This article is part of the Gong Labs series, where I publish findings from our data research team. We analyze sales conversations and deals using AI, then share the results to help you win more deals. Follow me to read upcoming research.
Two years ago, I had a slow-moving deal that changed on a dime.
I had spent months trying to get the right stakeholders involved. There were weeks of no-shows and rescheduling, follow-up emails, and voicemails.
Right when I thought they’d gone completely dark, the buyer would reply with just enough interest to keep me hanging on and the deal in my pipeline.
A single email changed everything:
“Hi Devin, I’d like you to meet with Charlie, Deandra, and Frank for a demo to see if Gong is a good fit for their teams. Are you free on Thursday at 1 PM?
I was pumped.
That call gave me instant access to three new people I could turn into champions.
Three more people I could win over to build a ground swell of support.
After that meeting, I had momentum. I could feel it.
Before I knew it, I won them over and sealed the deal.
Sales is like that sometimes. Cold, then hot at a moment’s notice.
But was that just a one-off? Or is there something more behind group calls?
This question matters because in sales, things are not always as they seem.
Most of the time, you leave group calls not knowing whether they’re a quiet bunch who are interested, or if you wasted an hour on chatty people who aren’t into your product.
So… is a group call the right place to spend your time?
The good news is that there’s a very clear answer.
About these insights
Here’s a quick explanation of how we get our data at Gong Labs.
We analyze (anonymized) B2B sales interactions from our product users, including everything captured by Gong’s Revenue Intelligence platform: web conference meetings, phone calls, and emails. Then we analyze how seller and buyer actions impact success rates.
For this post, we analyzed 3,336 sales opportunities and looked at how the number of meeting participants from the buyer’s side affected win rates. The sample is predominantly B2B technology companies in the United States.
Now let’s get back to everything you need to know about group calls.
Group calls boost win rates
“The more the merrier” sums this up nicely. When more participants from the buyer’s side attend your meetings, you get higher win rates:
There is literally zero downside in terms of win rates when it comes to adding participants to your meetings. No matter when the call happens, and no matter the number of additional people involved, group calls boost your numbers.
BUT, notice this…
The later in the cycle the group call happens, the bigger the impact.
Win rates that are nearly 2x higher when they occur on the fourth meeting compared to the first.
Two times! (If you want to picture that, it looks like several bags of money.)
That’s a big jump. So why does the timing of group call matter so much?
It’s most likely because by the fourth call, buyers are lower in the sales funnel and closer to the decision phase. They’re not there to kick tires. They’re ready to be guided forward towards a deal.
And whether they know it or not, your main point of contact uses group calls as a confidence booster. If they see buy-in happening from their peers, they feel better about leaning into yes.
Help them LEAN.
That said, don’t spend too much time worrying about when your group call happens.
Despite the benefits of late-stage group calls, you shouldn’t hold off on group calls until later in the sales cycle in the hopes of boosting win rates. They’re always beneficial, so take them whenever you can get them.
Instead, focus on their hidden advantages.
(PS: Want tips for nailing your next group call? Our 7 Tactics to Ace Group Sales Calls has everything you need to build rapport and boost your win rate. Download here for free.)
Why group calls help you win
By now you’re probably wondering what about group calls makes them so beneficial. Why are they so good at boosting numbers?
I applaud your curiosity. Here are the three main reasons:
1. You gain access quickly
You’ve probably heard that you need to “get wide” when it comes to deal execution. That means you need to build relationships with multiple people within an account.
The official approach is called multi-threading and it’s incredibly valuable. (More on multi-threading here, along with a step-by-step formula to do it effectively).
Group calls — or sales meetings with multiple buyer participants in attendance — accelerate your ability to multi-thread.
Instead of being introduced to stakeholders one by one, which takes time, you get face time (screen-time?) with several people in a single interaction.
That means you go from selling point solutions to an individual to selling a holistic solution for the entire business. When everyone is together, they see a wide range of ways in which your product/service benefits their organization.
Now you’re helping them see the big picture – the promised land – and it depends on what you’re selling.
2. It’s a buying signal
More than anything, use group calls to guide your forecast.
Consider group calls an extra marker that helps you assess your pipeline. Their timing is a signal that helps you assess where things are at in a deal and how well they’re going. The later they happen, the more influence and support you likely have – and call recording software can help you pick up on those signals.
