Don’t believe that there is only one “decision-maker.”
In complex B2B sales, don’t fall into the trap of believing that there is “a decision-maker.” Unless you’re selling chewing gum, the reality is that no matter what the buyer says, there are always multiple decision makers in B2B sales; there are always multiple people involved.
I would argue that this is the #1 problem that B2B salespeople make.
Don’t Make These Common Mistakes about Decision Makers in B2B Sales
Mistake #1: Thinking budget owner = decision maker
Very often, salespeople get into a sales conversation with someone who states that they are the budget owner and will be making the decision alone. Unfortunately, this often ends in a familiar outcome: near the end of the sale (as perceived by the salesperson,) the “decision-maker” realizes that the decision will impact others in the organization, who needs to be brought up to speed. Before long, the sale loses momentum, and maybe never materializes.
Mistake #2: Thinking there’s a clear-cut “buying journey”
Quite often, salespeople ask their prospects about their buying process, expecting to get a clear answer to how to proceed. Unfortunately, the reality is that in complex sales, even the buyer usually doesn’t understand their own decision-making process from the get-go.
Much better for salespeople to go into the deal expecting to uncover, or even guide the decision-making process.
Mistake #3: Equating organizational hierarchy with buying influence
It is easy to assume that the goal of the salesperson is to get as high up the org chart as they can, on the belief that the person “at the top” is the primary “decision-maker.” In most organizations, this is not the case all the time, or even most of the time.
Salespeople who are skilled in identifying, assessing, and aligning all of the relevant influencers early in the sales process will always outperform those who don’t have those skills.