I was reminded of the biology framing of a food chain; the trophic level.
Reading about Killer Whales predating Great White Sharks for their 60kg livers. Around the waters stretching an hour or so's drive East of Cape Town. The result appears to be mass flight of the prey. With possibly chaotic, even devastating, ecosystem disruption being monitored.
The Trophic Level refers to an organism's position in the food chain.
There's only a handful of broad levels.
At the base, you've the 'primary producers'. Those turning inorganic matter into biomass. Alongside which you tend to see the 'detritivores'. The decomposers eating deceased matter. Next come the levels of consumers. Typically split by rank. Primary, Secondary, Tertiary. Before, 'at the top of the food chain', we encounter 'apex predators'.
I wondered how this might prove a useful alternative lens for deals being worked on for your 'Potential Business' ambitions [note PB is one of the many terms used to describe a sales funnel].
When next running a forecast session, it may well provide useful insights previously not acknowledged.
There are plenty of models that allow you to gauge the relative influence of personalities buyerside.
A consistent theme, is that the 'org chart' as drawn seldom conveys these true hierarchies.
Even in huge organisations with documented pay grades, pick any two people from different departments on the same grade and you'll likely uncover influence not commensurate with said grade for at least one of them (up or down).
Which also introduces how zoology looks less at food chains, but more at food webs.
On a complex bid, it is easy to get fixated on the job title. And from it, accept the simplified ladder of structure.
Yet most companies are also less chain, more web.
Even with dotted line relationships, the close ties between certain individuals, silos, right through to whole branches, operations or divisions can be missed. Fatal if meaningful to your proposal.
The question of reliance, rather than reporting, strikes me as applicable here.
Instead of thinking who might someone need to have sign-off their expenses, how about thinking where up and down the workflow internally is impacted by someone's specific input/output?
Also neat in this analogy because just like nature's ecological pyramid, 'work' is also a 'nutritive' system, right?
Look beyond organogram. Towards organyramid?
Finally, I chose the label of my blog title as sellertrophic, mainly because it sounded like catastrophic. Implying to miss this trick is to court disaster. You might even say, 'let's sellertrophise our pipeline!'
You could remix this your way. The Sales Trophic Levels. Buyer Food Web. The Buyerlogical Pyramid.
Whichever you choose, I'd recommend it as a twenty-minute exercise next time you check for bid strength.