Mapping Your Influence in a Sales Deal


Share on LinkedIn

Mapping Sales Connections

One of the most critical skills you need to develop as a salesperson is the ability to read people. When you understand the personal and professional wins for each person to whom you are selling, the deal can progress much faster and you build confidence in forecasting these to management because you can articulate the critical business issue (CBI) tied to the win for the company and the person.

That said, one of the key “puzzle pieces” we continue to miss or forget to ask for is the organizational chart of the people involved in our deal. Why is the org chart such a critical piece of information? It tells us so much more than the reporting structure of the prospective company – it’s your road map into the organization!

The org chart can tell us if we have someone who is not afraid to share information with us and also whether this is a person who can be relied upon during the sales process. The first step is to ask for the org chart and define the people who are involved in the deal. You need to determine each person’s role in the deal and then close them throughout the sale to test if they are on board with you and your services. Remember that the only good deal is one in which your customer is doing work for you while you are not there.

Once you have secured the org chart or created it and made sure it is accurate, you can now move to the next phase: mapping the deal vs. the influencers in the deal.  The first step is to define the influencers and relationships. We have listed the ones we use and in the next post we will show how to assign them and read the map.


  1. Advocate or Sponsor:  Anyone can have this role in the sales deal. These folks do not, however, have any power and when they share information they typically do not want you to reference them. Example: “This project is going on but you didn’t hear it from me.”
  2. Sponsor: Anyone can be a sponsor, as well.  However, this person is willing to give information and stand behind it; he/she will introduce you to people in the account to enable you to get visibility and meetings.
  3. Champion: This person is rare and special. These people are above the power line and sell for you when you are not there. Sales people tend get overly optimistic and often think they have a champion when they really do not. 

Relationship Mapping

  1. Never Met This Person: Need to get to them – Red Flag!
  2. Neutral: Met them but you are not convinced they are for or against you – Red Flag!
  3. Enemy: These are known detractors and may be champions for the competition – Red Flag!

Influence Mapping

  1. Decision Maker: This person has budget and authority to allocate and spend. He/she may not be the sole approver.
  2. Approver: This person may or may not be directly involved with the purchase. However, they do need to sign off on the sale.
  3. Influencer: This person has influence in the organization and can sway opinion up to management.
  4. Gatekeeper: There are 2 types of these – one who decides they are the person who everyone should go through and one that was sanctioned by management. Both are NOT welcomed in your deal.
  5. Evaluator: This may be a person doing product or business evaluation of the solution.
  6. Influencer not in the deal: This person has influence and has potentially purchased from you before. They may help you in the deal and could be outside the company but this is where LinkedIn becomes valuable.

Once you have mapped the people, you need to learn how to read the map and really use it to your advantage. In the next post we will go over a sample map and see how this process works.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Haller
Tim Haller has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience. He has delivered training and consulting to Fortune 100 clients across a variety of industries, including technology, business services, travel/leisure and biotechnology. Tim has trained hundreds of sales professionals to close business through the use of effective sales prospecting, negotiation, and closing techniques.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here