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5 Crucial Tips for Selling to Multiple Decision-Makers

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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5 MIN. READ

In 2013, the average number of decision-makers in any given buying group was 5.4. In 2017, that number increased to 6.8. Today, many buying groups feature as many as ten players.

Here's the bottom line: selling B2B products and services - in any market - is more challenging than ever before. The manufacturing industry is no exception.

Today, we'll be covering how salespeople and marketers in the manufacturing industry can effectively handle buying groups with multiple decision-makers.

The Power Dynamic Has Changed

Here's a list of the decision-makers you may find in a manufacturing buying group*:


• Plant Manager
• President
• President, CEO
• Maintenance Manager
• Owner
• Owner & President
• Engineering Manager
• CEO
• Owner & CEO
• Maintenance Supervisor
• Plant Operations Manager
• Purchasing Manager
• Operations & Plant Manager
• Operations Manager
• CFO
• Director, Engineering
• Plant Engineer
• Purchasing Agent
• Owner, President & CEO
• Engineering & Maintenance Manager
• Director, Safety
• Human Resources Manager
• Controller
• President, CFO
• Safety Manager
• Safety Coordinator
• Director, Human Resources
• Director, Operations
• Facilities Manager
• Vice-President, Engineering

(*These titles are all available to IndustrySelect subscribers. Click here to learn more.)

If you're thinking, "Wow, that's a long list," you're right. Having a diverse buying group allows companies to assess the overall value of a product or service more accurately.

Unfortunately, it also removes most of the bargaining power salespeople once had in the buying process. Today, 68% of decision-makers research products or services online independently before meeting with a sales rep. Many of those decision-makers - around 60% - would prefer to avoid dealing with a sales rep at all.

Prescriptive Sales - The Key to Modern B2B Sales

Clients in the manufacturing industry don't want to deal with sales reps that waltz into their office and hard-sell a product or service.

Investments in this industry require a significant amount of capital. Additionally, any investment a manufacturer makes has the potential to affect every other aspect of its operations either negatively or positively.

For example, if a defective product causes a problem in the engineering department, that issue will also adversely affect the production and QA departments.

To break through, you'll need to employ prescriptive selling techniques. In a prescriptive sales strategy, the sales rep doesn't hard-push a product or service.

Instead, they work with clients to identify pain points and give them objectively valuable insider advice to help the client address those pain points - even at the cost of a sale.

Utilizing prescriptive sales will help boost your brand image and differentiate you from competitors. It will also help you retain clients longer.

Understand Who Really Influences the Buying Decision

Once you've got a prescriptive sales strategy, you need to identify who really holds the influence in the buying group.

For example, let's say your buying group includes a CEO, a CFO and a Safety Director. Your product or service is specifically intended to make workplaces safer.

In this scenario the Safety Director should be your primary target. Although their title carries less weight than that of the CEO, they'll be calling the shots for safety-related investments.

For any sale, you should always arrange your targets by level of influence. Find out who will be most affected by the product or service you offer, and address their pain points first.

Have an Internal Championachievement-3612401__340

Every sale you push should have an internal champion attached to it. The internal champion is somebody within the buying group who will champion your product to other buyers.

Think back to how 60% of decision-makers don't even want to interface with sales reps. An internal champion allows you to skirt that issue by having a resource other than the sales rep who will advocate for the product or service.

Ideally, you should have your internal champion set up before you even start to meet with the buying group. Make connections with potential internal champions through networking to build a rapport. If you can't accomplish that, try to make the primary influencer in your buying group your internal champion. If you're able to sell them on your product or service, you'll have a decision-maker on your side whose opinion holds weight in the buying decision.

Find the Winning Compromise

Today, few sales deals get done without compromise from both parties.

The key is facilitating an agreement that allows the salesperson to maintain a good deal while simultaneously making the buying group happy.

If you've applied the tips in this article to your sales process, you should have no issues coming to a winning compromise with the buying group. But if you feel like you need an extra push, why not try out IndustrySelect?

Subscribers receive up to 30 data points, including contact information and key data for hard-to-reach decision-makers. To learn more or sign up for a free demo, visit our website.

Read more >> Perfecting The Sales Pitch (3-Part Series)

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