Welcome to the Winning the Challenger Sale (WTCS) webinar series, currently in its third season. With host Jen Allen, WTCS’s webinar invites sales professionals and commercial leaders to join lively and informative conversations inspired by the Challenger™ Sales Methodology playbook. Sellers, managers, coaches and sales leaders get practical advice and actionable insights about the day-to-day skills and behaviors that win in complex selling and buying environments.
EPISODE 7 Recap: Resolving Buying Group Conflict
During the past seven years, Challenger has studied the idea of group consensus and group buying. In this month’s episode of WTCS, “Resolving Buying Group Conflict,” Jen talks about the evolution of consensus and how to facilitate collective learning with the buying group. “Back in 2015, when The Challenger Customer came out, there was an average of 5.4 customer stakeholders involved in a buying decision,” Jen shared. “In 2020, just five years later, that number jumped up to 11.2.”
It is not to say every sale and transaction will have 11.2 stakeholders involved; Jen polled her own network and asked what the biggest number of stakeholders they’ve personally encountered in a B2B deal was—regardless of whether the deal was won or lost.
In that informal poll, the number of stakeholders came in usually significantly higher than 11.2. (Microsoft had 73!) Jen said, “Who knows how many people are involved behind the scenes [compared to] the ones they are directly engaging with.”
The evolution of consensus
Jen challenged viewers to think about why consensus buying has become an issue.
“In this environment, it’s not three people, but upward of 10 or 20 or 30 or even, 70.” Jen continued, “When you do the math and you think about having 10, 20, 30 separate conversations—scheduling that time, having those calls, sending follow-up, summarizing all of that—it is really easy to understand why a lot of these deals end up falling into no decision.”
Jen introduced a tips for mobilizing an internal champion and shared pointers for running an effective meeting:
- Prompting: Ask questions that surface information beyond what is already shared group knowledge.
- Bounding: Utilize the “parking lot” when discussions go off-the-rails.
- Summarizing/Mirroring: Active listening is key. Participants may be thinking of what they will say next. Play back the summary of the discussion.
- Transitions: Know your choreography.
Jen concluded by sharing a “cheat sheet” of common pitfalls and what to try instead. For instance: Your opening slide is all about you, what you do, what you sell, and who you work with, but you don’t want to make a weak first impression or have them lose interest fast.
Instead, try making sure you’re leading with the “problem.” Focus on the pain the potential buyer has already articulated and the size of the problem.
The next WTCS webinar, which is on the second Thursday of every month, is “Driving Urgency for Change.” It will air live on September 8, 2022. Register for this episode and the full series here.
To watch the full episode, “Resolving Buying Group Conflict,” view it here.
Want more ideas on how to win the sale? Catch the latest Winning the Challenger Sale podcast here. Recent and upcoming guests include Belal Batraway, Howard Brown, Luigi Prestinenzi (8/16), Charles Muhlbauer (8/23), Amy Hrehovcik (8/30).