All of us know that a key part of any strategic account planning or opportunity sales pursuit process is to identify the key stakeholders and decision makers to better understand the organizational hierarchy. We spend a lot of time mapping out org charts for good reasons. However, org charts alone will not necessarily guide you to the right people with whom you want to have productive conversations and relationships
. You’ll need to look beyond org charts and titles for the bigger picture.
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find an org chart online. Sometimes the client provides it to us, and other times we have to painstakingly build it as we get to know the organization better.
But this single view of the organization is just one perspective that can be flat in nature. In most cases, the hierarchy allows us to understand how organizations are structured from their perspective. You get a better understanding of titles and who reports to whom. However, an org chart does not tell you who has influence in your account or your deal. To get the bigger picture, you want to understand who has the relationships to influence decisions. You want to know, for example, who has worked with whom in the past, who is married to someone within the same organization, or who has influence outside the organization, such as an alliance partner or consultant.
Many of us have tried to contact people higher up in the organization only to find out that the person with the big title had little to no influence. Or that there were internal or external relationships that could provide additional access due to their influence with respective people in the organization, not where they sat on the org chart. The benefit was not so much knowing who reported to whom, but rather, looking at the bigger picture to identify those who had influence in the strategic account planning or opportunity sales pursuit process.
Take things to the next level to best understand both internal and external influences. Share this knowledge with your selling team so they can better prepare for interactions with the client or prospect. And remember, knowledge is power in that it can help you differentiate yourself from your competition
. Happy selling.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
View my LinkedIn profile
Image courtesy of basketman