A Guide to Selling to Multiple Departments in a Single Sale

A Guide to Selling to Multiple Departments in a Single Sale

Because sales is more complex than ever, professionals in the field have to keep in mind they face the very real possibility that they’ll be selling to a group of decision-makers, rather than a single final decider. This is particularly true when a sale to an organization involves more than one department. It’s a situation that necessitates dealing with more moving parts and a diverse set of tactics to be able to close a deal. We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of multi-departmental actors.

Key Elements of Multiparty Selling

  • Every department will have different needs and consequently see your solution differently.

At the foundation of your multi-departmental strategy is the recognition that each of the departments that you’re dealing with has different needs vis-à-vis your solution, and in consequence, will view that offering in a different light.

For example, let’s say you’re a sales representative for a CRM provider. The C-Suite of an organization will be concerned with how your CRM fits into the overall scheme of the business’s strategy. Marketing will want to know how the software is able to handle and track campaigns, lead generation, etc. Sales is interested in learning its capabilities for managing accounts,  KPI tracking and forecasting, and so on. That’s three different departments, all of whom want and need completely different things from your CRM.

  • If you’re lucky, the organization will be open and collaborative. If you’re not, prepare to deal with silos.

There are always two – a Master and an Appre- wait, wrong venue. Jokes aside, there’s two types of organizational structures – open, collaborative ones where, for example, sales and marketing are aligned – and siloed ones, where there’s little to no alignment, and one department doesn’t know what the other one is doing.

If it’s a collaborative environment, your task becomes much easier. Everyone will keep each other in the loop and be more or less aware of what’s going on in terms of the buying process involving the problems your product is solving. Pro Tip: If your prospect has a Revenue Operations department, make them a primary point of contact. They’re the nerve center that can keep you from getting in silo trouble. You’ll still need to approach from multiple angles (more on that later), but a lot of the communication quagmires that can come up in such involved, complex negotiations are sidestepped.

Should you be facing a siloed organization, it’s going to be up to you to do the centralization yourself. This can be accomplished through things such as making sure everyone is copied on email communications.

  • Discovery Is Never Over.

Print out the above phrase and hang it on your cubicle or office wall. It’s arguably the single most important aphorism to remember as a sales professional. Discovery really does never end and it’s even more true when you’re working with multiple departments within an organization on a single sale.

How to go about it? Like in school, do your homework. Talk to the decision-makers, talk to their peers, find out what each department’s individual issues are and figure out how your solution can fit into those needs. While you’re in this process, take meticulous notes on everything because these are the individual pieces you’ll eventually have to put into a cohesive whole and present.

Long story short, you’ll be doing a lot more needs analysis. For those of you not familiar, a needs analysis is a process whereby you determine how a product fits the needs of the people you’re dealing with. It consists of three parts: 1) identifying what the needs are, 2) the priority and importance of those needs, and 3) how difficult it will be to solve those needs.

  • Connect it all together and read the room.

Once you’ve run your needs analyses, see where the common threads and patterns emerge that allow you to weave together a connected whole and narrative for your presentation. You won’t be able to cover everything for everyone in all likelihood – there simply isn’t enough time, and certain audience members might be disengaged during portions that aren’t relevant to them. But if you can find the space that addresses as many people as possible, you’ll have the core material and positioning you need. If you’re visually oriented, consider constructing a Venn diagram to assist you in isolating your key points.

During the actual presentation itself, leave room for tailoring your approach based on the audience. Also read the room carefully – you want to try to ascertain who the influencers and decision-makers are and appeal to them. Influencers in particular can be critical in helping build post-presentation consensus and agreement in a multi-departmental decision-making process.

As with any sales presentation, you’ll want to make sure to close out by establishing consensus on next steps – if not outright win agreement and close the deal (admittedly difficult because of how many moving parts are involved, but if you lay the groundwork, it could well be possible).

Key Questions to Ensure Multidepartment Alignment

A blog from GTMnow,, lists several questions when selling to multiple departments. In a nutshell, they suggest sellers ask the following:

What Does the C-Suite Want?

In most sales organizations, decisions start at the top. Therefore, to engage key players, understand the C-suite. Consider the following:

  • Their individual goals and objectives
  • Which departments they oversee
  • When they enter the buying process

The concerns, goals, and objectives of leaders influence the entire organization. It’s what they are all working toward. Further, depending on the size of the deal, you will eventually need their buy-in. Once you identify their needs, you can target the organization’s long-term objectives. This includes what’s in the way.

What Are the Main Obstacles?

