Using a stakeholder management chart in the sales process
The stakeholder management chart is a tool that helps you organize the key information by stakeholder. It consists of four boxes, with one box for each category of stakeholder that may be involved in the sales process.
Stakeholder Management Chart
Include the following information for each category in the table:
- The name and title of individual stakeholders
- The stakeholder’s relative importance in the process (for example, rated as high, medium, or low, or simply scored from 1 to 5)
- Any red flags associated with the stakeholder
- Each stakeholder’s buyer response mode
- Where you are in the sales process with the stakeholder
Before meeting a client for the first time, you might not have access to all of this information. This tool helps you identify missing information and what you need to look for in your next meeting or interaction with various stakeholders.
Completing the stakeholder management chart
Follow the steps below to complete the stakeholder management chart, which will improve the efficiency of the sales process and reduce the risk of losing the sale.
Stakeholders in the sales process
Identify all relevant buyers.
- Who has the final authority to release the funds for your sales objective? (Economic Buyer)
- Who will use or supervise the use of your product? (User Buyer)
- Who will judge and rule on your product’s specifications? (Technical Buyer)
- Who can guide you in the sale? (Coach)
- Determine and rank their degrees of influence.
- Test your current position with each stakeholder. Have you achieved a win-win position with each one?
- Identify your strengths as well as any red flags you see.
- Revise your alternate positions list:
- Be inclusive: List all possible alternative positions.
- Be specific: Devise practicable options.
- Test each alternate position: Either capitalize on a strength or remove a red flag.
Buyer response modes
- Identify each stakeholder’s response mode. How does your proposal affect someone’s business environment? (Note: This can be tricky, and cannot always be done with certainty after the first meeting).
- Rate each stakeholder on how they feel about the specific sales opportunity.
- Test and question your rating:
- If you rated the buyer a +5, is that person truly an enthusiastic advocate for your proposal?
- If you rated the buyer a +1, will that person go along with the proposal?
- If you rated the buyer a -1, will that person provide only minor resistance?
- If you rated the buyer a -5, will that person actively block the sale?
- Analyze the information. Look for inconsistencies between the stakeholder’s buyer response mode and their rating.
- Revise your alternate positions list. Be inclusive and specific, and test each alternate position.
Heiman, S. & Sanchez, D. (1998). The New Strategic Selling. New York: Warner Books, Inc.