The idea of finding an advocate in your prospect company isn’t really new. Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures rightly dubs that person as the champion that can boost sales.
Here’s a brief review on what they can do. They can vouch for any solution or service you are offering. They hold a key and relevant position in the prospect company. It’s not that hard to see why they can be the so-called ‘chosen one’ who will help your salespeople achieve their goals.
But what if it’s in the case of a much larger organization or even a multinational one?
The most influential person could be someone far beyond the reach of conventional marketing channels. You might have to contend with others further down the hierarchy. This does not even mention the many gatekeepers who will hold you up every step of the way.
In such cases, perhaps finding a single champion may not be enough. What you need is perhaps a band of champions who can work together to help you achieve your sale.
This idea is pretty common in movies and books. When one hero isn’t enough to beat the big bad, you put together a party of them. Look at the Avengers, the Fellowship of the Ring, or even the Pevensies.
The big business version isn’t that much different. You need to find the qualities of your chosen group:
#1 – They know each other. Rarely do you really get a chosen group where members haven’t at least heard of each other. Familiarity is important for the obvious reason that it won’t be awkward when you bring them together.
#2 – They have a strong synergy. You know these people to work real well together (at least in theory). Review the hierarchy of your target company and then understand how each member of your designated band uses their individual positions to coordinate with each other. (For example: marketing and sales; accounting and HR)
#3 – They all see something in your offer. It’ll be tough trying to sell when not all of them see anything interesting in your offer. Sometimes it takes the egging of one member in your band to get one or two others to buy in.
#4 – Their combined interest can shift the greater whole – To sum it all up, the end result should be that you have the entirety of the large company drawn to your product or service. That is of course if you managed to know which individual influencers can come together that way.
Now that you know the traits of your chosen band, the next phase is communicating with them.
- Know their differences as much as their similarities – They may all have the same position in a company but they could be in charge of different areas. How can you see through their varying perspectives with regards to whatever it is your marketing to them?
- Watch out for possible conflicts – Knowing the differences will help you identify possible points of conflict within your designated group. Those conflicts might slow the process down so do what you can to resolve them before they escalate.
- Ask help from those under them – Gatekeepers aren’t always obstacles. If you know how to talk to them right, you can ask them to pass the message. This can help spread it around and makes it excellent since you’re targeting multiple individuals within a single company.
- Know their communication preferences – Another reason to note their differences is that they might have different preferences when it comes to communication. One might like a phone call while another would rather read it through email.
- Let them know you are communicating with the others – This is not only common courtesy. It makes it easier for your target influencers to get together and discuss the message you sent to all of them.
- Get referred from those truly not interested – Sometimes one of the first people you approach may turn out to be the wrong person to talk to. But don’t be discouraged. There is still a good chance that they can refer you to the right people in their organization.
When communicating with much larger companies, it’s easy to get lost in the hierarchy and it’s hard to influence through just one champion. Get yourself a band of them instead!