6 key questions for understanding a sales decision network

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In B2B sales – you’re not selling to an individual, you’re selling to multiple people – a network.

In any significant purchase many people are involved in the decision process. A few are key decision-makers. Others are influencers who may not make the decision but can influence those who do. An influencer may be a potential user of the solution or a key advisor to the decision-maker.

There are others who play the role of gatekeepers they cannot say yes, but can say no. Financial staff and Procurement Managers often play this gatekeeper role.

Salespeople must know who is playing which role, the relationship between the players, and what they think about you and your competition. An average salesperson has a general understanding of this information. A top sales performer has a comprehensive understanding.

In the end, it is probably wise to worry less about your sales process and focus more on the customer’s buying process. If you are to have a comprehensive command of the buying process you must know the answers to at least the following 6 questions:

  1. Who are the decision makers, influencers and gatekeepers?
  2. What is the relationship between the key players?
  3. What are their decision criteria for deciding between you and your competition?
  4. What are their views of you versus your competition on the decision criteria?
  5. Do you have or can you develop an internal champion who is a major player?
  6. Has the project been budgeted and funded?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Ruff
For more than 30 years Richard Ruff has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Dick has learned that today's great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Momentum offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Dick is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers, and the Sales Training Connection.

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