Have you ever brought a friend or family member along with you to help you decide on a product or service you were interested in?
Maybe you were seeking advice from a close colleague who happened to know all the ins and outs of the latest vehicle trends before you made your next big car purchase.
Or perhaps you were trying to find the right outfit for a celebration and called on your best friend to provide you with style recommendations.
We know at the end of the day it is up to us to make a decision on what we want to buy but we often catch ourselves seeking trusted advice from people in our daily lives to reaffirm our choice.
How this relates to your business?
Because These people impacting purchasing decisions are more frequently known as influencers in the marketing machine.
What and Who Are Influencers?
To summarize what and who are influencers, we offer our simplified definition:
An influencer is anyone who has influence on your purchasing decision and behaviours when it comes to making a decision on a purchase order.
The influencers are the gatekeepers to successfully completing the sales process with your prospect. They act as a one-on-one liaison for the person in charge of making a purchasing decision.
We commonly refer to those in charge of the purchasing decision as the decision maker.
The Decision Maker Is Often:
- The CEO, COO, CFO, etc.
- The Owner and Operator
- The Person in Charge
The Influencer Is Often:
- The C-Level Advisor
- The Business Partner
- The Eyes and Ears of the Business
Influencers are typically close knit and trusted advisors to the decision maker and responsible for a number of steps in the buying journey for your prospect.
Now let’s look at how the influencer’s role impacts the sales process.
How Influencers Affect Your Sales Process
Being that the influencer is relied on by the decision maker to advise, inform and educate on any major decisions, the influencer takes on a number of roles on behalf of the organization.
An influencer is meant to provide their uttermost expertise on whatever product or service the organization is seeking out.
Influencers will often be the ones to throw purchasing objections into the mix, ask the hard questions and challenge your authority and credibility to ensure they’re protecting the organization’s best interests.
Influencers Roles or Tasks In The Buying Process Include:
- Researching the product or service
- Providing first-hand recommendations and suggestions
- Testing the product or service before making a purchasing decision
- Evaluating your competitors’ offerings and solutions
- Reviewing customer feedback through online and in person reviews or testimonials
The reason why it is so important to understand who the influencer in your prospect’s buying journey is and how they impact your sales process is simple: The influencer actually has the power to ultimately sway the decision maker’s final decision.
Why Influencers Are Your Business’ Biggest Ally
Why do we advocate for the influencer to become your business’ best friend and biggest ally?
Because we know that when you earn their trust and interest into your business’ product or service, you are more likely to win over the vote with their decision maker.
There is greater traction and success in the sales process when you have the influencer acting as a partner alongside your business, that works together to help achieve a common goal or solution for their organization.
The influencer’s opinion highly trusted by the decision maker. Therefore, it is critical that you provide the clarity and support the influencer is seeking to offer value to the entirety of their organization.
The value you can offer back to the influencer in this process of building the relationship is asking yourself: how can I make them look good?
Your Business Can Be an Influencers Ally By:
- Providing Real-time Solutions and Offerings with ROI
- Educate and Inform on the Features, Advantages and Benefits of Your Solutions
- Focus on the Overall Goals of the Organization
- Offer Immediate Value-Add Opportunities in Sales Process
When to Build a Relationship With An Influencer
The relationship with an influencer goes both ways. It is no longer about how your business succeeds solely on its own, but how do we succeed and win together?
Our recommendation for your business would be to start early on in the relationship with your prospect to identify the influencers and decision makers in the organization.
From there, you can determine what type of personas or personalities you are working with and ask the right questions to ultimately help them find a solution.
A way to begin this process is to identify buyer personas in the organization and determine what weight of influence they hold with the decision maker. You will want to evaluate who is at the table when it comes to the final decision and review what your overall sales and marketing process is to maintain the relationship with all stakeholders involved.
And if you’re not sure how to get things moving and empower your business to close more sales, you can check in with a complementary marketing assessment here to see where the gaps might be in your sales process.