Contacting multiple decision makers in an organization at the same time is not a sales taboo. Many salespeople may be afraid to do so because they're worried it will come off as going behind the other contact's back. The truth is, more often than not, it is absolutely necessary.
Think about your daily patterns. Are you easy to get a hold of? Unless you're getting paid to sit around doing nothing all day, probably not. Now, think of your own organization: Do you only reach out to the SVP of sales every time you need a decision made? Or, do you sometimes find alternate routes, such as speaking with your sales managers and getting them on board with a decision, and then use that leverage to get the final sign-off?
You can't have your entire account-based selling strategy revolve around one person's schedule. That person may be overwhelmed and have no time to speak with you. If you're selling marketing communications software, for example, you may reach out to the Director of Marketing, Director of Communications, Head of Funnel Marketing, or Chief Marketing Officer. Simple probability indicates you're more likely to get in touch with the organization if you reach out to more relevant people.
Be Transparent When Reaching Out
The trick is to not conceal what you're doing. When you reach out to the Director of Marketing, let him or her know that you were also trying to connect with the Head of PR. Show transparency of intent by telling them something like: "Based on my experience working with other organizations, we usually have multiple decision-makers involved in the process. That's why I've reached out to [insert name here] as well."
In one scenario, you might get a follow-up in which one contact replies that you should actually connect with the colleague you mentioned you were also trying to connect with and CC's said colleague on the chain, giving you an "in" with to the right decision-maker.
Other times, going after multiple decision-makers can speed up the sales process, as you've connected with all the people involved upfront instead of going around in circles trying to find everyone who should be included in the sales conversation. You can quickly get everyone on the same page, saving you, and the decision-makers, time and frustration.
So go ahead. Reach out to multiple decision-makers. Just make sure they're aware you're doing so.
Jill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillkonrath.
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