Welcome to the modern sales world, where digital transformation is redefining every aspect of the selling process.
Take the entry of millennials into the workforce for instance. Millennials have taken center stage as decision-makers. 73% of millennials are actively engaging in the decision-making process. One-third of them serve as the department’s lead decision-maker.
But 44% of millennial buyers prefer minimal contact with sellers during the buying process. They prefer to do their own research and spend as little as 5% of their time with a seller.
That’s not all.
The Great Reshuffle is sending ripples across industries. Employees are moving around job roles to find what suits them best. Naturally, job transitions among buyers are high, with a 31% increase YOY from July to September 2021.
Sellers aren’t far behind, with 39% changing jobs. And it’s adversely affecting sales deals, big time.
With buying committees becoming increasingly millennial-driven and buyers changing jobs so often, sales reps are struggling to establish strong relationships with their buyers.
One way to navigate this environment is through multithreading. This article will tell you how multithreading in sales can help your sales teams overcome these challenges and close more deals – faster and more effectively.
Buying is Not a Solo Act
Today’s B2B buyer is not an individual but a “buying group.” According to a Forrester survey, 94% of respondents sold to a group of three or more individuals, while 38% sold to groups of 10 or more buyers.
Gartner also found that the number of buyers has increased from 5 to 20 in the last ten years.
This illustrates that the decision to invest in a product or service is not a single person’s job. Instead, it takes multiple rounds of discussions with different stakeholders across departments to make a purchase decision.
Let’s consider technology sellers as an example.
The sales process for technology has moved beyond the IT function. Those outside IT influence 63% of technology purchase decisions. Decision-making now includes other departments such as finance, business development, legal, and compliance.
Digital transformation has put buyers at the center of the process, leading to the buying committee becoming more extensive and diverse. As technology moves beyond functional silos, sellers need to adapt, too.
So, for a successful sale, you’ll need to have the C-suite, marketing, and other stakeholders on board. And remember, all of them value different things.
What does it take to achieve consensus within the buying group? An effective deal closure with “multithreading.”
What is Multithreading in Sales?
Multithreading is when sales reps connect and build relationships with multiple stakeholders in the buying committee of an account. It effectively increases the chances of closing deals even if the champion leaves the buyer organization.
Let’s understand with an example.
Your sales rep has directly connected with the person in charge of implementing your solution (commonly called the “champion”) within their organization. This relationship took several months to nurture and build trust. Suddenly, the champion quits their job for a better opportunity.
What’s your rep’s next point of action?
Your rep may reach out to the new champion. But they have to nurture this relationship for a few more weeks or months to close the deal. There you have it, a delayed sales deal.
In another scenario, there’s no immediate replacement champion identified by your rep yet, and in the meanwhile, the buying committee decides to go ahead with another solution. This turns into a lost deal.
But if your rep multithreads with all the stakeholders of the buying committee, they have a higher chance of closing the deal even when a key stakeholder quits an organization.
Risks of Single Threading
Despite its effectiveness, sales reps shy away from multithreading and assume it’s a complicated process. Instead, they end up choosing single threading.
That is, reps connect and sell to only one person from the buying organization. A LinkedIn study shows that 78% of the sales reps are single-threaded.
The single-threading approach appears less complicated on the surface and may create a stronger relationship with one client. But there are significant downsides to it.
Single threading is the conventional way of one seller interacting with one buyer. It overly relies on one individual from each side (buyer and seller) to see the deal through. But the moment one of them leaves, the sales process is disrupted.
Moreover, a seller loses solid rapport with the buyer when one of them exits the deal. They need to start the process from scratch, leading to longer sales cycles, higher churn rates, and lower win rates.
Take this for numbers. As per LinkedIn, around 25% of buyers change their jobs every year. The result? 80% of sellers admit that at least one deal was lost or delayed due to a prospect or key stakeholder changing jobs. These numbers become significant when considering the loss in revenue.
But you can combat this with a multithreaded approach.
Deploy Multithreading in Sales
Here are six things to check off your list for successful multithreading in sales.
