Multi-Threading: How Marketing Supports Sales

If you’re unfamiliar with the term multi-threading, that’s because it’s primarily used in sales. Multi-threading means connecting with multiple decision-makers on the purchasing side of a deal. It’s simple: the more contacts you have at an account, the more opportunities you have to prove value and expand the deal size. 

Most purchasing decisions are done by committee. According to Gartner Research, complex B2B sales can involve up to 10 people on the buyer’s side. Losing deals often struggle to get more than one point of contact to attend their meetings.

As a marketer, you can multi-thread deals (and make the job easier for salespeople) by reaching out to accounts on three levels, each one with a slightly different approach: new business, open opportunities, and current customers.

Let’s break it down.

Multi-threading a new business account

When you try to penetrate a new account that has no prior engagement with your company, you should target different personas at different levels within the organization to gain visibility. Depending on whom your product serves, you might target a VP of sales and a director of operations, each with different messages that speak to what they value most. 

“Different people who use your product are going to have different use cases and needs,” says Dominique Catabay, manager of revenue generation at ZoomInfo. “You have to tailor your message accordingly to grab their attention.” 

For example, your message to a salesperson might focus on building scalable revenue and shortening the sales cycle, while the message to a marketer might emphasize driving strong leads and increasing conversion rates. 

Leveraging your B2B data provider, you can use organizational charts to identify who the decision-makers are at the account and pull their email addresses to reach out to them directly. If you’re running a cold email campaign, have a list for sales reps to follow up with prospects shortly after you’ve sent the email, to confirm receipt and schedule a meeting. 

For new accounts that you and your sales team have deemed a good fit with high potential contract value, consider running display ads that target each relevant persona at the account with a call to action, such as a free trial. 

Multi-threading an open opportunity

Open opportunities are potential accounts that have shown active interest in your solution, putting them further along in the sales cycle. If they’re a single-threaded contact account, you’re risking the chance to close or significantly expand the deal. Connecting with additional decision-makers can also help keep the opportunity alive in the event that your current contact loses interest, leaves the company, or doesn’t have the influence to get the deal done. 

At ZoomInfo, our go-to-market platform and data can serve a number of different personas, including salespeople, marketers, and recruiters. If we’re only speaking with the director of sales at an account, we’re missing the chance to expand our deal size by not speaking with anyone in marketing or recruiting about our product’s value.

If seven days have passed since your initial meeting (or a timeframe that makes sense for your sales cycle) and you only have a single point of contact, run an automated email campaign to start multi-threading other stakeholders at the account. 

Multi-threading a current customer

On the customer side, there are always opportunities for renewals, upsells, and cross-sells. You already have an existing relationship with the main point of contact at your account, so your job is to show value to more people on their side.

You can multi-thread in two ways: vertically and laterally. If your product serves a single persona, multi-thread vertically. Target stakeholders of differing seniority levels from the bottom of the org chart to the top. Send automated emails to between appropriate job titles — an executive reaches out to another exec, a director to a VP, an account manager to a director, and so on.

If you have an emerging product or feature that serves different personas, multi-thread laterally, by targeting different departments within the account. Leverage your B2B database to identify other decision-makers on the account in different departments who have titles or job functions similar to your main point of contact. 

While you can reach customers through a number of different channels (in-app pop-ups, webinars, or newsletters) emails and calls work well. Since you already have an existing relationship with the account, there’s less need to worry about brand awareness. You just need to reach the right people with a targeted message explaining your relationship with the main point of contact, the account, and the opportunities that will further benefit their business and goals.

“Focus on referencing your existing relationship with their organization,” says Millie Beetham, a revenue generation manager at ZoomInfo. “If you haven’t heard back, it could be because the person you’re contacting isn’t the right person for that conversation. In your last automated email, ask if there’s someone else on the account you should contact.”

Quick tips

  • Aim to have at least three to four contacts per account.
  • Keep sales in the loop about which accounts and contacts you want to target so they can weigh in on who to include or exclude.
  • Be specific and direct. Different personas and levels of a department’s hierarchy have different needs and expectations. Tailor your messaging to appeal to specific roles.
  • Monitor where your wins are coming from. If you’re seeing the highest win rates from one persona, but most of your opportunities are with another, focus on getting a decision-maker from your high win-rate persona onto the buying committee.
  • Build trust with your sales team. Invest in your operations and systems to ensure accurate and efficient targeting and automation.