Sell to Win

The quick guide to sales multithreading

Jacob Thomas
Contributor, Sell to Win
Jacob Thomas
Contributor, Sell to Win

Sales multithreading is the process of connecting with multiple stakeholders at the companies you hope to sell products and/or services to.

This is the opposite of single-threaded sales, which is defined as a one-on-one relationship between a buyer and a seller. To find success with this approach, you simply pinpoint the decision-maker at a company, build a relationship with them, and make them an offer they can't refuse.

In other words, single-threaded sales is the traditional way to move products and/or services. The problem is, single-threaded deals are becoming less and less common.

According to Brent Adamson, co-author of the bestselling book, The Challenger Customer, the standard B2B deal involves 6.8 stakeholders on the purchasing side. For companies selling expensive, upper-end products, the number is usually even higher.

This is where sales multithreading comes into play.

What are the benefits of sales multithreading?

Single-threaded sales is appealing because it's simple. If you only have to connect with one person at the organizations you hope to sell to, it will be much easier for you to grow your leads list. But sales multithreading has many of its own advantages:

Faster sales cycles

You've been talking with a prospect for weeks and they're excited about your product. In fact, they keep telling you how it's going to revolutionize the way they do business.

The only problem? Said prospect doesn't have the authority to sign on the dotted line. They have to get permission from their boss, who needs permission from his boss, who needs to talk to… How many times have you run into this kind of situation?

It usually slows the sales process down to a crawl (if it doesn't kill it completely) because you have to sell every decision-maker involved in the buying process at separate times.

With sales multithreading, key stakeholders are identified at the beginning of the sales process and sold to simultaneously, minimizing this problem.

More closed deals

You've spent that last few hours scouring the interwebs for qualified companies to sell to. Suddenly, the skies part and a beam of light shines down from heaven: you've found the perfect prospect. Better yet, you know exactly which decision maker to contact.

So you strike up a conversation and it goes even better than you expected. The prospect loves what you sell and asks you to send over the contract. You quickly email it to them while you think of all the ways you'll spend your huge commission check.

But the check never comes because the deal doesn't go through. Your prospect won't respond to calls or emails — they've completely ghosted you.

If you only have one point of contact within a company, your deals are at risk. Your contact could get fired, moved to another department, accept another job, retire, decide he simply has better things to do than respond to sales reps…

The average turnover rate across industries is 19%. This means that one out of every five prospects on your leads list won't be employed by the same company a year from now.

Fortunately, you can protect the deals you work so hard to close by connecting with multiple stakeholders at prospective companies. That way, if one of them leaves, your deal doesn't leave with them. Sales multithreading is starting to sound pretty good, right?

Deeper prospect insights

Finally, sales multithreading can reveal valuable insights about your prospects. Why do some deals go through while others stall out? Which roles and job titles seem to respond best to your sales pitches? Why do you think that is?

By talking to multiple stakeholders within a company, you'll also be able to identify potential problems in the buying process before they reveal themselves.

For example, if you ask a mid-level sales manager and the VP of Sales about their top priorities and get two different answers, you'll know that you have specific obstacles to overcome. You can then use this knowledge to plan accordingly.

Give yourself an advantage in current and future sales conversations with the thorough sales multithreading approach we outline in the next section.

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How to multithread your sales

We won't lie to you, sales multithreading takes work and dedication. But the process isn't complex — it only requires four steps! Follow them and you'll be able to capitalize on the three benefits of sales multithreading that we discussed above.

1. Commit to research

To successfully multithread your sales, you'll need to commit to research. If you've been in sales for a while, this concept isn't anything new. It always pays to learn about your prospects and the goals they're trying to achieve before contacting them.

But for sales multithreading, you'll need to uncover a variety of different stakeholders and do your research on each of them to find success. Try to learn the following:

  • Who should I be talking to? Obviously, your first task is to discover who to contact. This could include anyone from the entry-level receptionist to the company CEO. Realize that each of them has individual goals and priorities that may or may not coincide with their company's goals and priorities.
  • What are their priorities? Every person involved in the sales multithreading process has personal objectives. Your job is to find out what they are and position your product/service as a viable solution. Remember that in many cases, your contacts will be more concerned with preserving their jobs than helping their companies.
  • Why would they buy? Your product or service's value proposition won't change, but it will need to be presented in a different way depending on who you're talking to. This will require you to have empathy and put yourself in the shoes of each contact. If you can do that, it will be much easier to pinpoint viable reasons for them to buy.
  • Why would they not buy? You may sell the greatest product in the world, but there's always a reason for prospects not to buy. For example, they could be short on funds. Or already considering a competitor. If you can determine the reasons a prospective buyer might say no, you can prepare to address those objections.

Without thorough research, you'll never find success with sales multithreading. Give this step in the process the respect it deserves and do your homework.

2. Get your team on board

If you really want to succeed with sales multithreading, don't go about it alone. Get your team involved, if at all possible. Why? Because most people, including your prospects, like to talk to those they consider their equals. This means that managers like to talk to managers and VPs like to talk to VPs and the C-Suite likes to talk to other C-Suiters.

We're not encouraging you to "pass the buck" to others in your organization. But we are saying that if you can facilitate conversations between upper level decision makers and the folks who hold similar positions within your own company, you'll close more deals.

Once you have your team onboard, connect them with the same-level contacts at the company you're trying to sell to via email. Your leads will appreciate it, guaranteed.

3. Prep your team members

Now you need to make sure that your team members are prepared for their meetings with the prospective company. To do this, pass along the research you dug up on their specific contact, including the contact's goals and priorities.

We also recommend following up with your team to make sure the meetings you're working to facilitate are actually happening. In all likelihood, your team is busy and, frankly, not as invested in the sale as you. Don't let a deal fall through because of this!

4. Close the deal

At this point, you've completely multithreaded your sale. All that's left to do is stay in touch with each contact at the prospective company and close the deal when the time comes.

Pro Tip: One of the keys to selling is knowing when to walk away. You might have done everything right, followed our sales multithreading process to the letter, and still hit an insurmountable roadblock. Maybe the company's CEO doesn't see a need for your product. Or maybe she understands its value, but doesn't want to prioritize the problem it solves.

Don't waste time on a lost cause. If a deal is dead in the water, move on to the next one, using what you learned from your previous sales multithreading experience to inform your approach. Doing so will help you close more often.

What if you're a solo salesperson?

Maybe you work for a small startup and positions like "Vice President" are nonexistent. Can you still use the sales multithreading approach? Of course you can! You have two options:

  1. Bring in adjacent positions: Your company might not have a VP, but it probably has a CEO, right? See if your CEO has time to help close a deal with a prospective buyer. This is an easy way to involve your team, even if you're part of a small operation.
  2. Reach out to upper-level contacts yourself: If the above suggestion isn't an option, you can always speak to each contact in your prospect's company yourself. While upper-level contacts might prefer to talk to folks who hold similar positions, they should be receptive to a persistent sales rep who's always respectful and presents themselves in a professional manner. Be that kind of rep.

Boost your sales numbers

By connecting with multiple folks at the organizations you sell to, you'll speed up the sales cycle, close more deals, and learn more about your target market—especially if you work in the B2B industry where just about every company has multiple decision-makers that need to sign off on purchases. That's the beauty of sales multithreading!

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