Sales Cycle Roles Explained

Sales Cycle player

The sales cycle can often be an exhausting and excruciating road to success. It requires vigilant contact, balance and patience. One thing that helps, is if you can appreciate the “roles” your contacts play in closing the deal. Here are the four main players that you’re likely to come across.

Players in sales cycle

Point of Contact (POC)

Your Point Of Contact at the target organization. Usually the IT manager – i.e. a mid-level manger that has been given the responsibility to collect, research, evaluate and recommend a solution. He is your go-to-guy when you want to communicate with the organization.

Purse Holder

The CFO (or someone appropriate) who manages the budget and gives the monetary blessing to the sale. I’ve noticed that in North America, $5,000 is a magic budget line. Anything below this amount, a mid-level manager has sign off authority. This reduces the amount of red-tape involved in closing the sale. Anything over, you may have to go through hoops of fire.

Decision Maker

Either the “big boss” or a committee that has final say on the sale. Understanding the business goals of the decision maker helps you position your product better. Most of the time you never directly communicate with the decision maker. So you have to often guess on their motivation.

White Knight

Sometimes if you are lucky, you get a knight in shinning armor. He is the guy inside the organization that helps you make that sale. Perhaps a former business colleague, or just a nice guy. He wants you to close the sale (i.e. he likes your solution; he wants to be the hero with your solution, etc.)

This is a very simplified view of the roles involved in a sales cycle. Sometimes one individual can play multiple roles. I’ve noticed that your POC can also become a White Knight for you. If you can identify which roles are being played by whom, it helps you foresee potential roadblocks. Your end goal is to reduce the sales cycle and increase your win ratio. Understanding the players and playing to their advantage should help you achieve it.

Zaki Usman

Hello, I'm the founder and CEO at ShoutEx. I like to blog about marketing, mobile and web topics. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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