We’ve all heard the stats that buying groups are growing to be larger than ever, but in case you need reminding, the typical B2B deal involves an average of 25 people in the buying committee, including a line of business stakeholders and IT decision-makers (up from 20 last year, Foundry)

What’s more, the number of decision-makers can increase for complex deals, and sales cycles are getting longer than ever. But what are we fundamentally doing to adapt? 
It’s more important than ever to engage more than just a primary point of contact, most marketing and sales teams aren’t making a concerted effort to multithread their deals.  

What is multithreading in sales?

Multithreading is the sales and marketing strategy of targeting each account from multiple angles. Multithreading is a powerful strategy for B2B sales specifically because B2B deals involve large buying committees. Sales and marketing organizations multithread by targeting diverse personas within each account with tailored advertising and outreach. 

Why aren’t more teams multithreading?

For starters, most teams are not incentivized to multithread deals when their primary KPIs are MQLs, MQAs, or opportunities. If you only get ‘credit’ for driving one lead within an account, you certainly wouldn’t be going out of your way to multithread. I have encountered instances where marketers believe that once an opportunity has been created, the account becomes ‘off limits’ for further marketing efforts. This narrow perspective often limits the opportunities that multithreading could offer. By the same token, if when a second lead within an account is passed to sales, marketing is met with responses like, “We already met with so-and-so from this account”, you’re not likely to practice multithreading. But you should! Here’s why: 

Studies show multithreading raises conversion rates significantly.  
By 2026, B2B organizations that unify commercial strategies and leverage multithreaded commercial engagements will realize revenue growth that outperforms their competition by a whopping 50%.

Here’s an example of how multithreading can decrease risk: Sales receives just one MQL from marketing within a target account with 25 people within its buying team. But is the MQL a key decision maker within the buying team? They might not be. They also might have colleagues within their buying group who are meeting with competitors. By ignoring the hidden buying group with singlethreaded tactics, sales opens themselves up to a lot of risk.  

Benefits of multithreading 

More likely to get buy-in and increase win rates

Multithreading increases win rates by allowing sellers to persuade hidden stakeholders who aren’t bought in. In fact, User Gems found that multithreading increased win rates from 5% for single threaded opportunities to 30% when multithreading occurred with 5 stakeholders- a 6X improvement. 

Faster sales cycle – increasing pipeline velocity

One of the biggest barriers to any deal is that the product being sold is not top priority for the buyers. When a product is not top priority, buyers may cancel or reschedule calls, delay moving forward, or wait to bring in other stakeholders. But when you multithread deals you can learn what’s priority for stakeholders across the account, position your product accordingly, and by connecting with different stakeholders, you can push along the account by the FOMO effect – if you meet with more people within the account – others won’t want to be left out and you’ll face less friction.  

Product stickiness and adoption 

We see this all the time in our ABM platform deals: prospects in exploratory calls often say that only one department is getting something out of a product they’re using. When just one department uses a product, the product is easily a risk in case of budget cuts. The goal is for your product to be un-cuttable, and the best way to do that is to get cross-departmental adoption early. By multi-threading deals, you can get a jumpstart on this even before the deal has closed.  

Lower risk of loss due to point of contact leaving 

Sellers have seen this countless times: your deal is progressing well, your POC seems keen to move forward and… they left their job? Now your deal for their previous company is generally dead in the water if you were single threading. But if you were multithreading, you can more easily set next steps with the rest of the buying group, determine who would make the most sense as a new primary point of contact, and see if the deal still has legs.  

Limitations of multithreading 

We don’t report on this well 

Like I mentioned early on, in a world of MQAs and opportunities where the usual expectation is ‘there’s only one of these per account’, marketing and sales teams aren’t incentivized to multithread their deals. If their performance metrics look better to have 3 single threaded deals rather than 1 multithreaded deals, that can be a problem, especially if you reference the stats from UserGems – a 6X higher win rate with multithreading, a multithreaded deal should be weighted significantly more heavily than a single threaded deal.  

Requires more persona work 

If you’re going to multi-thread your deals, you can’t expect to use the same talk track with marketers as with sales, as with finance, etc. You have to develop personas and pain points for each, and approach them as the distinct personas that they are. You might even need to determine different channels and tactics that are more effective for each persona such as relying more on cold calls for sales, or advertising for executives, for example.  

