Relationship Selling Guide: The Ins & Outs of Single- & Multi- Threaded Relationships
Forming and maintaining good relationships is a critical part of sales. Yet many sales pros don’t focus on relationship selling. They continue to within a “single relationship” paradigm. Consequently, they miss out on opportunities because they’re so narrowly focused on that one relationship.
For SaaS companies that can be a huge problem as they’re missing key occasions to reach out to prospects and customers. Especially in enterprise and B2B SaaS sales, you often have to speak to multiple people in order to make a sale, so limiting yourself to a single relationship has a negative effect.
That’s why we put together this guide on Enabling Multi-Threaded Relationship Selling. We’ve gathered the best information on the subject into a guide you can refer to whenever you need. We’ll hopefully continue updating it in the future, so if you find some awesome resources on relationship selling you think we should include, let us know.
Defining Single- vs Multi-Threaded Relationship Selling
Single-thread relationship selling is a one-on-one relationship between buyer and seller. You’re covering the account with a single contact instead of multiple contacts on the buyer’s end. In Saas, enterprise, and B2B sales there are almost always multiple people involved in the buying decision, not just one.
Multi-threaded relationship selling is covering an account through multiple contacts on the buyer’s end. That means sales pros are talking to the managers, directors, executives, and more. It also means staying in contact with the buyer through multiple means, not just in-person and/or phone calls. Emails, social media interactions, blog comments, etc/ are critical in determining coverage, engagement, and sustainability with a buyer.
The Problems with Single-Threaded Relationships
The biggest problem with single-threaded relationships is that is a single point of failure for the relationship. If the contact moves on to a new job in another company, you have to start all over again, repeating the preliminary work you’ve already done.
Another problem with it is that you may not be speaking to the final decision maker, delaying the timeline to closing the deal as you rehash your information to the next person up the chain.
The final problem with single-threaded relationships is that the timing with the contact may not be right. You reach out to them today, but they’re not ready to buy; when they finally are ready, your focus is on another account and you’ve missed the chance to close this one.
Decision makers are important contacts to have, but they should never be your only contact. Respecting your sales cycle is not a part of their job description. If they leave their job unexpectedly and didn’t leave you with the appropriate contact to continue with, then you could have to start the relationship from scratch with someone else from the company. In that same time, a competitor could have been chatting with numerous points of contact at the company and win the deal before you can re-establish a relationship. Don’t get locked out of deals because you fail to establish broad relationships from the get-go.
The Benefits of Multi-Threaded Relationship Selling
These are just some of the reasons why multi-threaded relationship selling should be the standard operating procedure for most Saas and enterprise sales teams. Here are a few of the benefits to multi-threaded relationship selling:
- Ensures you always have a contact at your prospect’s company, so even if your biggest advocate leaves, there are others to pick up the torch for you.
- You are able to identify sales signals more easily from your prospects because you have more data to look at. If 3 out of the 5 contacts are giving you the right signals, then it’s time to take the conversation to the next level.
- It forces sales pros to be more proactive with their accounts, reaching out to the multiple contacts on a regular basis. This ensures that no opportunities are lost because they weren’t in contact with the prospect when they were ready to buy.
Experts and Thought Leaders
- Barry Rhein: Through his company, Barry’s been training sales pros since 1983, winning awards as both a sales pro and a sales trainer.
- Jill Konrath: Jill is a best-selling author and highly-sought after speaker known for her “fresh sales strategies and game-changing approaches” to sales.
- Daniel Pink: Daniel is a best-selling author and speaker who has written numerous provocative and educational books on business, work, and behaviour.
- Bryan Kramer: A renowned social business strategist, global keynote speaker, executive coach, and bestselling author. He’s one of the world’s foremost leaders in the art and science of sharing, and has been credited with starting the #H2H human business movement in marketing and social.
Training & Education Authorities
Not only is it important to learn the ins and outs of relationship selling, but it’s also important to learn how to sell in general. What traits make the best sales pro and what skills you may need to work on. Here are a few training and education authorities:
- Selling Through Curiosity™
- Dale Carnegie: Winning with Relationship Selling
- Intelligent Conversations [book] by Jill Konrath
- To Sell is Human [book] by Daniel Pink
Industry Reports, Stats, and Insights
If you’re looking for some hard facts about multi-threaded relationship selling, look no further. Here are some of the top insights and stats about relationship selling and the underlying activities that make it all possible (like social selling, contact channels, and more).
- 27% of sales pros said it was hard to engage multiple decision makers today than it was 2-3 years ago. [State of Inbound 2017]
- 36% of sales pros use the telephone to contact prospects, with 26% using email successfully. [State of Inbound 2017]
- Sales pros who make 12 contact attempts (instead of the average 8) perform 16% better. [The Bridge Group]
- Only 18% of buyers trust and respect salespeople. [Sales for Life]
- Inappropriate end of month sales behaviours cost companies millions. The decrease in deal size and win rate results in an estimated $98.02 million per year in lost revenue for the average company in our data set. This number represents a potential increase of 27.21% in revenue per company if properly addressed. [Insidesales, 2017] 72.6% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. [A Sales Guy]
- The State of Sales [Salesforce]
Infographics and Visuals
For those of you who love visuals, check these out:
- 5 Data-Driven Outcomes in 2017 for Social Selling [Sales for Life]
- How to Create Value in Relationships [Sales for Life]
- Any of the graphs and charts in Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017
- Multithreading & Relationship Strength presentation [SlideShare – LinkedIn Sales Solutions]
Relationship Software Vendors
Ready to take your relationship sales to the next level? You’ll need some help to keep track of all the communication channels and multiple contacts at each prospect, which is easiest to do with a well-designed relationship software app or platform. Here are just a few (starting with our very own Nudge.ai, of course):
To read more about multi-threaded relationship selling, check out these resources we’ve gathered for you: