When you applied for college, did you only submit one application?
When you bought a car, did you only test drive one car?
When you were looking for a job, did you only apply to one company?
My bet is that you didn’t. By default, that would only decrease your chances of obtaining the end result that you were looking for.
So when it comes to sales, why is it that most sales reps single-thread their target accounts and deals?
With B2B sales more complex than ever before, one-to-one selling has become one-to-many. Multi-threading is crucial to increase your chances of penetrating a deal, minimize ghosting, and accelerate your sales cycle.
Getting started multi-threading can be intimidating, though. Who do you reach out to? And how do you keep track of all of those relationships? That’s what we’re going to get into today.
In a study conducted by Microsoft, sales professionals who multi-threaded (engaged with more than one decision-maker) rather than single-threaded their deals experienced a 34% lift in win rate and a 10% decrease in total deal cycle length.
What sales team wouldn’t jump at the chance to close more deals faster?
While that question may seem rhetorical, it appears that many sales professionals really aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity. A surprising 78% of sales professionals were connected to only one person (or no one at all) at the account they’re working. Only 7% were multi-threading and connected to six or more people at their account.
Multi-threading does require more time and effort on a rep’s part, but today’s sales environment practically requires it.
According to a SiriusDecisions’ study, there are now six to ten people involved in purchases of $500,000 or more. And not only are there more decision-makers involved, but there is more diversity among them.
B2B influencers are scattered across divisions and functions. For example, 39% of buyers say the role of executives in purchasing decisions has grown, 37% say the role of operations has grown, and 33% say the role of finance has increased.
In other words, you can no longer rely on shooting the breeze with Joe from sales to take a deal across the finish line — you need to know Joe’s boss, Sally from finance, Carol from operations, Sean from marketing, and as many others as possible to effectively penetrate an account.
But deal complexity isn’t the only factor necessitating multi-threading. You also need to take turnover into account.
One in five decision makers leave an organization every year, which means it’s crucial you have more than one advocate at an organization. If your one champion leaves, your deal can suddenly be at risk. In fact, when that happens, 24% of forecasted deals go dark.
The Modern, Multi-Thread Framework
Clearly, multi-threading is a strategy worth investing in. But make sure you and your team get the best bang for your buck by going about it the right way.
I recommend focusing on the modern-selling outreach framework as you think about multi-threading..
1. Target the full buying committee.
Determine the account’s key players and identify the 10 people who influence the primary decision makers you’re going to target. Save them as “Leads” in LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Create an account map (or relationship map) outlining these decision makers/influencers and the relationships between them.
Be sure to include important details like their title, their role in the decision-making process, and the person they report to. Keep this account map updated throughout the buying cycle as you discover new information and develop new relationships.
2. Understand your buyers.
Now that you have the lay of the land do your homework on these key players. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, Discover Org, ZoomInfo, and other tools to listen and learn everything you can about the buyers’ and influencers’ pains, problems, and motivations.
Learn about their personal life, their business, and their industry.
Document your findings in your account map, so you and your team have a single source of truth.
3. Engage with your buyers
Now we get into the meat of actually building relationships with these different influencers.
Decide on three buyers you want to actively engage. These are the three you think will be most important to your current deal. But don’t forget the other seven you found — work on building trust with them, so you have their support when it comes time to make the purchase decision.
As you start to engage the three primary buyers/influencers, be an active listener, and gather more information. Ask questions that will help you provide the most value throughout the buyer’s journey.
Revenue Grid recommends asking questions such as:
Can you tell me a bit more about what you do?
What are your team’s main goals this year?
How did you hear about us?
What made you reach out?
Tell me about the solution you’re currently using. Why is it not working?
What other solutions are you considering?
Use an omnichannel approach. People prefer different channels of communication, so the more you diversify, the higher your chances of effectively reaching a larger bucket of people.
Use phone, social media, in-person meetings, video conferencing, email, chat, docs, spreadsheets, etc.
Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates, provides this example of a cadence that uses an omnichannel approach:
Day 1: Meet prospect at an event
Day 3: Email prospect with value add
Day 5: Call prospect, be prepared to leave a message
Day 8: Send a LinkedIn message to the prospect, asking to connect
Day 11: Follow a prospect on social media, like and comment on their content or company content
Day 13: Call prospect
Continue to schedule multiple touches over a 30-35-day time period.
To make your first interactions as successful as possible, remember this two-step formula. Start by appealing to the brain’s emotional (right) side by drawing from all your research to address their personal interests, find common connections, send relevant articles, etc.
Then you can talk to the logical (left) side of the brain and discuss insights, features, data, etc. related to your product.
Lastly, be persistent in your outreach. 54% of sales professionals say it takes more than five touchpoints to book an initial meeting.
4. Provide Value
While traditional selling focuses on discovery and pitching, this modern selling framework focuses on teaching and learning so you can truly understand the buyer and then talk about the value your product can provide them.
Educate your customer at every step of the buyer journey, focusing on their needs.
Use the storytelling framework to sell value and establish ROI. Start with a key statement, and then tell a story about a person who is similar to your buyer. Set up the pain point that must be solved and how it affects the main character personally. Show how your product solves the pain point, and state a key takeaway.
A HubSpot survey reports that 69% of buyers respond to primary research relevant to their business, so it’s important that you personalize your message to the buyer’s specific situation.
Provide relevant content that makes the decision easy for the buyer, such as case studies, ebooks, infographics, or ROI calculators. Dollarize the value your solution provides.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Don’t get bogged down by emails, activity logging, and data input. Instead, focus on spending time on your prospects and their needs, so you can effectively target, understand, and engage with the players you need to get a deal to the finish line.
Don’t focus on the one, focus on the many, and you’ll increase your chances of success drastically.
If you want to go deeper into how to close a multi-threaded deal, you can check out our other article: “Closing Multi-Threaded Deals: Know Who You Should Be Talking To By Asking 3 Important Questions.”