3×3 Sales Matrix

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Related Business Concepts

Business Development

Business development comprises a set of strategies and actions to grow a business via a mixture of sales, marketing, and distribution. While marketing usually relies on automation to reach a wider audience, and sales typically leverage on a one-to-one approach. The business development’s role is that of generating distribution.

Marketing vs. Sales

The more you move from consumers to enterprise clients, the more you’ll need a sales force able to manage complex sales. As a rule of thumb, a more expensive product, in B2B or Enterprise, will require an organizational structure around sales. An inexpensive product to be offered to consumers will leverage on marketing.

New Product Development

Product development, known as the new product development process comprises a set of steps that go from idea generation to post-launch review, which help companies analyze the various aspects of launching new products and bringing them to market. It comprises idea generation, screening, testing; business case analysis, product development, test marketing, commercialization, and post-launch review.

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

User Experience Design

The term “user experience” was coined by researcher Dr. Donald Norman who said that “no product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” User experience design is a process that design teams use to create products that are useful and relevant to consumers.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Empathy Mapping

Empathy mapping is a visual representation of knowledge regarding user behavior and attitudes. An empathy map can be built by defining the scope, purpose to gain user insights, and for each action, add a sticky note, summarize the findings. Expand the plan and revise.

Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual mapping is the visual representation of consumer perceptions of brands, products, services, and organizations as a whole. Indeed, perceptual mapping asks consumers to place competing products relative to one another on a graph to assess how they perform with respect to each other in terms of perception.

Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping uses flowcharts to analyze and then improve on the delivery of products and services. Value stream mapping (VSM) is based on the concept of value streams – which are a series of sequential steps that explain how a product or service is delivered to consumers.

Read the remaining product development frameworks here.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL AnalysisPorter’s Five ForcesTOWS MatrixSOAR Analysis.

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