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Account-Based Sales: How to Upskill Your Sales Reps to Win Deals When Multiple Decision-Makers are Involved

by Krauthammer blog, on Sep 21, 2020 3:01:51 PM

C7 - Account-Based Sales How to Upskill Your Sales Reps to Win Deals When Multiple Decision-Makers are Involved

Over the past few years, many organisations have begun to make the shift from product-focused selling to solutions-based sales in a bid to better align the sales funnel with the modern buyer journey. And while this shift has been advantageous for many, it has also introduced a whole host of new challenges for teams that must be addressed. 

One of the biggest challenges arising from solutions-based selling is that it’s facilitating a rise in solutions-based buying; in a growing trend for buyers to more comprehensively consider how a product can impact their business on a broader scale. And this, naturally, is increasing the number of decision makers involved in the buying process. 

The Pros and Cons of Multiple Decision Makers

When an increasing number of stakeholders are involved in the decision making process, there are certain advantages that sales teams will see. This includes lower risk as the decision is carried by a team of people, and an opportunity to ‘test’ your solution multiple times from various angles, boosting the likelihood of a solution being accepted. 

However, there are disadvantages, too. The downsides include a longer sales cycle, and increased costs due to a need to engage with people in different roles and positions. An account-based sales strategy can be useful in addressing these obstacles, enabling sales teams to target specific accounts through a highly tailored approach. 

Unfortunately, implementing an account-based sales strategy isn’t always easy. As Brent Adamson, Vice President of Gartner’s Advisory service notes, “with more information, options, and people involved in the buying process, buyers are paralysed when trying to move forward”; a fact that can affect your sales team’s success. 

It is clear that, for an account-based sales strategy to succeed in its bid to streamline the process of dealing with multiple decision makers, many sales leaders should be looking to upskill their teams to ensure they have the right skills in place for success. 

Upskilling for Account-Based Sales

When developing an accounts-based sales strategy, training, coaching, and upskilling your team should be high on your list of priorities. While there are multiple areas to focus your upskilling efforts, there are four vital aspects that all sales leaders should consider:

1. Stakeholder Influence

According to research by insights firm McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a growing trend for businesses to involve more stakeholders than ever before in a bid to boost purchasing confidence. Today’s decision makers may include CEOs, CFOs, procurement, account executives, marketers, IT, HR, and more. Therefore, while it’s important for you to know how to work with different stakeholders within your own organisation, it’s also essential that your team knows how to work with different stakeholders at customer organisations, too. And even more vital is an understanding of their influencing power.

2. Solution Value

Once stakeholders and their influence have been identified, it will also be necessary for your team to understand what value your solution brings to each of these individuals. For example, a marketing campaign naturally means something different to a marketing director than it does for you as a sales leader, or for your CFO. One of the biggest benefits of account-based sales is that you can tailor your approach to specifically address the interests and pain points of each decision maker, but this can’t be achieved unless your team understands what the solution really means to them. 

3. Communication

Communication skills are essential for account-based sales… but it’s not the sort of communication skills you may think. Of course, it is vital that your sales team is comfortable and confident communicating with stakeholders at all levels to close a deal, but it’s also important that they understand how to communicate internally with those within their own organisation. Account-based sales means using the bargaining power of your allies; of those in different departments who can relate to the various decision makers you’ll be facing. It’s essential to connect and stay on the same page – something that has been made all the more challenging by the shift to remote sales.

4. Technology

You may have already implemented sales technology into your team, but if you’re working with a challenging and outdated CRM, it’s worth investing in new tools and upskilling your workforce so that they can use these tools effectively. Why? Because a good CRM contains highly valuable information about your target customers, allowing you to review closed-won accounts to gain a better understanding of how to tailor your approach to specific accounts. You may see technology as more of a task for your IT department, but the truth is that this is where sales leaders really need to take action. 

Supporting Decision Makers

Making changes in your approach to support all decision makers can be key in helping your team succeed and meet targets. According to research by Gartner, buyers who are confident in their decisions are 2.6x more likely to make repeat purchases. It’s clear that supporting decision makers through your approach gives them the confidence they need to make informed purchasing decisions, and help your team seal the deal.

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