Role of influencers in the sales process can be categorized from people who understand the solutions and they will influence the decision maker to implement solution / product. Another influencers set would only be act upon if the top management instruct them so and there are people who focuses aspects like brand, sales person, price, legacy etc. to take a decision. The initial mapping of the sales influencers with respect your portfolio is important in any sales process.
I am trying to plot some thoughts on How to utilize the influencers in a more productive manner which can reduce the sales cycle time and results in repeat business
1. Empowering with the solution / product
As sales people we have knowledge on the industry we serve. Any product / solution has minimum 50 features, attributes and benefits to talk about. We will prioritize the critical information and will communicate same message to the influencer and the decision maker. Usually we will be able to render only the important points to the decision maker but each and every product information can be communicated to influencer without fail and the strategic importance of the each can be narrated as he will have enough time to hear this from you compared to the decision maker.
Certain features which were overlooked by the sales would strike him and he will take up those points to the decision maker during their internal decision making meeting. This will also give us an edge against the competition. In short the product / solution, its implications, case studies, awards and other relevant information should be well presented to the influencer as this will helps in positioning yourself better and influencer is loaded with information to act as a positive influencer for your package.
2. Enhancing industry knowledge
Every employee would be curious to know about the major event happening in the competition especially what his counterpart does. This is a very tricky exercise as we are not supposed to reveal about other customers of ours with the outside world. During the first meeting we shall make sure to give the important players that we work alone, but from then try not to mention any competition in the further discussion. When talking about best practices, you can mention the word ‘ industry’.
Updated industry knowledge is the biggest armor any salesperson can use during the sales pitch. Current trends, the forecasted industry shape, updates in the industry review articles are to be shared to the influencers. Hence he will consider you as a knowledge resource center, a strategic position created in his mind about the sales person which is a differentiator compared to your competitors.
Every employee would love to hear ‘good’, communicated to his manager. There are instances like defining the scope, where the inputs given by the influencer can be mentioned during the meeting. While communicating through the mail, mentioning the influencer in the right context will work and influencers should get the feeling that he gets his share of credit.
During the wrapping up of the sales process, which would be signing off presentation or an email, a brief note on the influencer’s contribution on identifying challenges and the solution needs to be stated. This will help him in his KPI’s and also an excellent tool to get into his good book.