Sales teams lose deals all the time due to lack of direct contact and influence with a key ‘unknown’ person on the buyer’s side… call him or her the mysterious ‘Influencer X’.
These key people are often in the form of external consultants, informal internal advisors, industry analysts, etc., and may in fact be late additions to the buying committee. They may not even actually be on the buying committee, yet their influence still weighs heavily via proxy.
Sales losses in this category are often last minute losses, where the sales team was very recently (and over-confidently) forecasting a 90+ percent success probability for the deal.
It’s often a rookie sales mistake, but even very experienced sales teams can lose deals unexpectedly when a key influencer is well disguised / hidden from view. And the subsequent internal ‘loss review’ with management can be pretty unpleasant for the sales account team, especially when the vendor was really counting on the deal to close.
Your sales team can directly influence only who your sales team knows directly. If an unknown Influencer X exists on the buyer’s side, you’ll obviously be in a much stronger position if that person enters into the buying process with an existing favorable impression of you as a solution vendor.
In other words, in the absence of direct sales influence, marketing influence may be the only difference-maker that can save the deal.
Originally published 27 February 2012 on iBeam Blog
David Kamm is Founder & Principal Consultant at iBeam Marketing Consulting