Are You Targeting the Right Stakeholder?

How do you get a complex purchasing group to say ‘yes’?

By Matt Wesson, Content Marketing Manager, Salesforce

Any sales rep can tell you that the number of people involved in purchasing decisions has ballooned in recent years. “The average B2B decision-making group includes 5.4 stakeholders, and the likelihood of a purchase decision being made drops to 30 percent with that number,” says Patrick Spenner, director of strategic initiatives at CEB and co-author of The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results.

Salespeople need to get a collective “yes” from all of these stakeholders to close a deal, and they don’t always know who all of those stakeholders are or what they care about. Indeed, even customers themselves may not always know who will be involved in a purchase decision. To matters more challenging, each of these stakeholders has different priorities, goals, perspectives and varying levels of knowledge about what the rep is selling.

So who do you target?

The Friendly Customer?

CEB research shows that most sales and marketing organizations try to engage the friendly customer. Traditionally referred to as an advocate or champion, this customer is already on your side and very willing to discuss the purchase, and network you with their peers.

The Entire Group?

Another popular tactic is to appeal to the group as a whole. Sales reps will try to give equal attention to each member of the purchasing group, addressing all their concerns and questions en mass. This is the serial sale, where winning over each stakeholder accentuating what matters most to each person.

The Answer:

The Challenger Customer

CEB conducted rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis of thousands of B2B customers to understand buying-group consensus, and discovered that your target should be the Challenger customer, otherwise known as the Mobilizer™ customer.

Mobilizer customers value new ideas for their business, they’re skeptical and deeply supplier-agnostic. They could care less about your features and benefits, but they do value new direction for their business. Conversations with Mobilizer customers are difficult to say the least — they push back, they ask hard questions, they play “Devil’s Advocate” — and for most sellers, this type of conversation feels like a blown sales call. But these qualities are exactly what gives the Mobilizer customer the credibility to inspire change inside their organization. When they lock onto an idea, their colleagues listen.

So how do you win them over and help them build consensus?

Download the free e-book “The Challenger Customer” to see how you can utilize the latest research from CEB to use the Challenger Customer to turn the most complex deals into easy wins.

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