Decision-maker engaged

Typically, once you’ve qualified the opportunity, discovered the needs and impact, and are moving beyond the demo you need to start expanding out the number of people in the customer site that you engaged with.

Typically, in parallel, you may also be introducing other team members into the opportunity from your side as well. One of the most critical steps is to identify the decision-maker(s). Your main point of contact may be a strong influence, but when push comes to shove, may not have the authority to actually make a decision in favor of your solution. 

The decision-maker(s), sometimes referred to as the economic buyer, is typically going to weigh up the pros and cons whereas your champion may simply be looking at the benefits that you can bring not looking at it within a wider context. 

This is why it is essential to engage directly with the decision-maker, rather than relying on your champion to explain your product and literally champion your product. Yes, they have a role, but when push comes to shove decision-makers are the people you need to engage with.

 

Amplifying Factors Decision Process Decision Criteria Champion

Further reading :

5 Types of Decision Makers & How to Sell to Each One

8 Buying Roles to Look Out for in the Sales Process

How to identify the decision maker in the sales process

RED – Hostile to your success

The decision-makers are indicating a lack of interest in your solution. This could be caused by a number of things such as timing is wrong, they don’t get it etc. There could be other priorities within the business that your champion is not taken into consideration.

AMBER – Seems interested in our success

If the decision-maker has indicated some interest, typically by attending but not engaging at the demo or follow-up conversations, this can result in a poor outcome for you. You need to work to engage deeper with the decision-maker if possible, to ascertain if this is an opportunity to progress further.

Green – Aligned and working with us

This implies that they are engaged with your solution and helping you bring the value for their business. Build on this alignment and ensure that you keep developing trust as the deal progresses.

 

Mitigations – What to Do?

In Salesforce.com we used to call involving the decision-maker, the point at which the adult comes into the room. Your champion may have your enthusiasm for your product and the benefits it can bring It’s only when the adult comes into the room that the conversations get real.
 
You need to be prepared for a different type of conversation and you need to be prepared to net out quickly and efficiently what are the benefits of your solution to them.
 
If the decision-makers engage they will expect you to very quickly explain the benefit of your solution. Normally they don’t have the time or the inclination for a demo upfront. Maybe they will want a demo just for confirmation but usually, it’s the business solution/business benefits of taking onboard your solution is that interests and excites them.
 
Don’t be afraid to make it clear when you do engage with the decision-maker that this is a sales conversation. You can make it clear early on that you want to do business with them and ask what he or she needs from you to make a decision.
 
Most decision-makers will tell you what are their criteria. Listen very carefully and write down what they say and talk directly to those points. If there is a point that they’ve missed that’s important add that to the conversation.
 
Decision-makers commonly ask for comparisons with competitors so be prepared for how you can address the point.
 
Return on investment and time to value are normally foremost in a decision-makers mindset. They worry about the disruption and how this would normally play out in the business environment, so make sure you’re ready to address those specific points.
 
Similarly, there will often be worried about the impact on the people. Your champion may see the benefits of streamlining something or making something work in a different way that individuals may feel threatened by. So when you’re talking decision-maker pay particular attention around those areas.

Decision-makers often don’t like being pushed for a decision on the spot. Very often they like to talk to you and come back through your champion later. This is normal.
 
Once you’ve got access to the decision-maker. don’t let go! If the champion introduces you relatively early in the process make sure you keep the decision-maker in the loop. Copy them on (some) emails et cetera but don’t push them to engage in the conversation, especially if they told you that an individual will deal, which are directly but there’s nothing worse than engaging in a champion finding they’re not really working with you as you like and having a decision-maker connection gone cold that you simply can’t reactivate.
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