Welcome To The Power Matrix

Welcome To The Power Matrix

As you meet people and develop a sales opportunity within your prospect, you need a tool to help you make sure you develop relationships with the correct people with the appropriate power and influence to help you.

The Power Matrix is a great tool to understand the organization. I promise you, if you can successfully fill out the Power Matrix in every account, you will be phenomenally successful.

There are two different versions of the Power Matrix. The Small Power Matrix is for deals that are relatively small. I advise salespeople that the cutoff for a smaller deal is one that is less than approximately 5-10% of your annual quota. This should be varied depending on the product that you sell and your industry in general, but it is unreasonable to use the Large Power Matrix (see below) more than 20 times in a fiscal year – it is just too much work for deals that are smaller than at least 5% of your annual quota.

The Small Power Matrix encourages you to map out nine different people at your prospect. These nine people are in three levels of the organization and three different departments. Graphically, the Small Power Matrix looks like Figure A.

Figure A – Small Power Matrix.

The people in this matrix are people who are in the Decision Group that you can learn about in other posts on this site or in my book Eliminate Your Competition (see below for info). They may not be all of the people, but they will be the most influential. If you think that your Decision Group is smaller than nine people, then I encourage you to do more investigation. There are very few decisions made by organizations that have fewer than nine people that are affected by the decision and therefore do not have an influence on that decision.

It is important to understand that the Power Matrix is not an organizational chart. Rather, it is an influence chart. These are the nine people most likely to influence the decision. Therefore, the end-user in Department 3 doesn’t have to specifically report to the coach’s level of Department 3. Rather, the end-user should respect the opinion of the coach and vice versa.

Similarly, the upper management of Department 3 may not necessarily have the Department Coach as a direct report. However, the upper management person must respect the opinion of the Coach in the Department.

The easiest way to understand the three levels is that people on the same horizontal row have virtually the same organizational power. One person may be a Director, and the other column may contain a Vice President, but that may not be a reflection of power. Often, titles are a reflection of employment tenure and not true power in the organization. It is not unusual for a very bright Director to have as much influence in an organization as a Vice President. This can be especially true between different Departments that may have larger or smaller communities. Don’t let titles sway your analysis; rather, observe the reactions and respect of others to make sure you have the correct person.

I like to put my primary Coach’s name in the center of the chart in the Department 2 column. The Department that the Coach belongs to will be the part of the organization that will most benefit from the final decision. Therefore the upper management person directly above the Coach should be your best possible Champion.

It is possible that your primary Coach is not in the department that will most benefit from the decision. If that is the case, you must consider that you need another Coach. A Coach is most effective when there is a direct personal gain from the decision. Since you can have multiple Coaches in any individual selling campaign, you should consider finding another Coach who is in the department with the most to gain.

In fact, everyone at the Coach level of the Power Matrix should be considered a Coach. One of the goals of the Power Matrix is to try to force you to develop three Coaches. The primary Coach will be the one who has the most to gain, but you should find and develop Coaches in other departments. You can never have enough Coaches to help you win your deal.

The Power Matrix is not an organizational chart, it is an influence chart

Large Power Matrix

The Large Power Matrix is very similar to the Small Power Matrix. The Large Power Matrix is used for sales opportunities that are forecasted to be more than 10% of your annual quota. In other words, these are decisions that, if guided correctly, could significantly enhance your earnings. With a reasonable win rate, it is doubtful that you would have to do more than 10 of the Large Power Matrix analyses in any given year.

The Small Power Matrix is a 3×3 matrix. It is asking you to have in-depth conversations with three people in three different departments. The Large Power Matrix is more of an investment in time; it is asking you to identify five people in five different departments. It is a 5×5 matrix and is shown in Figure B.

Figure B – Large Power Matrix

Similar to the Small Power Matrix, the Coach with the most to gain should go in the center of the Power Matrix. I encourage you to put Departments that have less to gain on the outside (columns 1 and 5) and those with more to gain next to the middle column.

In the Large Power Matrix, it is even more likely that it will not line up with an organizational chart. It is not uncommon to have several Vice Presidents and several Directors in any given department. The virtual influence on this one decision may be larger with one Director than another even though both are at the same organizational level. The more powerful person would be higher on the Power Matrix. Also, other Departments may not be devoting as many people to the effort, and therefore the rankings on any given column are different.

Below the Coach level are the end-users. In a larger decision, some end users will be more affected than others. Also, one end user may be asked to be involved in all aspects of the decision, but another will only be asked to occasionally help. The occasional user would be listed on the lowest row of the Power Matrix while the more active user would be listed closer to the Coach.

You should begin to use the Power Matrix to keep track of whom you know and how well you know them. You will need to put a plan together to meet and understand the people who are openings in your Power Matrix.

If you are confused about how to use the Large or Small Power Matrix, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via my contact form.

You can also get more information about the use of the Power Matrix by reading my book, Eliminate Your Competition. You may purchase my book, Eliminate Your Competition, from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Header image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Leave a Reply