To solve multidepartment problems, organizations need the infrastructure to properly implement solutions. Ascertain the following:

  • The skill level of team members
  • Their proficiency using existing tools
  • The organization’s budget for training/support

These obstacles can require different solutions for different departments and prevent teams from working together. Once you identify obstacles, you can align the departments to meet their goals.

Is the Company Positioned to Meet Its Objectives?

Large company initiatives can only be achieved if departments are aligned. For example, determine:

  • Current communication channels
  • Level of collaboration
  • Relationships

These questions can reveal whether the organization is positioned to implement your products and services. Once this is determined, sellers can target the specific needs, goals, and objectives of decision makers.

Who Are the Key Players?

Any deal involving multiple departments requires identifying who’s who. In addition, sellers must understand how these players work. This makes it essential to ascertain:

  • Gatekeepers/stakeholders/supporters
  • Their relationships with decision makers
  • The potential for singular solutions to solve multiple problems
  • How to combine products/services into a suite of solutions

By engaging decision makers, sellers are consistently building alignment and agreement. Key to this is ensuring sellers have the right internal support.

Who Are Your Strongest Advocates

When selling to multiple departments, advocates facilitate communication and alignment. These people may or may not be a seller’s original or main contact. However, they are key to navigating relationships and championing solutions. For sellers, it’s critical to:

  • Identify supporters
  • Understand their network
  • Determine their influence/relationships

Gaining supporters is only the first step. To ensure they advocate the way you need, sellers must properly support their advocates.

How Can Sellers Support Their Advocates?

For advocates to successfully promote your solutions, the right support is crucial. Therefore, sellers must do the following:

  • Provide collateral, such as blogs, case studies, and whitepapers
  • Instruct how to demonstrate products/services
  • Join in presenting to stakeholders from various departments

These questions can ensure sellers get a good start ascertaining needs and aligning departments. In addition, sellers must be equipped with the right strategies. A Forbes blog offers strategies:

Strategies For Selling to Multiple Departments

Start Early

When initiating a deal involving multiple departments, get a jump engaging all stakeholders. Of course, sellers should always prepare. This includes learning key decision makers. But for deals involving multiple departments, know who’s who, what motivates them, and their relationships.

This can involve a deeper examination of their social media. Check their posts, but also check their engagements. Understanding a prospect or client’s personal relationships can be key to gaining alignment and agreement.

Learn Motivations

Within multidepartment selling, it’s essential to recognize the specific motivations and priorities of the parties involved. For instance, a CEO and other leaders’ primary motivation may be cost. Production heads may focus on efficiency and streamlining processes. As each decision maker has distinct motivations, sellers must tailor their approach to suit each. They must then work toward creating alignment.

Maintain Transparency

Of course, sellers should take a proactive approach in seeking contacts. However, in this, don’t forget or neglect your initial contact. More than just using them for names, include them in discussions with other team members. Seek their input into engaging with their co-workers and colleagues.

As transparency is key, never circumvent or usurp a potential advocate. Always keep them informed of your need to involve other team members. And make sure to thank them for their insights and help. It’s great to build rapport with decision makers from the C-suite. But remember, multidepartment selling is a longer process. It requires a true team effort that includes maintaining positive and productive relationships throughout.

Team Selling

In deals requiring multiple decision makers and departments, sellers should consider a team approach. Rather than try to do it all themselves, it can be beneficial to enlist another salesperson or expert. This can be a great way to build additional rapport and address specific or technical concerns that may arise early on. Lucid’s blog “There’s no ‘I’ in sales” offers several benefits of team selling:

  • Provide additional perspective
  • Highlight expertise and leadership
  • Demonstrate support
  • Build confidence
  • Strengthen relationships

Team selling to multiple departments can leverage the unique expertise of two or more sellers. It can be especially valuable to include senior leadership. This enhances credibility and can provide a longer-range perspective.

Further, team selling enhances your team’s specialized knowledge. This boosts credibility and shows your sellers and organizations as industry leaders. It illustrates how your team collaborates, which can enhance how multiple buyers collaborate with each other and sellers. 

Team selling to multiple departments can also build confidence for buyers. Rather than telling them all about your great support system, let them see it for themselves.

Most importantly, a tag team of sellers can strengthen relationships. It can increase the odds of specific buyers building rapport, such as techie to techie or executive to executive. This demonstrates that buyers are not just gaining one potential partner. Their organization is truly partnering with yours.


Although navigating the byzantine maze of a multi-departmental sale might seem a task suited only to the epic heroes of sales, the reality is you can accomplish it by following these steps. It involves a longer sales cycle and greater patience than singleton decision-maker selling processes, but the skills developed in these more complex sales will make you a better sales professional overall.

Updated: 6/10/24