Making the Consensus Sale

by Karl Schmidt, Brent Adamson, and Anna Bird

SALES REPS HAVE LONG BEEN taught to seek out the executive who can single-handedly approve a deal at a company. But whether they’re selling to a customer with 50 employees or 50,000, reps today rarely find a unilateral decision maker. More often, they discover that the authority to make decisions rests with groups of individuals—all of whom have different roles, and all of whom have veto power. Reaching consensus and closing deals has become an increasingly painful and protracted process for customers and suppliers alike.

To understand the impact of buying groups on sales, CEB recently conducted four surveys of more than 5,000 stakeholders involved in B2B purchases. We found ...

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