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Are you selling to one or two people in a large customer? If so, your chances of success are less than they used to be in days gone by.

Our research showed that on average 5.8 people are involved in a b2b customer’s buying process. There can be more. In fact a recent research project undertaken by a team at Sheffield Hallam University* found that for more complex procurements this number is typically over 10 people.

What does this mean for a b2b salesperson? Simply put, complexity.

You can improve your chances of success if you understand the buying team. To improve win planning on a particular opportunity:

Know their role: Salespeople need to understand WHO is involved in the buying landscape, and each person’s role in the buying process. Are they a decision maker, influencer, evaluator or user?

Know why they care: Identify the people who CARE about the problem you are trying to solve. Without a person’s buy-in to fixing this problem, and a clear set of benefits for them and the company, you will likely find it hard to engage them in the process.

Even then, this is unlikely to be enough if they cannot influence others in the buying process.

Know who has influence: The importance of reaching consensus is discussed heavily in the Challenger Customer from the Corporate Executive Board. For success you need to identify the people who CAN make change happen in the company (in the Challenger world these are called mobilizers).

Look at the people with a track record of influencing, implementing and sustaining improvements in your customer, with them on your side you are likely to improve sales velocity.

Good selling.

*The research study was completed in late 2015 by a project team at Sheffield Hallam University, completing this as part of their Masters degree in Marketing.

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