Selling complex solutions typically requires that account managers engage with a whole range of influencers in addition to the key decision makers. This can be challenging enough, but when the influencers and decision makers on your target account list are located in many different geographies the task becomes that much harder.
What can you do when many of the influencers and recommenders you need to engage are widely distributed, or even located overseas, and when you don’t yet know who they are or what their needs are?
Trying the top down approach may work well, if you can get the senior level access. But in many situations it’s easier and even preferable to be introduced by a recommender. Recommender’s usually have a strong stake in the success of the solution and are often willing to provide vital intelligence about where the strongest support can be expected to come from as well as where the trip wires are. But getting started, finding the recommenders, understanding their challenges and gaining their support all takes time.
Especially so when you are dealing with a multi-national account. Language issues aside, finding those responsible for the use, operation or implementation of your company’s offerings can also be problematic. For example, job titles and functional responsibilities may be very different in different places. Larger organizations will have their own support/marketing/finance etc. staff. Smaller ones may rely on remote resources or train someone in a different function to provide the capability on a part-time or an occasional basis.
One solution is to leverage a four step multi-geo research and survey approach, as follows:
- Research, create, and phone-verify a hand-crafted list of appropriate target account contacts in each of the relevant geographies. Experienced researchers, fluent in each local language (as necessary), call target accounts and identify those with the appropriate responsibilities, developing a contact profile that includes contact details along with position, title and role information. At this point no attempt is made to engage or qualify the contacts.
- Incentivize those with appropriate roles/responsibilities to participate in a relevant survey using low cost but attractive offers appropriate to the local culture and rules. It’s important to get good representation from each target account so that a more holistic picture of the entire account’s needs can be developed.
- Use the survey results. The survey explores the current situation and challenges of the contacts with respect to the solution being offered. The survey data can be mined for insights regarding both global and local issues faced by your prospects.
- Engage and follow-up the prospects using their preferred method of contact. Armed with individual inputs from the survey as well as a set of summary results you have great ammunition to continue building your list of key contacts, your contact profiles and your story for the key decision makers.
By crafting a contact list enriched with details pertinent to your prospects, and more importantly, pertinent to the key individuals within those companies, you’ll be far better positioned to engage these prospects as a thought leader. Your intimate knowledge of their particular challenges will facilitate discussions, paving the way for meaningful dialogue, while bringing real value to your prospective customer.
You can expedite business development by providing verified, geo contact lists to the local sales and marketing teams. By leveraging survey results, you can engage prospects regarding needs specific to them and gain feedback across the account. Limiting your focus to just the challenges found close to home will find you ill-prepared to deal with the issues raised by the key buying-committee members from other parts, especially if your solution is required to satisfy an international buying committee. Indeed, in today’s global marketplace, it’s vital that you cover all the multi-national bases.
How do you reach and engage your geographically dispersed contacts?