Depth Is the Secret to Sales Success

Going deep inside an organization is how you discover the best way to deliver value.

network mining

photo credit: henry… via photopin cc

It’s an essential prospecting skill, it’s an essential survival skill and it’s how you get and stay ahead of every deal and every competitor.

How many accounts have been lost over the years because a salesperson had a great relationship with a buyer, only to see that buyer move on?

By mining social networks to get a bigger view of your “buyer’s world” you can start to build relationships around them and potentially uncover new opportunities. If you’ve built an advocate in your original relationship, you may find that this approach makes it easier for them to open doors for you rather than simply asking them to make a referral.

It may not make sense for you to build a relationship with your contact’s boss’s boss, but it may be a very smart play for you to connect your boss’s boss with that person.

Social networks, such as LinkedIn, are very good at revealing connections between individuals as well as highlighting the basis of the connection. This information can become very valuable as you begin to work on a targeted prospect or try to win more business inside an existing customer’s organization.

Another very important reason for going deeper into organizations is to understand how a deal really happens. Have you ever had one of those deals just grind to a halt and eventually fade away just when everything seemed to be going great – your client was all thumbs up and talking about getting the PO ready to go?

Chances are the deal was killed by stakeholders you were not aware of – and the bigger the organization, the more stakeholders involved.

If you’re selling a software solution to a purchasing department, there’s a really, really good chance that IT, Sales, Operations and maybe even Finance are going to have a say in the who, what, when and where of the deal.

Use social networks to construct company “stakeholder maps” and start connecting with and understanding those crazy guys in IT as part of your mining. This doesn’t mean you’re going to start pitching everyone in the organization, but there’s a good chance that you can actually help your “buyer” better understand the real buying process better when you take this kind research approach. (That sounds like adding value and insight doesn’t it?)

In fact, I believe sales organizations should start compensating sales folks for this skill and action alone – over and about closed deals.

And that in the end is the job of sales today – to go deep inside an organization to discover the best way to deliver value.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Chellemie Mar

    This is so true. keep up the great post!

  • Stephen Lahey

    As someone who has sold professional services to both major corporations and small businesses for 20 years, I think that you are spot on. One reason that I started working for myself in 2000 because I held a similar perspective to yours, but my employer did not. I wanted to approach account development from the standpoint of strategic value creation. Great message, John!

  • Rosemary ONeill

    This is definitely the “secret sauce.” It’s important to keep your ears open wide whenever you’re talking with the initial contact and then follow up with those relationships. When the contact mentions “we’ll meet next week to discuss…” you need to find out who is “we.” Sometimes I like to say something like, “should I be copying anyone else with this email?” You can also use tools like Rapportive to get a better view on folks who are copied into email chains by your contact.