The math behind selling through sales champions just doesn’t add up.
Think about how long it takes your company to fully train and on-board a new sales rep. Let’s say it takes three months—best case. That’s a three-month investment before that rep is ready to handle an important sales opportunity himself.
Once that rep is up to speed, they’ll typically spend an hour or so educating the initial contact at a prospect company about your value proposition. Traditionally, after that first hour, the rep is reliant on that individual contact to identify and teach the other stakeholders in her company. This risky approach effectively turns that individual contact into a sales champion, making them responsible for getting the other influencers, stakeholders, users, and decision makers on board with the idea of selecting your solution.
Stepping back for a moment, we can see that this formula doesn’t make sense. If it takes at least three months to train a new sales rep before they can handle meaningful business opportunities, why would you entrust someone who’s spent just one hour learning about a product or service with the responsibility of selling it to their colleagues—each of whom brings a different functional view and possibly geographic priority to the conversation, no less.
A lot can go wrong when you entrust your sales message to a barely-informed messenger. The story can go south: they can mix up the value proposition and kill the deal before it’s really even begun. The prospect may not be able to overcome the objections of his peers effectively, or speak to the needs of a diverse group of people who work in different functional areas across the business.
The research backs this up. Data from CEB shows that when you move from selling to one person to selling to a group of two people, purchase likelihood drops to 81 percent. By the time you reach the B2B sales average of 5.4 decision makers, purchase likelihood drops to 31 percent. That’s a 50 percent drop!
So the sales champion—the individual with whom a rep has spent just an hour or so—is faced with an incredible challenge: they must somehow find a way to convince the other stakeholders in their company’s buying group that your solution is the right one. Clearly, a one-hour training session doesn’t equip someone to fully understand your value proposition, let alone adapt it to the unique needs of a variety of people who each represent a different area of the customer’s business. And the complexity of a purchasing decision can quickly multiply, especially in large organizations and deals that involve multiple divisions and locations.
The 31 percent likelihood I mention above looks eerily similar to the industry average for sales close rates. A 31 percent win rate in any other context would be unacceptable. If an NBA team won just 31 percent of its games, the general manager of the team would fire the coach and trade most of the team’s players.
And yet, right now, the B2B sales industry is depending on just one person—the sales champion—to build buying consensus across a prospect customer’s organization. In fact, sales acceleration and marketing automation tools are all designed to connect and engage sellers with individual sales champions. This model doesn’t scale.
What’s been missing is the answer to a key question: how can we enable the B2B buying group as a whole to make fast, confident purchasing decisions?
Enter CONSENSUS™. That’s exactly what our solution delivers. CONSENSUS enables reps to equip sales champions to share the correct sales message in a consistent, personalized, relevant way with each member of the buying committee. Simply clicking on the “Watch Demo” button we provide for our clients enables these champions to forward a message that matches the motives of individual buyers. CONSENSUS allows these buyers to reach consensus and buy into selecting and implementing your solution.
Left on their own, a sales champion will do her best to explain your value proposition to other stakeholders, but different users, managers, decision makers, budget controllers—and even the sales champion—can easily misinterpret your story and the value of what you offer.
This type of buying dysfunction is the problem CONSENSUS solves in a unique and effective way.
Relying on sales champions clearly doesn’t add up. The question is, what are you going to do about it?