1. Build an account map
Gone are the days when you’d call up Gary from the marketing department, invite him over for lunch and close a deal within the week. Today, it’s the entire buying committee – Gary plus others.
So, how do you identify which stakeholders concern you and their priorities? For starters, you build a map and visualize connections between various stakeholder pain points and your solution.
Next, understand their pain points that could drive demand for your solution. If they have an existing solution, what’s their need for a new one, and why they must consider you.
It’s also helpful to understand the influence a given stakeholder has on the overall decision-making process, how long the organization’s buying cycle is, the stages included, and how strong their buying intent is.
2. Multithread early
Now that you have an account map, reach out to the key decision-makers. LinkedIn is your friend here, but you can move one step ahead and use different ways to connect with prospects.
One way is to look at case studies of buyers or their competitors. Case studies generally list challenges the organization faces and how they’re solved. But it’s also where you can find key stakeholders by looking at names, designations, and quotes. Next, look for similar roles in your target account, and boom, you’ve found your decision-makers.
Another way to find decision-makers is to enlist support from your executives. For example, when going over deal reviews, you can tap into their professional network and have them introduce you to relevant stakeholders. Not only will this allow you to make industry connections, but also give you a fresh perspective on your deal.
Alternatively, you can connect with the champion and have them introduce you to those on the buying committee.
Once you’ve connected, set up an initial discussion with a fixed agenda. This meeting will give you firsthand insights into each individual’s roles and responsibilities. You can then introduce your product.
When you’re multithreading in sales, keep in mind that you’re presenting to multiple stakeholders. It’s best to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and let the committee see customized solutions for various departments. Explain how your solution can impact a marketing priority, save hours of sales time, or otherwise deliver a quantifiable ROI to the C-suite with personalization.
3. Simplify the buying process
In the evolving sales landscape, 77% of buyers state their purchase journey is challenging and complex. There are multiple stakeholders involved, each coming in with their own set of information which may conflict with the group. Moreover, there’s an increasing number of purchase options, leaving buyers confused.
This situation presents an unlikely opportunity for multithreading in sales. Instead of focusing on selling, simplify the process by engaging with buyers.
Here’s how you can follow a buyer-first approach:
a. Learn first, define the problem next
Ask buyers what issues they’re facing and listen more than you speak. Buyers typically share their problems openly to find the best possible solution. Assimilate everything they share and then lay down the problem.
b. Share resources openly
When buyers have high-quality information at their disposal, they’re 26% more likely to purchase. Encourage open communication and share your knowledge as well as relevant resources, giving them the confidence to close the deal.
c. Aim to solve the problem, not sell
Don’t go down the obvious route and push your buyers to make a purchase. Taking from the previous point, you should also avoid an information overload so they don’t get overwhelmed. Act as trusted advisors instead of outright sellers.
d. Deliver value to build trust
Allow buyers to imagine the outcome rather than merely telling them about it. You’ll get their trust and, most likely, their name on the client roster if you articulate the ROI they obtain in real, measurable ways — whether that return is in earnings, time saved, or anything else the customer values.
e. Be open to detractors
Instead of assuming that all members of the buying committee will be impressed, prepare for criticisms. Also, you can welcome questions, suggestions, and concerns right away instead of waiting until you’re deep into the sales process.
4. Drive value
We understand that B2B customers seek it, but what is “value,” and how can multithreading in sales drive it?
Buyers can interpret “value” in multiple ways: optimized prices, compliance with regulations, seriousness about ethical practices, or solving for a unique pain point.
For some, value means meeting varying buying committee needs.
For instance, users have different needs compared to the buyer of the solution. You can align your solution to each business need to drive value. It also helps if you can show prospects how your previous customers benefited from your solution in the form of testimonials, reviews, or case studies.
Gartner’s research found that customers who received information from suppliers that helped advance their buying jobs were 2.8 times more likely to experience better purchase ease and 3 times more likely to go for a bigger deal with less regret.
