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  • Writer's picturePatrick Monnot

5 Ways to Better Manage Stakeholders in Enterprise Deals

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Enterprise deals are becoming increasingly complex to close. With more stakeholders and longer deals, it is becoming difficult for sellers to know who, when, and how to engage stakeholders. There are a few ways that will help sales reps set themselves up for success to improve the odds of closing a deal.

The Growing Complexity of Enterprise Sales

For many B2B organizations, the sales function has always been core to the company - their growth engine. It’s historically been a well-understood function, with playbooks, best practices, and models existing to architect a scalable revenue machine. However, the buying landscape has been changing quickly and it’s pushing sellers to adapt consequently.

  • Customers are more informed and they have increasing expectations.

  • New technologies are constantly emerging

  • Markets are constantly evolving and customers' needs are too

The bottom line is that enterprise sales is becoming more and more complex, with an increasing number of stakeholders involved in any deal and lengthening sale cycles.

It lands on sellers to navigate that complexity and to quarterback the buying process both for their prospects and their internal team. One of the main reasons why B2B deals are lost (or get stuck in the funnel) is that salespeople don’t engage with the right person, at the right point in the sales cycle, and in the right way. And it’s understandable - it is very nuanced for every deal and there is no clear-cut answer.

No matter how much we like to believe that the best product wins, people buy from people. That’s what it comes down to.

However, there are a few tips that sales reps can follow to more easily manage stakeholders through an enterprise deal and improve the

1. Find Your Champion

Finding a champion is often critical in closing any enterprise deal. A good champion is someone who supports your solution, advocates for your value proposition, and ultimately will be your #1 ally to navigate the buyer’s purchasing process.

They are a useful asset for any salesperson, providing valuable insights into the needs and challenges the company faces (why they’re looking for a solution like yours) and helping to identify other stakeholders to involve throughout the sales cycle.

But how do you identify a champion? Finding a champion requires understanding the prospect's organizational structure, but also the influence structure: understanding whose opinion/influence weighs more in the decision to launch a new program. Your champion may vary based on the type of solution you sell, how an organization is structured, and internal dynamics. Find someone who’s influential, supportive, and aligned with your solution.

You should aim to build a strong relationship with your champion by listening to their feedback and going above and beyond to support them. This is the person who’ll give you flying recommendations in your next customer case study. By finding and nurturing your champion, you can increase your chances of successfully closing the deal.

2. Do Proper Diligence

The best sellers thrive to deeply understand their prospects and how to articulate the value of their offering in the context of the organization. You have to know what you are getting yourself into before getting out over your skis. Conducting in-depth diligence involves asking the right questions and looking for alternate sources of information to go below the surface-level, basic information. Here are a few things you should be looking for:

  1. Key stakeholders: their roles, their relationships, and their agenda

  2. Decision-making process: the main decision criteria, and potential risks/roadblocks/fears.

  3. Existing solutions: status quo is often your biggest competition

  4. Compelling events: what has been happening throughout the company or the industry

You can be using a sales methodology framework, like MEDDPIC to conduct your diligence/qualification. It will help you evaluate the opportunity of an enterprise deal through criteria such as economic impact, budget, evaluation criteria, decision-making process, business pain points, priorities, and more.

By doing proper diligence, sellers can better tailor their approach to meet the prospects’ needs but also identify potential bottlenecks early and mitigate them before they blow up your team. This can increase the chances of successful deal closure and pave the way for long-term partnerships with the customer.

3. Implement a multi-threading approach

In modern-day B2B deals, especially for enterprise customers, there can be more than 15 stakeholders involved throughout the sales cycle.

Multi-threading refers to the process of engaging with multiple stakeholders simultaneously to accelerate the decision-making process. The traditional approach is to engage one stakeholder at a time, in a sequential way, but this has proven to be ineffective and slow. This is the agile way to do sales. It allows to:

  • Accelerate the sales cycle

  • Reduce the risks of being blindsided halfway through a deal

  • Develop a better understanding of priorities across the org and play it to your advantage.

Before getting into it, you should have a clear plan of action: who you will reach out to, how you will reach out to them, and what is the core messaging strategy. Like a quarterback, you’re expected to lead the go-to-market effort, pulling in folks from solution engineering, product, marketing, and customer success. Make sure your game plan is prepared!

4. Tailor Your Value Proposition to each Stakeholder

As mentioned previously, there are multiple stakeholders involved in any B2B sales deal. Every stakeholder you speak to is like a unique sale - where you have to demonstrate how your product is a good fit for them.

However, each one stakeholder has their own agendas and views of the world and you should tailor your offering’s value proposition accordingly. It all comes down to understanding what makes your product valuable to them SPECIFICALLY and adjusting your messages consequently. The “4 Ws” frame is a great way to customize your value proposition;

  • What are their current needs?

  • What are their challenges?

  • What are their desires?

  • What are they trying to overcome?

Focus on the specific benefits and outcomes that your solution can deliver for each stakeholder. For example, decision-makers may be most interested in cost savings and increased revenue, while end-users may be more concerned with usability and productivity. Make sure to communicate these benefits clearly and concisely.

It is also important to create a sense of urgency around the deal. One way is to emphasize the risks and costs of inaction. Use benchmark and case studies to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) for your solution, and be prepared to address objections that may arise.

5. Leverage Analytics to Build a Solid Account Plan

The #1 reason, within a sales team’s control, why B2B sales deals are lost is that they don’t engage the right stakeholders, at the right time, and in the right way; the main excuse being that “every deal is unique and that there isn’t a way how to play it out.

Every team is sitting on a gold mine and doesn’t even realize it. The main asset: is data.

Most sales data - CRM records, activities information, win/loss analysis, call recordings - can help to identify winning trends across your pipeline. The learnings from one deal can most often be applied to another. It is an opportunity to help sellers understand WHO to engage WHEN to engage, and HOW to engage prospects.

Predictive analytics gives you an edge to clone your top performers, ramp up new sellers faster, and improve overall quota attainment in your team. Interesting AI use cases that can help your salespeople to build a smarter account plan.

  • Cross-sell / up-sell opportunities

  • Contact recommendations

  • Intent analysis

  • Engaging content recommendations.

For example: if your seller is stuck on a deal and hasn’t connected with the VP of Ops (who’s an important stakeholder in other deals in similar industries), you can generate a recommendation to your seller with an auto-generated outreach email.

About Pod

At Pod, we make it crazy easy for B2B sellers to manage their pipeline. We guide reps with winning playbooks and generated content to understand who, when, and how to engage stakeholders and improve their win rate. Reps using Pod close more deals faster - it's that simple.


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