It’s all about consensus

It’s all about consensus

The attributes required for successful enterprise software sales in 2021 have changed radically

I speak from deep experience. I’ve seen a seismic change in buying behavior in the last 18 months that has fundamentally changed the way we need to operate

That change is the growth in size of buying groups, not by 10% or 20% – but often by double or even three times the usual number

The change happened because of the pandemic. The transition to conduct business via video has meant that buying groups are able to be far more globally inclusive

It means colleagues can be invited to participate in a buying group no matter where they’re based or how big or small their stake or influence in a decision. I often see buying groups of 15 – 20 people for $100k – $250k enterprise decisions

The problem with these large buying groups is they typically struggle to achieve consensus and make good decisions – or, more often than not, any decision at all  

The challenge is therefore how well a seller can engage and guide consensus to the right result

But that’s easier said than done. In my experience it takes two fundamental attributes to enable a seller to do this:

  1. Subject matter expertise
  2. A strong buyer consensus playbook


In order to guide consensus a seller needs to move the buyer’s goal posts away from capabilities to value. Capabilities are often personal or departmental, whilst value is holistic and corporate. Value gets the buying group moving in one direction and makes the job of achieving consensus much easier

It’s also far easier for the seller to engage with the buying group on an individual basis when value discovery is the reason for the call – rather than the seller’s product or company capability

A winning strategy is to get the project sponsor’s agreement to run a short ‘value diagnostic’ and use this process to engage with every single stakeholder in order to define challenges, possible project KPI’s and build consensus on value

Of course by doing this the seller kills more than one bird with one stone. Not only do they guide consensus around value but they also engage wide and high with executives they would not normally meet (which 9 times out of 10 a competitor is not doing)

I mentioned 2 key elements .. subject matter expertise and a buying group engagement playbook. We built cuvama to enable all sellers to engage with prospects as subject matter experts (even if they’re new to the team) and to guide value consensus digitally – so it becomes collaborative and shared (and ultimately the record for delivery and measurement post sale)

The tools are there to quickly adapt to the new consensus driven buying revolution. It’s now time for enterprise software vendors to be brave enough to make the change – or 2022 could be a very frustrating year


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