How to Combat Decision-Maker Churn at Your Target Accounts

Decision makers come and go from companies faster than ever before. A web of connections within target accounts can protect you from these inevitabilities.

April 3, 2017

  • Close-up of Spider Web

Like it or not, decision makers come and go from your target accounts, even while the buying process is underway. The key to surviving these unexpected changes often comes down to the work you did leading up to the change. Did you put yourself in a strong enough position to still close the deal? That’s where multi-threaded relationships come into play.

The Buying Committee Is Splintering

Here’s your reality: You sell to multiple decision makers but the amount of time they stay in their roles is decreasing:

  • One in five decision makers that are director-level and above are turning over every year
  • Average tenure for the executive-level team is two-and-a-half years
  • average-tenure-of-executives

When you’re trying to drive consensus among of a committee of decision makers, these trends can cause headaches. Even worse, they introduce the possibility that your deal will fall apart.

Call Upon Your Web of Connections

As a sales professional, you can call upon the concept of creating strong relationship webs to reduce these headaches and risks.

Think about a spider web. They look incredibly fragile but are actually constructed to withstand a failure or disturbance. First, these webs are built to send signals when something has gotten stuck in the web (think a trigger event). Second, they are designed in a way that ensures a failure in one area won’t take down the entire web.

This is similar to the design of the Internet, which is a network of networks. When one network – or part of a network – within this web of networks experiences slowdowns or goes offline, the overall Internet is able to route around those problems to continue functioning. Both spider webs and the Internet are perfect examples of how multiple connections can help seemingly fragile relationships sustain what would appear to be a devastating blow.

Go Multi-Threaded

You know key players will eventually leave most of your target accounts, so why not build “redundancies” by strengthening your network around them? With social selling, you have access to a web of connections that includes not only the people you know directly, but all the people they know and so on. LinkedIn gives you the ability to tap into a vast ecosystem of decision makers, all of whom can be traced directly back to your core professional circle.

We call this the multi-threaded approach, and you can bolster your position within a target account by strengthening this web of relationships. Get it right and you can convert transience and decision-maker churn from a challenge to an opportunity. Here’s an example of using social networking to create stronger bonds – ones that will absorb shock and outlive change.

Assume you are targeting an account and need to get your foot in the door. In the not-too-distant past, you might have worked hard to find and connect with the key decision maker. You likely would have spent significant time and effort building up a relationship with that person. If she had left the company, you would have had to start the entire process over again.

With social selling and networking, this single-threaded approach becomes a thing of the past. Calling upon advanced search on LinkedIn, you can identify the crucial decision makers at the account. Within LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you might discover that a few of your colleagues are already connected to these decision makers. The TeamLink feature even lets you find out specifically how you are connected to a contact. Through your own LinkedIn network, you even see that a former classmate is also connected to one of these decision makers. You leverage all these resources for warm introductions into the account. As a bonus, whenever you make a connection through the search engine, the LinkedIn algorithm will suggest five new people you should meet for lead recommendations.

Multi-Threading Means More Opportunities in General

Assuming you’re taking advantage of the multi-threading tips above, now you can nurture and strengthen all of these relationships and, if one of these contacts leaves the company, you’ve still got a web of connections there. Even better, because you established a relationship with the person who left, you can “follow” them to their new company and pursue a deal there. 

A web of connections gives you a firm foundation for keeping existing deals moving forward and even turning decision-maker churn into new opportunities. Simply put, a multi-threaded approach helps ensure you don’t leave your deals to chance and your future hanging by a thread.

To understand more about the value of a multi-threaded approach and how it works, check out our eBook, Hanging By a Thread.