When dealing with a complex account, every good seller will ask themselves this critical question… Who are the key players in the purchasing decision? The answer, unfortunately, is rarely as simple as it may seem. In today’s selling environment, there are a multitude of influences that affect purchase decisions within an organization. With widespread shifts in titles and organizational structures, it can be challenging to figure out how they all fit together and who the key players might be.  

Increasingly, sellers are feeling the pressure to identify and understand the roles of anyone and everyone that could impact the purchase decision. At a Chicago Sales Leadership Community event, we sat down with sales executives from Prolifiq, Softchoice, and IRI to hear their thoughts on the issue. Here are the tips we gathered to help you win your next deal.


1. The influencers are just as important as the decision maker

When conducting outreach, the target contact at the top of every seller’s list is the decision maker. However, most of the time getting in touch with this person is no easy task right out of the gate. The right strategy can get you there faster. 

Enter the influencer. Influencers play a huge role in the decision making process and should be utilized as allies on your route to close the deal. In fact, taking the time to build relationships with the influencers will ultimately be in your favor when the decision maker turns to them as trusted advisors. Failing to engage the influencers could lead to missed opportunity for you and your organization.


2. Don’t discount Cross-functional input 

Gone are the days when sales professionals could move a buyer through the same labeled path and claim success. Not only are consumers well informed, but cross-functional collaboration has become a major key in decision making. Companies are reorganizing staff, units and functions to better spread connectivity across the organization. The influencers are no longer reserved to those along the vertical climb. Increased involvement across verticals has led to a longer decision making process.  Sometimes, sellers have to collaborate with 10-50+ stakeholders in order to show value to the customer. 

Tom O’Connor, (Senior VP for IRI at the time), said, “a decision that you might think rests square within the sales organization is heavily influenced by the marketing organization and by the finance organization, and perhaps even others…” 

The bottom line: sales professionals should be prepared to handle situations where there is:

  • More committee buying
  • More people engaged with the process 
  • More sharing of information across the organization


3. Know the buyer’s customers

A common mistake made by many sellers is being so trigger-happy in selling their product or service that the scope of their pitch becomes broad and over saturated. Sellers should understand not only the buyer, but the unique needs of the buyer’s customers and be able to provide insights on the challenges the buyer is facing. Doing this not only helps the buyer succeed by better serving their customer, but it builds trust and a strong business partnership between you and the buyer.


We hope these tips will make a meaningful difference in your next deal. For more information on the Chicago Sales Leadership Community or how SOAR Performance Group can help your sales organization visit SoarPerformanceGroup.com or contact us