Salespeople are told they should “call high, wide, and deep”—and really focus on the C-suite. But is that always the best approach?
As with so many questions about what it takes to win a deal, it depends.
A study by Google/Millward Brown Media and Digital found that while the C-suite has final sign-off in 64% of buying decisions, a full 81% of influencers are not in the C-suite.1 So while calling high, wide, and deep has its advantages, salespeople need to do so strategically with a focus on what—and who—can help them win.
Wilson Learning has studied thousands of win-loss reviews and talked to hundreds of salespeople and their managers. We found that, in many cases, the salesperson didn’t fully understand:
- How the decision was being made
- Who had influence over the decision
- Customer stakeholders’ perspectives about the salesperson and his or her company
It’s not just salespeople who find the buying process complex. Gartner Group research revealed that a full 77% of B2B buyers said that their latest buying decision was “very complex or difficult.”2
Multiple departments and people are involved, and while one person can say “yes,” lots of people can say “no.” Big investments have especially long decision processes with multiple stakeholders and hurdles.
And just when the salesperson thinks a sale has been made, procurement hurdles.
What’s a sales leader to do?
Make sure your salespeople can shape buying decisions by:
- Understanding the decision process and anticipating shifts
- Building a keen understanding of stakeholders and their perspectives
- Executing influence strategies to win