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    Could the DACI framework help you make more sales?

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    Some of my biggest sales insights have come from disciplines outside of sales. I read blogs and white papers and books, listen to podcasts and watch webinars across a wide range of interest areas from the personal to the professional and everything in between. At Membrain we encourage our employees to learn and grow in areas outside their immediate discipline as well.

    Recently, I happened on an tool called DACI, which helps define the roles in large, collaborative projects, and ensures all stakeholders are appropriately involved and informed. It occurred to me that DACI could also be a useful framework for organizing stakeholders in complex sales projects.

    What is DACI?

    DACI stands for Driver, Approver, Contributor, and Informed. It refers to four types of stakeholders involved in any decision.

    1. Driver
      The driver is not necessarily the decision-maker, but rather the person or group responsible for ensuring that decisions are made and moved forward. The driver may manage the project, make sure that meetings are on task and on schedule, and ensure that decision-makers and influencers have access to the information and resources they need throughout the process.
    2. Approver
      The approver is the person or group responsible for the final decision. They may be influenced by or take into consideration the opinions and consultation of others, but ultimately, the Approver’s name(s) is/are the stamp of approval that makes the decision final. The approver is usually a manager, owner, CEO, or project owner.
    3. Contributor
      Contributors are individuals whose opinions, expertise, and consultation are included and considered in the decision-making process. They may be subject matter experts, customers, users, consultants, or others with a stake in the project. They do not make the decision, but their inputs have a meaningful impact on the decision.
    4. Informed
      The informed are any stakeholders who need to be informed about the progress of the project. The informed will generally be the largest group, and will include the driver, approver, and contributors. But it will also include many who are impacted by or interested in the project, and who need to be informed about its progress, but who do not have an impact on the outcome.

    When I heard about this model, I saw that it could be a good way for sellers to think about a buying project from the customer’s perspective.

    How sales teams can use DACI to align with the buyer

    One of the biggest challenges salespeople face in complex b2b sales is getting the entire buying organization identified and aligned to make the purchase. Often, salespeople think they’re speaking to an approver when they’re actually in touch with a contributor. Or, perhaps their contact is an approver, but there are additional approvers they don’t know about. In other cases, they may even have all the “decision-makers” in the room, but an influential contributor may undermine their efforts with contrary opinions.

    Salespeople unknowingly kill deals by failing to include the right people in the process.

    At Membrain, we train our salespeople to build relationships across the organization, and to involve decision-makers, influencers, and stakeholders at every stage of the sales process in an organized and structured manner. We aim to eliminate surprises and increase win rates through a systematic discovery process that helps us understand exactly who needs to be involved at each stage of the sales conversation.

    The Membrain platform makes it easy for salespeople to organize and visualize relationships among stakeholders within an organization. Our process tools show salespeople and their managers exactly who they need to involve in the process next and what their relationship is to the organization and to the sale.

    Because our tool is easily customizable, it could readily be used to align the sales process with DACI. Using Membrain, you can map the customer roles to the DACI framework, using the decision team matrix to capture a perfect overview of each person’s background, details, options, and so on.

    Our visualization tool would then allow salespeople, managers, and other sales project collaborators to easily see who’s who within the DACI framework, and to align conversations with the way that the buyer wants to buy.

    Our process tools can then be customized to guide salespeople through activities, steps, milestones, and stages for each member of the buying organization, based on their role within the DACI framework.

    Too often, salespeople unknowingly kill deals by failing to include the right people in the process, or by misunderstanding each person’s relationship to the purchase. Putting a DACI framework inside Membrain is one relatively simple way to help salespeople think about the purchase from the buyer’s perspective, and ensure they’re including everyone they need to include in an effective way.

    What do you think? Are you using something like DACI when organizing projects? What would it change for you if used this approach in your sales efforts?

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    George Brontén
    Published June 15, 2022
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn