a change?
PL: It’s now a case of ensuring we adopt a multithreaded approach to all our sales activities. We want to be sure that we’re having the right conversations with the right people across the roles and disciplines that matter. We need to ensure we engage with [these individuals] from the very beginning.
LI: Have any specific trends, such as account-based marketing and customer lifecycle marketing, changed the way you build these relationships?
PL: From an ABM perspective, adopting a multithreaded approach has opened up cross-selling opportunities. We may have an opportunity for our Personalized Interactive Video solution within the marketing organization of an insurance company. Identifying and engaging with the right individuals whose roles span across business units could lead to an additional opportunity to market the same solution within [another] area of the business.
LI: What tactics and best practices have you implemented internally to encourage sales to expand networks?
PL: Research individuals and companies in detail. We also check to see if there is anyone within Pitney Bowes that is connected to the individual. Spend a few minutes each morning looking at
Sales Navigator to see what’s happening within the organizations (or with the people) you’re targeting. Create a Google Alert on a particular subject, topic or company.
• After meeting a new business contact, always follow up on LinkedIn.
• Connect with people who comment on and like your LinkedIn posts.
• Connect with those who view your profile.
• Publish articles to help raise your profile.
• Check out the “people you may know” box for possible connections.
• Engage with members of a LinkedIn Group.
• Attending a conference? Connect with attendees, and try to set up an informal on-site meeting.
Global Social Marketing Manager & Social Selling Lead, Software Solutions |
Want more ways to make inroads with entire buying committees? Check out LinkedIn’s Definitive Guide to Selling to Multiple Decision Makers.