In an unpredictable world, you can’t afford to only trust your gut when forecasting. You need every advantage available because deal predictability requires deal visibility.
That means knowing who you’re selling to, how engaged they are, and when these interactions are happening in your sales cycle. Something like this:
When you can see everything going on in your deals, you have control.
Without it, you’re left hoping that everything is going smoothly towards a signature…
And we all know that hope is not a strategy.
3. Champions help you win influence
More often than not, your point of contact (AKA, champion) decides who attends these meetings.
The new attendees take their invite as a cue that value and trust are already established… that their colleague has already vetted you and thinks you have something valuable to say. Something worth their time.
I mean, you’d only introduce a new person into your friend group if you thought the group would enjoy their company, right?
Same thing here. Inviting others is like a vote of confidence from your champion. It’s their way of saying you can make everyone’s lives (jobs) easier, all while making the champion look good in the process.
In other words, you’re not selling alone. You have someone on your side.
Go into group calls knowing that you can build on a foundation that’s already there.
BUT… more people, more problems
… Or at least more potential problems. While group calls are a clear winner for many reasons, they’re also inherently challenging for sellers. Here are the top obstacles you’ll face and how to handle them:
Things get quiet when a boss attends
Not every group call will have a VP or director in the room. But when it happens, expect the other attendees to get really quiet. They’ll often wait to see what the highest-ranking person in the room thinks before chiming in themselves. Why? So they can follow the boss’s lead.
As a result, your attendees may also be reluctant to ask important questions if they point to challenges within their organization. And when they’re uncertain, it’s easier — and safer — for them to stay quiet. In a room full of their peers, it would be completely different — but dang, that boss’s presence can change everything.
How do you handle it?
Don’t ask for general feedback.
Remove “Any questions?” from your talk track.
Instead, ask a specific person what they liked about the product as various points in the conversation. This approach opens the verbal floodgates in a way that’s safe.
It will either reinforce positive messaging about your product/service or allow some real questions to emerge.
And that’s what you really want. The chance to address unspoken doubts.
It’s tough to read multiple attendees
Non-verbal language is like air for top-notch salespeople. They thrive on it.
We salespeople cultivate and cherish the ability to immediately see what people like, dislike, or question. A picture and facial expressions are worth a thousand words.
And not surprisingly, it’s harder to read four people at once than one.
It’s also tough to read anyone who chooses not to use their video during the call or stay on mute the entire time.
Do what you can to get everyone in your line of sight… as much as you can over video.
(Need some video sales quick tips? Check out our 10 tips for deal-making videos sales calls where you can learn what to say to get buyers to turn on their video.)
You can’t control who attends
When you have a broad audience in a room, it’s tempting to make your message broad too. But that can lead to message dilution.
So, for example, when you try to appeal to a CRO, a Sales Enablement Director, and a Marketing Manager, you might not wow anyone.
Avoid that by suggesting 2-3 smaller group calls instead, broken up by department, so everyone’s area of focus is covered.
If that’s impossible, clarify your topic agenda BEFORE the call happens, and again when it kicks off. Focus your agenda on what will move the deal forward. Acknowledge that some people’s interests may not be covered in depth, then offer a follow up call for those individuals.
Then work your multi-threading chops and connect with anyone who needs to hear more from you after the group call. Get them on the line on their own.
Win. Them. Over.
Do what it takes to make them feel heard. Make them your champion.
Avoid these mistakes on your next group call
Group calls are great, but there’s no “sure thing” in sales. No silver bullets either.
There are plenty of ways to drop the ball and turn a group call into a deal stalled (trust me, I’ve made most of them).
If you want to turn group into deal accelerators, you have to run the whole process smoothly from start to finish.
I created a checklist of 7 tactics that’ll ensure you ace your next group call and keep the momentum going long afterward.
Skip the ‘Sales School of Hard Knocks’ this year. Pick up these inside secrets that’ll have your deals zoom-ing toward signature.
Speaking of groups…
Did you find this post insightful?
If yes, share this post with your group – your team, your squad, your posse.
Because sales is a team sport, and like Chris Voss told me:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
It’s an old proverb, before you give him too much credit 🙂