More Stakeholders = More Sales & Marketing Complexity in 2013

As you engage with prospects, it is clear that each sale is becoming more complex.  One of the key factors for the recent increase in your sales complexity is the significant rise in the number of stakeholders for each purchase decision – growing 40% compared to just three years ago according to IDC.

For the typical IT decision, the average number of stakeholders has risen steadily from five per average decision in 2010, to over 7 in 2012. And the increase shows no signs of abating.

In our recent ValueStory™ roadshows, attendees have confirmed a dramatic increase in not just the number of stakeholders involved, but the variety. Decisions that used to involve a limited set of technical decision makers now include several business group leaders, finance and procurement at the table, and more executive reviews and layers of approvals in the background.
As the numbers of stakeholders have increased, attendees indicated a proportionate increase in selling complexity, with significantly more sales time needed per deal, more stalled deals and longer sales cycles.

Complexity is driven by the different goals and challenges, and different needs and requirements of each of your buyer’s stakeholders. Each stakeholder expects your sales professionals to deliver just the right information they need to help them make a decision, and each perceives the value of your proposed solutions uniquely.

How different are your stakeholder’s needs? IDC surveyed just over 200 organizations in the annual 2012 Buyer Experience Study, indicating that Financial Justification /ROI is by far the most important content for C-Level / Financial Executives and LOB stakeholders. For IT stakeholders, Financial Justification  / ROI is important, but is slightly eclipsed by Product Features, Product Demos or Proof of Concept and Product / Service Reviews and Test Results.

 Value is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but many of your sales professionals have not stepped up to deliver the unique value messaging and quantification that each unique stakeholder demands. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, the inability to deliver value messaging remains the number one challenge for sales making quota – this for the second year in a row.

To address the issue, you have to arm your sales professionals with the tools and content to make communicating and quantifying your value to prospects, and to do so for each unique stakeholder.

So, the big questions:
  • Do you have the right value messages and quantification relevant to each stakeholder?
  • Do you make it easy for sales professionals to communicate and quantify the unique value per stakeholder?
  • Can your sales professionals credibly quantify your buyer’s pain, justify proposed gains and prove you are not the same?

If you think your sales teams could do better, here are some important guides that can help you address the Stakeholder Complexity Dilemma in 2013:

·       SiriusDecision SiriusIndex 2011-2012


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