Requires more bandwidth   

If you’re going to try to reach 5X more people within each account, you’ll be using more bandwidth. This could mean more marketing support with resources and tactics to reach stakeholders, as well as more sales bandwidth- drafting cadences for more personas within each account, more cold calling, and more social selling touch points.  

Could require more spend 

If you’ll be running additional advertising in your multithreading plays, that could very quickly increase your spend per account. Because of this and requiring additional bandwidth, it’s a good idea to start multithreading with a small target account list of high fit accounts.  
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of multithreading, let’s jump into some actual multithreading tactics you can deploy in your go-to-market strategy. 

3 Multithreading plays to deploy in your GTM strategy 

Air cover to hidden stakeholders 

When you look at all the contacts associated with a deal after it’s closed-won vs. when it was first created, you’ll likely see more contacts across the account, some of them likely higher level executives who were brought into the deal only once the deal got to a certain point of maturity and they had been sold internally on the importance of purchasing your product or service. 

But there are many reasons why you might never get to closed-won in deals with many stakeholders.You might find that C-suite stakeholders haven’t heard of your business, that a competitor is deeply entrenched, or that they still need to be convinced of the business case for your product.  

If your primary point of contact isn’t absolutely championing your product internally (we love to see it, but that doesn’t make it guaranteed of course), then reasons for deals stalling like the above can be addressed with marketing and sales touches.  

First, let’s start with advertising air cover. Start with your top accounts in pipeline. Identify personas that can make or break your deals but that aren’t the primary points of contact. Now go through your CRM or your sales intelligence to analyze your most common loss reasons that would likely relate to these hidden personas. For example, CFOs not wanting to fund your product, executives having low awareness of your brand, competitors winning more with certain departments, etc. Then based off that information, create ads to target those personas with messaging that addresses the fear, uncertainty, or doubt they might have.  
To measure whether your advertising air cover to hidden stakeholders is working, you can run an A/B test comparing the win rate of half of a list of your top accounts pipeline who were exposed to this advertising, vs. half who were not. This way you can decide whether this tactic is worth continuing and expanding for your organization.  

Looping in other team members 

Have you ever received a cold email that mentioned your colleague by name? If you did, you might’ve noticed that it jumped out at you far more than the countless cold emails you receive that contain your own name. By reaching out to multiple members of a team, sellers can increase their response and meeting rates, and people are more likely to reply when there are a couple of them. It goes back to a sort of fear of missing out or fear that they might seem like they’re dropping the ball. This tactic can work well, but you should be careful with it, since it’s much more effective the more personalized it is.  
For example, an email mentioning you colleague by name and then referencing a conversation you had with them would be far more likely to receive a response than a spray and pray “Hi {first name}, are you the right person to talk to or is {colleague-first name}?” 
However, if you use this tactic dishonestly, your approach may have the opposite effect. For example, don’t say you “talked to their colleague Jane Doe” if you didn’t.  

Cross-team recon 

If you sell to sales and marketing organizations, or if you simply don’t live under a rock, you know that sales and marketing teams are often at odds with each other. This can be due to needing to seemingly argue for credit for revenue,  or whether leads are or are not qualified, difference in opinion over which go-to-market tactics are most effective for their market, or a myriad of other reasons. So when sales and marketing teams both get on board with a product, that’s big. It means your product will be much more likely to be onboarded and adopted across teams and become uncuttable.  

This leads me to a tactic the Foundry ABM team uses to get more information on top accounts and multithread: cross-team recon. Cross team recon is when an SDR cold calls sales team members of an account, as opposed to going straight to marketing, the more typical primary point of contact within their accounts, and asks them exploratory questions about the account. This works because firstly, sales team members are significantly more likely to answer their phone than marketers are. Secondly, because of the idea that sales and marketing are at odds with each other, they may be more willing to share candid information about their pain points around go-to-market tools. And lastly, because the call is from a sales person to another sales person there’s a sense of congeniality, making the sales people being called are more likely to relate to the SDR calling them and want to help them out with information.  

Final thoughts

Now more than ever, multithreading just makes sense for B2B. With ballooning buying groups and dragging sales cycles, multithreading is a key strategy that can improve your revenue generation.  

Now that we’ve discussed what multithreading is, why it’s worth your while, and some plays you could try, give some thought to how your reporting is set up, what tactics are incentivized, and how you can approach your metrics in a way that encourages your team to get the most revenue possible.