What is the biggest problem with B2B sales? It’s not your sales techniques, your systems, or your people. It is the “buying panel”. Businesses buy from other businesses in groups—it’s a collaborative social activity. On average, every B2B buying panel includes 4 to 5 decision makers. This many decision makers makes it difficult to reach consensus on the purchase decision. Close rates suffer. Discovering who they are is also a challenge, but even after you do, you have to corral them, usually over several different appointments spanning weeks, months, and sometimes even years on bigger deals.
Solve the buying panel problem and your close rates will increase. The main challenge is that each person on the buying panel has a different idea about what is important to solving their particular problem. You need to reach each decision maker and influencer in the buying panel with the value proposition that matches to their unique needs and interests.
Find Out What is Driving Each Person to Explore Purchasing and What is at the Top of Their List
First, find out what is going on. Too often as salespeople we just charge ahead thinking that we know what is best for the customer without having any idea of what they need. And if we do a “needs audit” we often assume that what the first person we spoke to in the sales cycle says is what is driving everyone that comes on board after that. Quite often they are not the same.
- Ask enough questions to know what is driving their purchasing need and what they see as relevant
- Identify the different needs of players in the buying panel by listing the different individuals and what they care about
- Compare and contrast the interests and needs; check for alignment and misalignment across the buying panel
Discover What Kind of Consensus is Needed
In many organizations, they purchase by consensus. Sometimes it’s just a majority, sometimes it is unanimous consensus. Make sure you understand which it is. If it is unanimous consensus, you are going to need to identify if there are any holdouts and win them over.
Deliver Messaging that is Unique to Each Person
Once you understand what each person on the B2B sales buying panel needs to make the purchase, you are ready to deliver what they want to hear. (I’m not suggesting you deliver messaging that isn’t authentic—only deliver what they want to hear if you can actually deliver on it.)
Start by crafting a message or series of activities to help them get the message. This could include things such as:
- Custom emails
- Blog articles
- Custom product demo
The key is to make sure they are getting what matters to them, not what matters to someone else. The faster they get the message they want to hear and explore, the faster you will build consensus.
What If You Could Automate Personalization?
CONSENSUS™ is software that intelligently automates the product demonstration so that each member of the buying panel gets the message they want to hear automatically.
Our interactive demo platform personalizes video and documents so each prospect automatically learns about your solution in the most relevant way. This cuts sales cycles and increases close rates. Our Demolytics™ dashboard helps you discover and engage the entire buying committee by gathering analytics and tracking who’s involved, what’s important to them, what they watched, and who they shared it with. This drives consensus and gets to a purchase decision much faster than traditional sales methods. Clients have cut their sales cycles by 68% and jumped close rates by 44%.
Here is a view of the CONSENSUS Sales Accelerator Demolytics™ that shows how you can see what was Very Important, Somewhat Important, and Not Important to each person on this particular buying panel (names are blurred out because this is a real customer):
However you engage the buying panel, make sure you know if you need unanimity or just a majority (or if there is just one decision maker that thinks for everyone), then think about what each member of the buying panel needs to cast their vote in your favor. Deliver on that and your B2B sales close rates will improve dramatically.
For more details about how you can automate this process, check out our resources page.