Getting Multi-Threaded: Moving from Analog to Digital at LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016

linkedin sales connect network relationships

In 2014, CEB published a statistic that has become most synonymous in representing the complex selling world we live in:

“There are 5.4 buyers involved to win a deal.”

And, we learned that deals die without organizational consensus, which is hard to achieve.

However, beneath this statistic, at this year’s LinkedIn Sales Connect we found there is more to the story. Here are a few additional stats worth considering:

  • 1 in 5 decision makers turn over every year
  • C-level buyers turn over every 2.5 years
  • 1 in 4 reps you hire will not last the year

As a result, according to Mike Derezin, VP Sales at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, 40% of your deals are at risk and you likely don’t even realize it. Why? Because you are “single-threaded“.

Single-threaded means one point of communication or influence on both sides of a communication stream.

  1. The rep at your company
  2. The key stakeholder in your account

As a result, your deal is more prone to fail when one of those nodes “goes down.”

Before the internet changed everything, the world was single-threaded. That is no longer the case. Easy access to information and streamlined communication has created an increasingly connected world. In sales, this dynamic has resulted in the formation of buying committees where everyone needs to say yes, or the deal dies in status quo. Or worse, it is lost to a competitor.

Multi-threaded means there are multiple nodes in which you connect into the account AND vice-versa. There is no single point of failure in your ability to influence a deal.

Take Qualtrics, a leader in customer experience solutions and social selling early adopter. They found that in deals they won, they followed 3x more contacts in the account than in deals they lost. Following more contacts inevitably led to engaging more contacts using social selling techniques, which inevitably led to an increased number of customer conversations to share the value proposition, tailored for each particular buyer.

It turns out the best reps know how to do this intuitively – tailoring is a quintessential Challenger skill – but many organizations still do not effectively equip their reps to go talk to different personas. Sure, marketing may create those personas and even generate content, but how a rep communicates the value of their solution to IT vs. Marketing can be the difference between advancing to the next stage or having the deal die in dysfunction. Add in the complexity of talking to numerous C-level buyers and the challenge is truly significant.

That complexity by itself would be enough to take on, but still there is more.

In a multi-threaded world, enabling the Rep is actually just half the equation. Within your own company, multi-threaded means you have multiple contacts touching an account as well. Play this forward. The implication is that the next generation sales team is not what we know today. It is actually the entire company that will play some role. Every employee needs to be equipped to some extent to further your position inside an account or the full promise of being multi-threaded cannot be realized.

If you believe that the world will only become increasingly networked, then multi-threading is an obvious place to invest today. If so, asking how we arm those coming in contact with the different personas within the account to effectively engage is an essential capability that will lead to developing a competitive advantage vis-à-vis your competitors.

The genie is out of the bottle. Are you ready to not just survive but thrive in a multi-threaded world? If you have a perspective on this issue, leave me a note in the comments section below.

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