Multithread or die: Why cross-department threading can save your year

Posted February 13, 2024

Evan Klein headshot

By Evan Klein

VP, Product & Solutions Marketing at Outreach

There’s power in numbers, but we’re not just talking about your sales team. Saying “multithreading is good,” is Sales 101, but new Outreach data indicates a new twist to multithreading might just be the answer you’ve been looking for at a time like this. When sales cycles are getting longer, and more voices need to be heard before any contracts are signed, multithreading is a great practice, but cross-department threading could be your strategic advantage.

Illustration of multithreading concept with interconnected threads

Why multithreading works

Multithreading goes beyond a singular prospect or decision-maker, creating relationships with multiple people and departments on the purchasing side. By 2026, companies that leverage multithreading strategies will grow revenue 50% more than their competition. Outreach is the world’s leading sales execution platform, so we have unparalleled insight into millions of deals. Outreach data indicates that when more than one contact is engaged, deals are 37% more likely to close. And it just makes sense; these deals have:

  • Less risk: less likely for a champion to leave or lose interest and stall the deal
  • More support: more champions to sing your solution’s praises and help you sell internally
  • More upside: more buy-in increases the potential for a bigger sale
Crossdepartment multithreading stat

“Multithreading. It’s innately obvious,” says Outreach Lead Solutions Consultant Ben Hou. “To do it well, you have to build trust across an organization. But it’s not just beneficial in the sale, it’s how you secure successful advocacy and implementation of a product – this increases your likelihood of the sale and the renewal.”

But when the entire industry knows the secret, it ceases to be insightful. In 2024, multithreading has become table stakes. It’s been a while since anyone closed a deal with only one person in an account, so let’s dig a little deeper. 

multithreading quote from Outreach lead solutions consultant

Try cross-department threading (but only if you like winning)

The Outreach platform analyzes billions of customer interactions and opportunities, along with the hundreds of indicators that make up each deal. This dynamic collection of data informs Deal Health Scores, predicting deal closure with 81% accuracy. Individual relationships are valuable, but as it turns out, the most powerful element in impacting deal win rate is the number of departments engaged in an opportunity:

  • Deals where sellers engaged one department (selling into one functional area of business), regardless of number of contacts, were won about 28% of the time. 
  • Deals where sellers engaged two departments won about 39% of the time.
  • Deals where sellers engaged three or more departments won 44% of the time.

We’re calling this “cross-department threading.” And it has the potential to increase win rates by 56%! Just as in standard multithreading, cross-department threading decreases risk, but it does that across departments, so even if an entire team or department you’re engaged with is laid off tomorrow (an unfortunate, but more common circumstance), you still have champions in the business. It also increases support and perceived value when there’s a story being told by multiple champions in multiple departments. If the marketing team, sales, and product teams are all supportive of a solution, it’s probably the right solution. 

Cross department multithread stats

So, how do I pull it off?

Let's break down a few best practices that can help you win buy-in across departments and boost your win rates. “When prospecting with a customer,” advises Ben, “we use a multi-threaded strategy to establish relationships across both above-the-line and below-the-line stakeholders. For example, after a discovery or demo, I make it a habit to send a follow-up email directly to the technical stakeholders to establish trust as an SC.” Some of Ben’s tactics include:

Best practices for cross-department multithreading
  • Own the technical follow-up. Include a list of the prospect's requirements in an email — and how your solution can best address those requirements. In a table or list, he typically identifies which items are easily achievable and which ones may need additional work or configuration.
  • Connect the dots with leadership. Introduce leadership teams to meet with the prospect's executives. This introduces broader alignment across both sides to address strategic items, such as product roadmap support or professional services support. The idea here is to weave multi-thread relationships across both tactical and strategic levels.
  • Plan a roadmap. Account Execs and Solutions Consultants can work together to devise a roadmap. AEs can come over the top and present a plan to schedule next steps to move the engagement forward with appropriate next steps. This allows the AE to quarterback the deal while allowing SCs like Ben to manage the technical requirements and leadership to ensure we have support throughout the cycle.

Is there a catch? Cross-department threading also increases the complexity of managing a deal, requiring multiple touchpoints across multiple personas and juggling numerous criteria, personalities, and calendars.

Staying focused and organized is no easy task. Of course, we recommend Outreach to track communications, review and share Kaia recordings, and monitor progression. But if you’re navigating multithreading without Outreach, we recommend thorough internal communications and planning, along with regular check-ins to ensure nothing falls through. 

Stay tuned for more best practices from our experts at Outreach. Happy selling. 💪


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