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Selling Above and Below the Line

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Selling Above and Below the Line

Convince the C-Suite. Win Over Management. Secure the Sale.

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
11 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

B2B must learn to sell to below-the-line (BTL) and above-the-line (ATL) buyers.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Well Structured


Most B2B salespeople are indefatigable prospectors and terrific presenters. So, why do they often fail to address the value proposition that matters to approximately half of their potential customers? This slip happens because most B2B salespeople focus their efforts on their product or service’s end users – below-the-line (BTL) buyers – and not on their above-the-line (ATL) buyers, the senior executives who often have the final say on significant B2B purchases. William “Skip” Miller shows B2B salespeople how to re-orient their sales efforts to address the needs of both BTL users and ATL executive decision-makers. 


To sell more, speak to the prospects who use your offerings and talk to their bosses.

To win more sales, don’t talk only to the people who use your products or services, the below-the-line (BTL) buyers. Make your presentation directly address the priorities of the senior executives, the above-the-line (ATL) buyers, who make purchasing decisions at your prospect firms.

Your firm’s marketing department probably developed marketing materials for BTL buyers. These materials tout your products and services’ features and benefits. But above-the-line buyers don’t care about features and benefits. They have bigger concerns than how your product helps lower-level people in their companies. ATL buyers don’t care who you are, who your firm is or what it does. BTL buyers may want this information, but ATL buyers aren’t interested. 

They want to know how to improve their operations, reduce their costs and increase their profits. Still, clueless B2B salespeople ask ATL buyers questions that focus on the salesperson, not the executive, such as, “What would you like to know about us?” and...

About the Author

William “Skip” Miller is president of M3 Learning and also wrote ProActive Selling and ProActive Sales Management.

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