A sales topic which continues to come up on a regular basis with sellers of all experience revolves around the politics, risks and rewards of “going around” or “going over someone’s head”. Due to a unique sequence of events, opened the door to a different view on the subject. First I was working with a team lead by a Francophone VP, and we go around to complete coverage of accounts, existing and new. We created a corporate map, profiling key contacts their functions and role in the decision process. The challenge was that despite laying things out, the reps continued to go to their “usual suspects”, often slowing down or completely endangering the sale. The fact that the team was reluctant to sell “to the whole company” was really critical in light of the fact this was a big ticket item, and almost always decisions are made by multiple stakeholders if not formal committees. In a moment of frustration the VP said “You have to sell the whole entourage, not just one guy”.
Later that night my wife was glued to her favourite TV program, yup you guessed it, Entourage. Thee was something going on where someone was trying to get to Vince to convince him to do or buy something or other (short attention when it comes to TV). What struck me is that Vince wasn’t trying to avoid the individual trying to get to him, but he wasn’t going to make a decision or move with out input from his crew. As with the reps in question, going straight at, and only at the Vince (playing the role of the CEO in our little drama) was just going to add time and effort to the process, and put the whole initiative at risk from never happening.
Had he stepped back, understood the dynamics of the players involved, their impact, interaction and influence with Vince he may have played it differently. (Hot me now if you are going to, SDM) He would have spent time individually and collectively with Eric, Drama and Turtle. If he did his mapping and planning thoroughly, he would go beyond the “company”, and focus on Ari Gold, who clearly has sway on his main target.
If we were to compare the episode to the challenge the sales team in question had, they spent a disproportionate time and focus on Drama, completely ignored Vince, in fact it is more accurate to say they avoided Vince.
These days it does not take much effort to properly and thoroughly map an organization, understand the personalities involved, and even the interrelationships. Using any of he host of Sales 2.0, tools like IntroMojo, you can even incorporate their social media footprint into your plan, strategy and execution.
As always, selling the “enterprise” is the most effective ways to develop long term success, it not only helps you execute the sale efficiently, but maintain and defend the relationship by have multiple and deep relationships with key players in the organization. (See 4D – Four Deep – Sales eXchange – 59) Call it what you like, but it is traditional selling, full and complete coverage of your accounts. So there you have it, a new label for a traditional approach, taking a page from some of my peers, I guess I am now the creator of “Entourage Selling”.
You May Have Noticed
If you look to the top of the column to the right, you will see that I have been nominated for one of the Top 50 Influential People In Sales Lead Management 2010. Please take a minute to vote, you can vote for up to three people, so in addition to me, you select two others. Thank you in advance.
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