Now that you’re selling solutions, not products you’re a partner, not a vendor. That’s great. You’ve earned the attention of customer executives who are critical to closing big deals.
You probably also noticed this approach changes your sales cycle in other ways too. Instead of talking to one executive, you may now need to engage with an entire team.
Here’s how to get your initiatives attention while keeping your sales efforts on track.
Team goals, individual needs
Think about how hard it is to reach consensus in your own organization. Different people have different goals and some team members don’t even get along with each other. It happens.
When you’re trying to make sales headway, skip company politics and work one-on-one with key decision makers. This approach makes it easier to:
- Build personal rapport
- Target your approach to each executive
- Discover and overcome potential barriers
- Schedule meetings
Pinpoint the leader
You will ultimately need the entire group’s support. But you may never get that far unless you start with one leader as your sponsor.
That’s because when you try to sell to a group, no individual feels ownership of the initiative. You may have a compelling case, but without clear sponsorship your efforts may stall or fail altogether.
Executive Selling Tip: Find an executive willing to take ownership of your proposal, to help you push your efforts forward, and to help you win support of other decision makers.
Find common ground
While you should focus on each individual executive’s needs to garner sponsorship, you also need to find common ground to win approval of the group. Determine the similarities and differences between group members. And leverage both to win support.
If you have trouble winning the support of one executive, build a coalition of executives who support you. Use the common ground to get two or more executives on your side and grow support from there.
Ultimately, you need to provide a solution endorsed by the entire team. But you won’t reach that point without each decision maker’s support.
Here are two ways to get it:
- Target the differences you’ve identified and solve each executive’s individual needs.
- Ensure each executive can position the buying decision as a personal win.
Find out where the deal stands
When you are working with a group, anything can happen between meetings.
Don’t assume the executives have or have not talked to each other. Don’t assume they did what they agreed to do in your initial meeting. Don’t assume the deal is at the same stage it was in the last meeting. Don’t assume anything!
At the start of each executive gathering, reconfirm agreements you reached in the last meeting. Arrive early, both to build rapport with the individual executives and to learn of potential problems so you’re not surprised in the team meeting.
And always remember that the individual is your key to the team.