#ThursdayThoughts – Champion is More Important Than Decision Maker

Hey, everybody. My name is Garrett Mehrguth. I’m the CEO at Directive, and I’m excited to chat with you about how we need to think a little differently about who our target market is. So what we’re gonna talk about today is that champion is greater than decision-maker. So much of the time when we’re working with clients, or even when I’m thinking about my own market, and who my ideal customer persona is, we love to talk about the C-Suite. And we love to talk about the directors and the executives. But the reality is if you’re selling into mid market or enterprise companies where they have fully built-out business units internally, and then you’re supporting them externally with your services, or consulting, or product, the champion is more important than the decision-maker. Now the reason the champion is more important than the decision-maker is because of how organizations actually buy. Let me walk you through a reality, especially if you’re getting leads from search. Now what I want you to understand is that how organizations buy depends on what channel they’re buying from. So I’m gonna be speaking from the lens of how organizations buy products and services when discovering them through search engines, via SEO, PPC, or content. And the way it most traditionally works is a decision-maker essentially asks your champion, their manager, the person who reports directly into them, to go out there and do some research, you know, “SEO is a priority for us in 2019. I’d like for you to get three quotes from SEO agencies and then, you know, present to me your final findings. Or get five quotes and present to me your final two agencies. Let’s bring them into the office. Let’s fly them out here or let’s, you know, fly out to them or let’s set up a Zoom call, and let’s really decide based off those final three or two agencies.”

And so what really happens is that manager goes out and they search “top SEO agencies,” “best ERP software.” Then they go look at reviews. They start to compare things, because they have a big case of CYA. They need to cover their own ass essentially to make sure that the suggestions they are presenting to their boss are valuable. And so while you’re all worried about the decision-maker, the reality is the best decision maker’s actually the champion. We need to be discovered by the champion. We need to sell into the champion, and we need to build trust with the champion, because that is the core of what happens. They are the one who decides which product, which service, which agency to go with. So we have to ask ourselves, who do organizations trust more? Do they trust us, the person selling them, or do they trust the in-house person who’s been doing their research? And so, if you’re selling past the champion, and into the decision-maker, you’re alienating your greatest leverage or chances of closing a deal.

You’re forgetting about the person who matters most, and that’s the champion, because that’s the person who at the end of the day has more influence than you do in the buying decision of the decision-maker. And so we need to have marketing materials that support the champion. We need to have messaging that supports the champion. We need to be aware of comparison shopping, despite being B2B or enterprise or massive, people are all comparison shopping. I call this the Yelp and the Amazon affect. People don’t buy products without looking at reviews for their everyday life. People don’t eat food without looking at every day reviews. They don’t make… And remember, how much does an Amazon product cost on average? Probably less than $100. How much does a restaurant cost on average? Probably less than $25 a plate. Yet, you think somehow, and this is what we constantly see as customers, our clients believe, a lot of times before engaging with us, that people don’t value reviews as much when making bigger decisions. And that’s not true. So the quicker you can surface references, aka third-party reviews, that’s gonna help endear you to your champion who’s gonna be incredibly influential in getting things from the opportunity stage to the deal stage, and finally to that revenue point. And then lastly, what happens when you win the deal? Well, you’re gonna…should be, maybe not, maybe you’re not necessarily, but you should be worried about the success of every contract your sell.

And success, especially in the consulting business, is not based on our recommendations. It’s based on an in-house ability, the in-house team then buying into our recommendations. Their ability to execute. So what I like to say is the success of Directive’s clients isn’t based on Directive, it’s based on the client. And now we need to do the best we can to empower them. And what better way to pour into and build up the relationship with the champion, the person you’re gonna be working with every day once that contract closes?

So, in closing, success is champion-driven. Yes, the decision-maker signs the contract, but if we looked at the time we spend with champion and decision-maker, not only in the sales process, but also in the lifecycle of the relationship, I can’t stress how important it is for you to have the perspective as a marker that the champion is the most important, not the decision-maker. We should be targeting the champion with our ads. We should be speaking language that resonates with the champion, and we should have materials that supports that champion so that they look great internally. Thanks, and remember, champion is more important than decision-maker.


Garrett Mehrguth
CEO & Co-Founder
Twitter: @gmehrguth
LinkedIn: Garrett Mehrguth

Music: http://www.hooksounds.com

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