What is sales multi-threading, and why should you adopt this strategy?
Multi-threading in sales refers to strategically involving many stakeholders to close a deal. Conversely, a single-threaded deal takes place between only two entities: one on the sales side, and one on the buyer side, without intervention from other parties in the decision-making process.
In today’s more complex sales environment, the multi-threaded approach is preferable for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s rare for deals to be determined by just one player. More relevant entities on the buyer end means stronger backing and more proactive outreach is required on the sales side of the equation. Additionally, having just one individual seller on a deal can be risky in a time of high turnover. Should the only person working the deal decide to leave the team for another opportunity, it’s going to be difficult to transition between salespersons and salvage the relationship with the prospect. Another advantage is that multi-threading can help avoid asymmetrical interactions. For example, you can get stakeholders from the same leadership levels in touch with each other in order to more effectively persuade at each step of the buying process. This is a more logical alternative to having your junior reps engage with executives at the target buyer organization.
Advice on how to multi-thread effectively
Determine priorities and identify relevant decision-makers
Do you have a firm grasp of where your solution stands within the prospect’s and their wider organization’s list of concerns? If not, it’s time to do some research. Find out what exactly the company does, what its primary needs are, how your product could address these needs, and how the company relates to its competitors. Stakeholder mapping will also be essential to planning your multi-threaded approach, so do your due diligence and figure out who the pivotal stakeholders are and how their role would be relevant to the deal decision. Afterwards, prepare a tentative agenda for your discovery call, during which you can gather more intel and build on your preliminary research findings. At the end of the call, push for next steps, and explain how other stakeholders would benefit from being involved in each of these follow-up activities. Your pre-call research will have prepared you to confidently advocate for the inclusion of the right stakeholders at each appropriate stage.
Prep for and set up the demo
If step one went well, you’ve got your foot in the door and other important decision-makers from the buyer side will be joining the demo. Now it’s time to respond to the favorable developments by preparing your agenda and establishing the concrete follow-up steps for the next round of conversations, with the target being, for instance, a conversation between VPs across organizations. This preparation won’t differ a lot from previous work. The key bit is relaying who needs to connect, determining when it should ideally happen, and demonstrating why it’s productive for them to continue engaging with your organization.
Work with your leadership
Help your leadership prepare for calls with the buyer organization’s counterparts. Relay each stakeholder’s priorities so that your leaders are ready to offer relevant answers and necessary support. As mentioned earlier, it’s important that equivalent seniority levels are in touch with each other. It just won’t do for a single seniority category within your team to handle conversations at all levels, so make sure the right kinds of leaders remain in contact throughout the process.
Employ the best tools to your advantage
It’s difficult enough for sales reps to cultivate a relationship with one prospect. To prepare reps to bring in multiple decision-makers, empower your team with the best conversation intelligence tools available. Attention is an AI-powered software that tracks engagement and delivers instant feedback during live sales calls, allowing sales reps to understand how they are doing and what they can do to improve their performance, instantly. Proper sales training will help make your team’s multi-threading goals a reality.
Avoid the following errors
1. Forgetting to follow-up with your initial contact person
Once you branch out from your first connection and forge multiple relationships at the company, don’t forget to stay in touch with the first person you spoke with. Preserving the relationship with your initial point of contact will involve keeping them in the loop as the sale progresses and acknowledging their role in moving the deal forward.
2. Being late to the party, and lingering when it’s clearly over
Timing is everything. If it’s already evident the deal is not going to materialize, it’s likely too late to start multi-threading. Introducing a new set of characters is not going to salvage your sale, nor is it going to strengthen your relationship with a prospect you’ve been in contact with for a long time.
However if you take a multi-threading approach from the start, when team member X of a company has expressed the view that the problem your product is addressing is not particularly important to them, you can still shift gears and contact a member of their organization who is likely to have a different point of view about your value-add. If the next few targets also believe your product is not particularly relevant, pause and reevaluate your approach. There’s a point when it becomes exceedingly clear that it may be time to give up and turn your attention to a different organization, so save valuable time by being receptive to these cues.
3. Gaps in information sharing
All of the sales stakeholders involved in the multi-threaded sale must be prepared to answer what specific and real issue your product or service would be resolving for the prospect. Address any gaps in knowledge within your sales team to ensure everyone is well-informed on how your organization can support one of the potential buyer’s central goals. Having the right sales battlecard handy can help support struggling team members in the heat of the moment. To make such sales enablement content more accessible, use Attention, which recognizes voice cues to display the appropriate battlecard on reps’ screens during live chats.
4. Missing the point
This is a useful mistake to conclude with because it showcases what multi-threading is not. Inviting a group of people to attend an initial round of conversations and then neglecting to set up one-on-one calls between the different stakeholders is not multi-threading. Make sure these individual conversations are happening after connections are made – otherwise your team is really missing the point!
By employing the tips above, and avoiding certain careless mistakes, your multi-threading strategy can boost the likelihood of a deal being brought to fruition, and when used consistently, yield significant benefits for your team in the long-run.