The 3×3 Sales Matrix is a diagnostic and investigative tool used to shorten the B2B sales cycle.
Understanding the 3×3 Sales Matrix
Effective sales processes are contingent on making tough decisions in two key areas:
- Determining how to best enter an opportunity. Businesses who enter high can access key decision-makers, but it is difficult to initiate conversations and connect with these individuals. Entering lower gives greater access to constructive dialogue, but this often means the business is not connecting with people who have authority.
- Determining when the investigation/diagnosis of a business case is complete. Here, the business must create an impactful business case that can withstand potential inertia. But it must not become so complicated that it passes the point of diminishing returns.
Indeed, the wrong decision in either of these areas has significant implications for the business. Poor decisions can kill the opportunity before it has a chance to flourish. They can also consign the opportunity to a state of purgatory where it slowly atrophies from inaction.
In the next section, we will take a look at how balanced decisions can be made in each of these areas.
Implementing 3×3 Sales Matrix principles
To begin, the business should endeavor to establish three key points of entry. Importantly, there should be variation in the level and responsibility of each point.
The creators of the matrix argue that contact should be made with the following stakeholders:
- The role or title that is tasked with managing the relevant problem.
- The role or title the above person reports to.
- A senior role or title.
- A peer role or title to the boss of the first person.
- A role below the person identified as managing the problem. This is useful in situations where a senior person is the initial point of entry.
- Role players, or those who do not directly manage problems but are nonetheless impacted by them.
Determining whether the investigation has been adequate
It should be noted that determining the right time to end an investigation is highly situational.
Nevertheless, there are a few key questions to keep in mind:
- Is the issue worthy of the time, energy, and money invested? Is the level of risk acceptable for both parties?
- Does the proposed solution to a problem satisfy budgetary constraints? How can the solution benefit a business directly and indirectly?
- How committed are interested parties to the status quo? Many deals fall through because certain individuals would rather live with issues rather than make the effort to address them.
Implementing the 3×3 Sales Matrix
The 3×3 Sales Matrix is a simple but effective tool that can be used by salespeople and managers alike.
Information from each question in the previous section should demonstrate multiple impacts at multiple levels of the organization.
To incorporate this information into the matrix, the business should:
- Connect and then engage with three contacts at three different levels (or areas) of the client organization.
- Identify three issues that each contact is facing that the business can impact.
This creates a total of nine boxes which, if filled adequately, give the business greater insight into managing sales opportunities and efficient resource allocation. Most importantly, a well-thought-out matrix increases the odds of making the sale.
- Software Sales:
- Entry Points: The software sales team decides to contact the IT Manager, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and a mid-level manager responsible for the department’s budget.
- Timing of Investigation: They assess whether their software solution aligns with the company’s long-term technology goals and budget constraints.
- Impact of Decisions: Poor timing or entering at the wrong level could result in the software being deemed too expensive or not aligned with the company’s strategic direction.
- Consulting Services:
- Entry Points: A consulting firm reaches out to the project manager, the Vice President of Operations, and a peer-level manager from a different department.
- Timing of Investigation: They evaluate if their services can address specific operational challenges and fit within the project’s budget.
- Impact of Decisions: Failing to connect with the right individuals or misjudging the timing could lead to the project not moving forward or being delayed.
- Manufacturing Equipment Sales:
- Entry Points: The sales team targets the Production Supervisor, the Plant Manager, and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
- Timing of Investigation: They assess whether their equipment can improve production efficiency and if it aligns with the company’s financial goals.
- Impact of Decisions: Making the wrong entry point choices or failing to address financial concerns could result in the sale being rejected due to budget constraints.
- Healthcare Solutions:
- Entry Points: A healthcare technology company contacts the Chief Medical Officer, the Director of IT, and a nurse manager.
- Timing of Investigation: They evaluate whether their solution can enhance patient care, align with IT infrastructure, and fit within the hospital’s budget.
- Impact of Decisions: Choosing the wrong entry points or ignoring budget considerations may lead to the rejection of the healthcare solution.
- Financial Services:
- Entry Points: A financial services firm connects with the Chief Financial Officer, the HR Director, and an employee in the benefits department.
- Timing of Investigation: They assess whether their retirement planning services can meet employee needs, align with the company’s financial goals, and satisfy budget constraints.
- Impact of Decisions: Ineffective entry points or overlooking budget concerns may result in the company not adopting their financial services.
- Marketing Agency:
- Entry Points: A marketing agency reaches out to the Marketing Director, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and a brand manager.
- Timing of Investigation: They evaluate whether their marketing strategies can boost brand visibility, align with the company’s marketing goals, and fit within the marketing budget.
- Impact of Decisions: Choosing the wrong entry points or not considering budget constraints may lead to the rejection of their marketing services.
- Manufacturing Equipment Sales (Alternative Entry):
- Entry Points: In a different scenario, the sales team connects with the CEO, a mid-level manager responsible for production, and a floor supervisor.
- Timing of Investigation: They assess whether their equipment can meet production needs, align with the company’s strategic direction, and fit within the budget.
- Impact of Decisions: Misjudging the entry points or failing to address budget concerns could result in the equipment purchase being delayed or rejected.
- The 3×3 Sales Matrix is an investigative and diagnostic tool to shorten the B2B life cycle, helping a business make balanced decisions.
- The 3×3 Sales Matrix advocates that a business contacts three roles or titles of varying responsibility. Then, it must determine whether the proposed solution is feasible or viable.
- The 3×3 Sales Matrix features nine squares that incorporate valuable information on the problems that individuals are experiencing in the client organization. Importantly, the business must be able to propose a high-impact solution.
Key Highlights of the 3×3 Sales Matrix:
- Purpose: The 3×3 Sales Matrix is a tool designed to streamline the B2B sales cycle by aiding in decision-making.
- Entry Points: Effective sales strategies involve deciding where and how to enter an opportunity. Going in high provides access to decision-makers but can be challenging to initiate conversations, while entering lower allows for dialogue but may lack authority. This decision is critical to success.
- Timing of Investigation: Knowing when to conclude the investigation or diagnosis of a business case is crucial. The business must create a compelling business case without making it overly complex, striking a balance to avoid diminishing returns.
- Impact of Decisions: Poor decisions in either entry points or timing can harm the opportunity or leave it stagnant in a state of inaction.
- Principles of Implementation: To apply the 3×3 Sales Matrix effectively, businesses should establish three different points of entry, each with varying levels of responsibility and contacts. These may include managers, superiors, peers, or even individuals below the initial point of entry.
- Determining Adequate Investigation: Deciding when to end an investigation is situational but should consider factors like the issue’s significance, risk tolerance, budget constraints, and the commitment of parties involved to maintaining the status quo.
- Matrix Implementation: The 3×3 Sales Matrix involves connecting with three contacts at three different levels of the client organization, identifying three issues each contact faces, resulting in nine boxes that provide valuable insights for managing sales opportunities and allocating resources efficiently.
- Increased Sales Odds: A well-structured 3×3 Sales Matrix increases the likelihood of making a successful sale by offering a comprehensive understanding of client needs and solutions that address those needs.
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