Why You Need a Client Changemaker to Close Sales

I've been in Sales for 27 years and in that time I've been trained on both Miller Heiman and Holden Sales Methodologies. Both processes are designed to help you sell into business to business (B2B) accounts, where you are selling across multiple people and departments.

The processes provided in both Miller Heiman and Holden Sales Methodologies categorise different people in your accounts that you will be selling into. For example, decision makers, influencers, and internal sales people, all with different attributes. If you take the fact that LinkedIn say that the average B2B decision requires you to engage with 4.7 people the methodologies help you map out, how to engage and which person from your company should engage with the different prospective client.

Things are no Longer that Simple

In the connected economy when we are selling into organisations, pretty much whatever we sell requires the customer organisation to make some sort of change.

Now nobody likes change, that means there is an inbuilt resistance to whatever you are selling. Many salespeople don't like talking about change management, they look for a non "friction" way of selling. Traditionally you needed a "compelling reason". That is, where a system needed to replaced as it was out of support, etc.

Put it this way, if I'm selling an accounting system, then most companies will have an accounting system already, so why change? Especially if the last accounting system too a lot of effort to implement. In fact there may even be a support team keeping that accounting system "fed and watered" so how do you sell into such a situation?

The Changemaker

Modern selling best practice means that in addition to the decision maker, influencer, internal sales person, we need to find a changemaker. That is somebody who is willing (probably regardless of supplier) and raise their hand and say "I'm willing to push this through the organisation and to make the necessary changes". Without a changemaker you deals will slip and slip.

How Do we Define a Changemaker?

According to Google research Changemakers are typically in the age group 28 to 35 and come from a background where their education has been grounded in connected economy ideas.*

*Please refer to the research by Google published November 5th 2014, “Digital Tipping Points for 2015″ written by @Tuomisto

Someone in their 30s probably might have text their A-level maths teacher if they were stuck on an assignment. That is, they are used to using a network to research answers. (Whereas the CTO in their mid-40s could not have done — both because the technology wasn’t there).

In addition, society now that tended to flatten hierarchies. A teacher today is involved more as a “teammate with seniority” of their students, as opposed to a “boss”.

Changemakers also would have been encouraged to work in ad hoc network groups, given skills to bring out the best in themselves and others, hunt around for answers both from static sources (web) and active sources (people).

In short, they have been taught from their teenage years on that what they implement is better if they connect, work with other people, and discover answers.

Changemakers Share

Changemakers are also more likely to want to share what they know, where as the generation before them often thought that “information was power”.

To a changemaker, it’s second nature that their wide social network should be used when coming up with a vision that ultimately can solve a complex problem.

If a changemaker is faced with a complaint like “our phone system keeps cutting people off!” their natural reaction is to reach into the network and start the ideation process there. Ultimately the change maker will establish a vision of a solution, which they can then take to the C-suite as a package.

A changemaker is, simply, someone who in ten years time will be running the business, or a department of the business. They are people who “live to work” as opposed to "work to live”. They are capable individuals, looking for ways to use their intellect, talent, skills, charisma, and experience to drive and improve the business. Good, current C-suite execs have always and will always identify changemakers in their business, expand their remit, and draw them up into the C-suite to replace them. Find them and you will close more deals faster. Hint: Their natural habitat is Twitter, which is why a Social Selling program that only focuses on LinkedIn will see let gains than a Social Selling strategy.

Want to Know More about Changemakers?

In our book “ Social Selling ” we talk about Change makers, the impact they are making in the sales process and why the modern salesperson has to find them and work with them. Selling at an enterprise level requires changes to working practices and it is the Change Makers that can impact this.

We also recommend that book "The Challenger Customer" by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon which describes a similar role but they call it a Mobiliser.