Selling Above The Line
There is a very important concept in sales that you need to know to truly understand the modern sales process and to be successful. This is more critical when you go into a full cycle sales role (AE role) but still important for an SDR because you are going to be prospecting into both personas.
The concept Selling Above and Below the Line was created by world-class sales trainer Skip Miller. What this means is that after the initial expression of interest in your product, the decision makers on the buyer's end now split into two groups with two sets of concerns– the Below the Line Outcome and the Above the Line Outcome.
The Below the Line buyer is the User Buyer, who appears to be driving this decision and is the person with the list of needs and the decision criteria. Salespeople tend to drop below the line as soon as they have found some interest because they love talking about features and benefits which is what the salesperson is trained to talk about. Below the line are typically Managers, Analysts, that are going to manage and use your product day-to-day but don't make the ultimate decision.
The Above the line buyer are the C-suite, Head of a department, etc. They look at a sale differently, since they have different needs than Below the line buyers. The Above the line buys something or gives authorization to buy something when she recognizes the need to do something or change something. (for example, respond to a
Now that you understand this concept let's move to understanding the Cause and Effect Split. What Skip Miller means by this is that the Effect are the lists of needs as the Below the Line will recommend the product with the right features and benefits. The Cause is the motivation, the energy for the sale. It's what is causing the Above the line executive to allocate resources and funds for this purchase.
When you are selling a product by Stage 2 (when the prospect has an interest in your product) the buyer splits into multiple personalities. That's because different parts of the organization want to know two different things.
1. Does your product/service fit our needs? Is it what we are looking for? (Below the Line case - features & benefits-driven)
2. Does it contribute to making money, saving time, and/or lowering risks? Can it contribute to our strategic priorities or the changes we are making? (Above the line case)