Written by Sean McPheat |
You’ll be well aware of the different levels of stakeholders in the companies you are dealing with. It will be good to categorise these so you can plan how to make each of these levels’ lives easier so it makes sense for them to choose you.
The different levels will be involved in the search, evaluation, purchase and use of your products or services. Each different job will have its own needs, desires, requirements, benefits and advantages. The power that each person has can have a larger or lesser effect on the end decision. This is why it’s so important to determine the most important levels for you, your product and what it will do for the company in the future.
Depending on the size and sector of the company you are dealing with, the needs will be different. Here are five possible levels, plus an additional one that has to be taken into account.
These are people within the business who may have a say in the decision-maker’s mind. Their influence is normally informal, but their opinions and views may sway other people in making the final solution.
These will be in the picture when the searching and evaluation of solutions will be taking place. The processes may take a few minutes or years. It depends on what the business’s current situation is, but if you can influence these people during the search phase, you have more control over the final outcome.
These are often in the procurement division and their sole purpose is to gain the best value for the company. Their views are driven by budgetary efficiencies and financial performance of the product or service. They have to have proof that your solution will benefit their company more than any of your competitors.
Naturally, this person or group of people is ultimately responsible for the choice of the solutions, having been affected by the groups above. They usually have final responsibility over the budget.
These would be the beneficiaries of the final solution. They could be within the company or externally, tying results of the product to the performance of the business buying the products or services. They could be active or passive in the decision-making formulas, and this would influence the amount of say they have in the final choice by the decision makers.
These are people who can obstruct or damage the process of choice, sometimes for their own hidden reasons, personal or business. They can influence people at all the above levels and it is necessary to find out if there could be these kinds of people within the sales process, so you have options to deal with them.
You’ll probably find the decision-makers will be within the company, but any other level could be within or outside the company. Your job will be to support each level in the way they evaluate your solution and assist them in making their jobs easier. This will help them and you in providing solutions and results for their business and end users.
Originally published: 8 December, 2014