There are many approaches to selling larger accounts and in this week’s Baseline Selling Tip you’ll get mine.

In addition to the standard Baseline Selling requirements, there are four keys to success in selling to medium and large companies and organizations.  The following four tips should all be done between 2nd and 3rd Base:

(1) Identify the Chauffeur – You’ve probably heard of influencers, those who can influence the decision; and Champions – the inside people who are on your side. But in many cases, the Influencer is not your champion and your champion is not an influencer.  I’m not suggesting that you ignore influencers and champions.  I am suggesting that you identify and use the Chauffeur.  The Chauffeur is the person who can drive you all the way to the decision maker because he (or she) cares about the issue, is connected to the people who will make the decision, and isn’t afraid to drive you there. If you are starting at the top, there is no better Chauffer than the CEO, although not all CEO’s are strong enough leaders to be Chauffeurs.

(2) Ownership – There will be many times when the product or service you sell has cross-departmental uses.  For instance, if you’re in the software business, there will be the department who uses your application but Information Services or Technology will want to be involved too.  Who will own the process or the responsibility?  This is a turf war and everyone wants ownership. The earlier in your process that you get that decision nailed down, the more smoothly your sale will go.

(3) Budget – Everyone wants ownership but nobody wants to pay for it! This is not whether or not the company has the money,  this is whose budget the money will come from.  Many deals get held up when directors argue about this behind the scenes.  Bottom Line – they don’t want it coming out of their budget, and they would love it to come from someone else’s.

(4) Resources – If your product or service will require any of their employees to put in time on the project, then they will argue just as strongly about who will provide the resources as they will about who will pay for it. Tip – they won’t want to provide people from their department!

Summary – It really doesn’t matter how good your solution is or how well you sell it. If you don’t find a Chauffeur to take you to their Leader and you fail to get ownership, budget and resources resolved early in the process, your sale cycle will take forever and they may just fail to resolve the issue at all.  Can you say “wasted time”?