In this five-part series, we explore the necessary elements of selling into large organizations. In Part 1, we outlined the importance of making heroes as a mechanism to optimize sales success. Part 2 looks at entering the sales relationship.


Entering the sales relationship

The relationship contains two critical components:

  1. The individuals that you see and interact with
  2. The individuals that you don’t see (I call these the Caspers)

Individuals you CAN see

Let’s start with those individuals that you can see. As you begin to build a new relationship inside a prospective firm, there are two methods that can prove successful:

  1. Social listening: Track the kind of activity and content that the individual likes and posts online. Paying close attention to these activities will help uncover opportunities to find common ground that can help create a positive first interaction.
  2. Trigger events: Trigger events are important because they signal a change and change can often bring opportunity. For example, a career move for someone can open the door to a future sale, so be on the lookout for this type of trigger event. According to a DiscoverOrg report, “80% of decision-makers who are new in their job make decisions about the big changes/purchases they are going to make within their first 90 days.” The same report also says that these decision-makers spend over $1 million on new initiatives within this period.

Individuals you DON’T see—the Caspers

In terms of the Caspers, let’s start with a more comprehensive definition. In many cases, there will be decision-makers for your product or service who will influence the sale and whom you will never meet.

How can you influence these individuals that you will never meet?

  1. Stand-alone materials: When building presentations, many marketers and salespeople assume they will present all the materials they create. While this may be the case, the assumption is flawed. This is because once a slide deck or set of materials is sent to a prospective firm, the salesperson loses control over who sees the materials and, more importantly, how they are interpreted. The key is to ensure that all presentation materials can stand alone. This way, whether or not a salesperson presents them, the materials convey the intended message(s).
  2. Additional materials: Ask what else you can provide. See if there are additional materials that would be helpful for decision-makers that you will not meet. This can be a powerful way to create extra messaging that targets the Caspers and maximizes your chance of a sale.

Optimize your sales success across all decision-makers

Strategizing your approach in terms of the people you will meet and those you will not can be a powerful way to optimize your sales success across all decision-makers and influencers.


by Jeff Bilyea


Become great at sales. Check out our free Selling for Entrepreneurs online course. It provides over two hours of expert sales instruction designed for startup founders who want to lead sales and accelerate company growth.