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how to identify decision makers in sales
March 25, 2023

Amplify Success: Identifying Prospect Stakeholders

how to identify decision makers in sales


Welcome to Amplify Success, practical advice from Allego salespeople about what works for them.

B2B sales are most often made to a buying group. The typical buying group for a B2B solution involves multiple decision makers‚ each with information they’ve gathered independently.

In theory, this is supposed to make the process more equitable and successful. More voices means the final purchase is more likely to meet the company’s needs and objectives.

The problem is that these groups keep growing. The average buying group has more than doubled in just seven years. Today, according to Gartner, “An average of 11 individual stakeholders are involved in a B2B purchase; that number can occasionally flex up to nearly 20.”

At the same time, new technologies, products, suppliers and services have expanded the number of solutions a group must evaluate.

These dynamics make it increasingly difficult for customers to make purchases—and for sellers to connect with the right prospects. In fact, more than three-quarters of the customers Gartner surveyed described their purchase as very complex or difficult.

In this Amplify Success video, Allego Account Executive David Phelan shares a hard lesson about involving key stakeholders at a large organization.

Ask Upfront

I think it’s always valuable to ask your buyer upfront who else might care about a project like this or an evaluation like this. Prospects aren’t always going to be forthcoming.

You definitely want to know who the ultimate decision maker is, who’s going to sign the check or have the loudest voice to say no. But it’s also beneficial to arm yourself with other stakeholders as well. Who else in the organization is going to be impacted in a decision like this? Oftentimes it’s sales and marketing.

This is a hard lesson I learned in a potentially big, big deal with a successful, large software company. We were dealing with a new enablement leader who assured us we were with the right person. He said, “There’s no need to involve anyone else. I’m the decision maker.’

Trust But Verify

Then he tells us that the CRO was going to sign the check. I probably should have taken this as a red flag off the bat.

Lean on Your Expertise

What I learned is helpful is to use your expertise and familiarity with the enablement space to say to the CMO / CRO (or whoever it is that isn’t involved in the evaluation that you think should be), “We rarely see organizations of your size and caliber not involving the CMO (or CRO / CEO) in a decision like this. I just wanted to run this by you. We’ve been speaking with (name of your contact) and I would love to bring you up to speed on a decision that’s potentially going to impact your teams for years to come.”

I think this is one area where I did a disservice to both the prospect and the organization and myself by not involving other leaders in his organization and taking his word as the truth.

It was only after he told us we hadn’t been awarded the business that I tried to scramble to involve others like the chief marketing officer and the chief executive officer. At that point it was too late, the decision had already been made.

Sometimes There’s Nothing You Can Do

It might be worth noting that in this case, the decision was primarily based on relationships with the private equity firm that had funded them. But had I involved other leaders sooner, it may have slowed things down, at least for the competitor.

And best case I could have won us the deal. I think that the lesson learned is to go out of your way to involve everyone who you think should be involved, regardless of what your buyer is telling you.

Learn More

Check out 14 Steps to Amplify Success with Agile Content to create and share best practices from sales reps.

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