Multithreading is all the rage right now. When Gartner released its research in 2019 that found there to be between 6-10 decision-makers in a typical buying group, revenue leaders doubled down on how to manage large decision-making units (DMUs).
With more reductions in force (RIFs), accelerated growth of the gig economy, changing work preferences, and digitalization, reps are being told, “Make sure you have more than one person at a prospect and customer account!
Yet, many of us are still struggling to do multithreading well. Today, we will change that by looking into how you can leverage the art of multithreading to improve the quality of your prospecting and the outcomes that it — qualified pipeline.
What is multithreading in sales?
What do we mean by multithreading? What’s interesting is multithreading isn’t a term that was coined inside the B2B sales profession. It has everything to do with data science. I can imagine a tech founder having internal battles the first time they’re told to multithread a deal.
By the data science definition:
“Multithreading refers to the ability of a processor to execute multiple threads concurrently, where each thread runs a process.”
Translate this to the B2B sales world, and we can capture the essence of the true definition:
- Multiple threads at the same time engaging with multiple different stakeholders.
- Each thread runs a process to serve an end goal; each stakeholder has different levels of power and influence based on their needs and desires.
- A processor – the main thing that manages it all — which is you.
LinkedIn provides a decent definition here:
Multithreading is simply the act of building multiple relationships within one account. We’ll add, true multithreading goes beyond just convincing everyone on the buying committee to okay your product – a necessity these days to close almost any deal. It means proactively seeking out new relationships within an account. –Paul Petrone and Co-authored byJ.C. McKissen from LinkedIn
Why is multithreading meaningful?
Let’s unpack this definition and go a little deeper. Simply building relationships with lots of people inside an organization can waste your time without clear intention behind it.
When we think about multithreading and what that means for our organization, we have to move away from the traditional way of thinking about it.
For years, we’ve said it’s pretty much going into an account and finding multiple contacts inside who may have a place, an opinion, or an influence on the decision surrounding your services or solutions.
While this is one of the core activities of multi-threading, it doesn’t provide a useful definition of how to execute it successfully.
The key term is thread.
True multithreading is the ability to identify key stakeholders inside an organization who will be influenced, impacted, responsible, or accountable for a decision around your products and solutions.
As you (the processor) work to simultaneously thread each relationship (process) so that your overall processing power (see what I did there) is amplified to drive towards mutually beneficial desired outcomes.
The long-term outcome will be revenue, but the shorter-term outcomes may be a meeting, workshop, or event —something that connects the threads.
Multithreading, by nature, must happen concurrently and be a coordinated effort that actually yields results and moves you closer to the objective that you have in mind when you are contacting that organization.
You must integrate interactions to keep compounding the reach and impact that your prospecting activities are having.
Think of a company like HSBC. Do you think building relationships across nine different business units with one or two people will move you closer to a desired outcome?
How about finding 18 people in one business unit with one story that connects the individuals together? Could that be more valuable?
Let’s look at an example of what good multithreading could look like.
We first need our inputs:
- Great fit prospect from a pool of our Target ICP (Ideal Customer Profiles)
- Research: on the industry and the company, and the likely personas who would care about the needs you solve.
- A list of contacts
See the different types of contacts below:
Now for the outputs:
- Hypothesis: Perspective based on the information you’ve gathered during your research that helps you formulate the right type of value proposition.
- Our path to revenue/opportunity: The processes you want to initiate through the threads you’re opening up.
- Our positioning, messaging, and sequence of events
- Distribution of responsibilities (who in your organization will be a joint processor with you?)
Having threads across each area is what helps you to compound your impact and execute your multithreading strategy effectively.
Now for the rules of engagement that help distinguish yourself as a trusted partner:
- Be 100% transparent with your multiple threads (processes). For example, there is no harm in telling a “responsible” contact you have a call in the works with an “impacted” contact.
- Gain leverage by seeking out the information from “impacted” and “influence” contacts that will help you get a higher quality meeting with somebody who yields more power in a decision-making process.
- Share responsibilities with your internal team (your processors). Your inside rep can work with more junior contacts while you create the thread with those “responsible” and your VP, C-suite focus on the exec level “accountable” contact. The lynchpin here is doing so with transparency.
- Create a network effect: Show up where your Prospects are online, in person, etc.
The impact of multithreading
Here’s how it begins to unfold beautifully by you…
- Linkedin: Your processors should connect with every thread. Send a note if there’s a compelling reason to; otherwise, leave it empty. Ideally, get a 30-45% connect rate.
During your cold outreach, your threads see mutual connections. (Wonderful)
Your inside rep reaches out to their contacts, explaining that you (master processor) are working on meeting with senior contacts to discuss XYZ. At the same time, sharing that your C-suites are connected. (Oh, it’s beautiful, right?)
You focus on your threads and compound.
Hi, “responsible” contact, my colleague Hannah has spent some time over the last few weeks speaking with “named impacted” contacts to understand how XYZ is impacting your ABC.
Our “c-suite exec” has arranged a lunch and learn on the topic. I know they’ve already connected with your “accountable contact.” There are two options available for the workshop... Which one works for you?
From here, you will have your prospects reconnect internally and find everything you say to be true. Relationships are built on trust, and trust is a combination of good character and competence.
Multithreading is powerful when done correctly. Don’t just send disparate messages to tons of people at a single company. Be intentional, set goals, and build on the momentum to create a big, lasting impact.
Want to test how great your multithreading abilities are? Take this 30-second test to find out!
Author bio: A Mum, Go-To-Market Strategy Consultant, and experienced Sales Leader. Hannah recently led the EMEA business at Skaled, building out global onboarding, training, and enablement programs for high-growth organizations. Hannah created Revenue Funnel to push the boundaries of what’s possible and accepted in B2B organizations.