This Week’s Big Deal: Selling to Larger Buying Committees
June 3, 2019
Here’s a scenario I’m guessing most B2B salespeople can (painfully) relate to: You’ve done everything right. You identified a key contact at a targeted account, reached out with value, developed a relationship, and persuasively made a case for your solution. They’re on board. You’re ready to close the deal.
One problem though: another member of the buying committee was busy doing her own research, and she has formulated her own preference. “Sorry,” your contact laments, “she has the higher authority.” The company chooses to go with a competitor instead. All of your hard work, out the window.
The expansion of buying committees is one of the most prominent B2B sales trends. Winning buy-in from multiple decision makers was recently ranked by ContactMonkey as one of the three toughest challenges for the modern B2B salesperson. Large enterprises sometimes have a dozen or more people with significant influence on purchases.
Needless to say, this is a big deal. Luckily, there were a few enlightening articles around the web last week offering useful guidance on this front. So we’ve combined some of the best insights we found, along with a few tips of our own, to help you and your team optimize for the era of extended buying committees.
5 Keys for Effectively Swaying a Large Buying Committee
Map Out Committees Early On
It’s often impossible for an outsider to gain a clear picture of an organization’s internal structure and personnel layout, but we’re better equipped to map it out than ever before. One simple first step is to pull up a list of the company’s employees on LinkedIn and seek out job titles that are commonly involved with researching vendors or choosing solutions.
If you’ve already developed a solid relationship with one contact at a company, you might consider asking them outright about additional key players. (“Is there anyone else on your team I should be chatting with about this? Would you mind introducing me?”)
“Realize that in any group, some people’s opinions matter more than others,” writes Rieva Lesonsky of GrowBiz Media at Forbes. “Using social media, online research, and real-world connections, dig up as much inside information as you can about the people involved in the buying process.”
Work with Marketing to Build and Shape Brand Awareness
One pitfall that can disrupt a unified front in the buying committee is when one member takes a liking to your solution, but another has never heard of your company. You can mitigate this risk by collaborating with your marketing colleagues on strategic brand awareness efforts. The set of tools available through LinkedIn makes it easy to target your ads toward particular accounts, titles, or seniority levels.
And remember, it’s not just awareness that matters, but perception.Ads and content need to portray your brand in the right way — the same way you’re trying to sell it. So it’s crucial that the sales team take an interest in helping to create marketing messaging.
“A B2B purchase is an emotional and impactful decision,” LinkedIn’s Bian Salins told Econsultancy in a piece published last week. “Understand your audience’s mindset within the buyer’s experience and take people on a journey they identify with; they don’t just buy into your product, but buy into your brand promise which is fundamental to effective marketing.”
Keep Track of Movement within Accounts
Buying committees aren’t static. People enter, leave, change roles. This is why we consider multithreading (connecting with numerous people at an account) to be so critical, and why the ability to save accounts and leads in Sales Navigator is such an integral feature.
When you do so, you’ll receive sales updates that keep you posted on job changes and other important developments with your prospects. This enables you to react quickly and make sure you’re not losing touch with a committee without even realizing it.
Make Content Easy to Share
Ideally, the compelling content you share with your contacts on a buying committee will be shared with other members. Take steps to facilitate this outcome by ensuring your documents, videos, links, and pricing sheets are easy to pass along. PointDrive is custom-built for this purpose, making it so recipients can share a URL (leading to a customized sales presentation page) rather than forwarding cumbersome email attachments.
As an additional benefit, using PointDrive (a feature available in Team and Enterprise Sales Navigator accounts) assists with the first objective we covered: mapping out the buying committee. That’s because, as the creator and sender of a presentation, you can actually track who it’s forwarded to, and who views it. This is a great way to uncover potentially hidden purchase influencers.
Collaborate and Coordinate with Your Teammates
We talked last week about how sales teams can gain an edge by focusing on the customer experience. At Econsultancy, Lynette Saunders notes the clear benefits, pointing out that “Improving the customer journey experience from average to ‘wow’ can lead to a 30 to 50% increase in KPIs such as likelihood to remain/renew or to purchase another product.”
“The priority for companies,” she adds, “is to make the customer experience seamless across all these channels and to tailor the experience to the needs of different stakeholders. Ensuring that everyone in the business has a responsibility for customer experience and understands their role in improving it.”
One major area of emphasis for sales teams is consistency. I mentioned earlier that we should help marketing define a point-of-view that everyone involved with business development can rally around, but it’s also crucial for salespeople to coordinate with one another. You don’t want two different members on a buying committee receiving drastically different messages from two different reps. You also don’t want the same member receiving outreach from three different reps on your team. These are major hindrances in the customer experience that can sully your brand’s reputation.
Keep clear lines of communication, and maintain detailed logs around customer interactions.
Fill In Your Buying Committee Map
Gaps in buying committee coverage have caused many a promising B2B deal to go off the rails. By heeding these tips, you can work to eliminate blind spots, target the entire committee, and close the deal.
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