But don’t just stop at deal closure. Drive value after that, too. Because as much as 57% of customers prefer vendors who also offer post-sales support like integration and enablement, and 47% select vendors based on previous experience.
5. Leverage your relationship with the champion
Even as you begin multithreading in sales with various stakeholders, don’t leave out your champion. Keep communication open. Champions will advocate for you within the buying group when too many decisions are to be made.
Continue nurturing your association with the champion. Go the extra mile and personalize your communication with them every time you connect. Find out how their problems pan out and offer help.
There are a few things you may have to be mindful of. The champion may get offended if you set up a meeting directly with another stakeholder without them introducing you both. In that case, you can invite the champion to sit in on your session. But avoid asking for permission as this opens up the chance for them to say “No.”
Another benefit of nurturing this relationship is that champions will advocate your solutions to other organizations. If they leave the buying organization, they may also approach you for their new company – expanding your prospect list.
In an untoward situation, if you can’t go through your champion, reach out to other possible champions and connect with them on LinkedIn. Alternatively, use your connections to see if you can acquire a warm introduction from anyone else. Emphasize the success you’ve already achieved within their company and how they may join forces.
6. Automate your sales tech
Nearly 7 in 10 buyers work remotely for more than half their time in the virtual sales world. But this is less than desirable for salespersons because 59% of them find remote work challenging.
To overcome these challenges, multithreading in sales needs tools that work with the B2B digital sales process. Tools that can capture insights from multiple communication platforms such as Slack, Email, Messaging, Phone Calls, Virtual Calls, and more.
Revenue intelligence tools assist sellers in tracking prospects, mapping out the buying committee, figuring out what matters most to them, and staying informed about essential account updates. These data points pave the road for long-term engagement with key decision-makers.
What’s more? When team members change roles or leave a company, valuable account information doesn’t go with them. An updated CRM provides sales leaders with an account overview even after the champion exits the deal.
And sales reps, who have deployed technology in their selling process, agree. 93% of sellers confirm that sales tools enable more robust relationships with buyers, while 94% say they help them close more deals.
Now that you know how to deploy multithreading in sales for success, also note mistakes to avoid when multithreading.
Multithreading in Sales: What Not to Do
Even though multithreading in sales has several advantages, it can go wrong when not implemented properly. Here are some mistakes to avoid when multithreading.
- Starting multithreading too late is one of the most common mistakes sales reps make. For example, if you’re selling a marketing solution involving the IT department, you risk losing the deal if the IT team joins the contract near completion and disapproves of it. On the other hand, if you’d involved the IT team from the get-go, you could have addressed any disagreements early on.
- Another mistake most sales reps commit is to stop conversing with the first contact once other stakeholders come in. Always honor your champion so they can advocate for you in return.
- Not understanding the priorities and needs of the prospects individually and the company as a whole stunts the multithreading process. Knowing your buying committee through and through helps resolve nearly all problems.
Win More Deals With Multithreading in Sales
New problems necessitate innovative solutions, and multithreading in sales is a viable option in the current virtual selling landscape. B2B companies leveraging multithreaded engagements will see revenue growth outperforming their competition by as much as 50% by 2026.
You can close more deals with multithreading by staying connected to key stakeholders of the buying process. It also helps overcome uncertainty when the champion or the sales rep leaves the transaction. An added benefit is it gives you new perspectives and improves your solutions for diverse buyer needs.
Multithread Better With Nektar’s Unified Activity Capture Solution
Undoubtedly, the main goal of multithreading in sales is to close more deals and drive more revenue. Data-driven insights undoubtedly play a key role in making multithreading a successful practice.
For your multithreading efforts, Nektar’s unified activity capture solution gives you a score that tells you how qualitative is your rep’s engagement with critical stakeholders of the buying committee.
Nektar automatically aggregates all information about your buying committee. It also captures new stakeholders as they enter your conversations. It gives you a clear view of your organizational chart, level of engagement with buyers and where different stakeholders are in the buying journey. With powerful and real-time buying committee information, your reps can multithread better.