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Successfully reaching a decision-maker is an art only a few salespeople ever master.
This skill is more in demand with the evolution of technology. The rare sales professionals that do manage to hone this skill to perfection quickly enter the league of six-figure earners only to move to a seven-figure job.
Why is that?
It’s mostly within the B2B segment that salespeople still need to call a decision-maker to sell the product. The average income in this segment is usually way higher than in B2C.
Secondly, the number of decision-makers weighing their opinion on one purchasing decision has been blown from 1-2 to quadruple 7-8 colleagues in a small company of under 500 employees! Yep, it does take longer now.
Thirdly, you don’t need to be a digital company for your sales to depend on digital anymore. Even the sales cycle of manufacturing and pack-and-ship segments has been impacted by digital by a massive 67%!
So how do you ever go through all the offline obstacles and digital clutter to speak to the person signing checks? How do you get to the decision-maker so they can make an informed decision about your offering?
We know how.
Here are 15 tips to help reach decision-makers faster and more effectively.
Ways To Reach The Decision-Maker [DM]
Knowing your key decision-makers is just the beginning of your sales process. If you are looking to get some empirically-driven tips on how to find business decision-makers, check out this article.
Now that you have your DM’s name, basic company info, an organizational chart, and a few decision-makers personas at the disposal of your sales team, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: to reach out to the person of your very commercial interest.
If you decide on getting to the decision-maker via a third party, such as a common acquaintance, personal assistant, or even a more accessible relative, or if you opt to give a direct approach a try, there are a few strategies to employ for the success of the mission.
Creating Decision Maker Personas
For every unique B2B sales team, there are a few decision-maker types to note, describe, and keep in mind during the sales process.
In a reputable organization, a sales enablement team will make sure to allocate time to create a comprehensive set of DM persona cards.
Such cards can be made based on the widely available User Persona templates.
It’s best practice to base the first drafts of such DM personas off the existing clients.
It is ultimately a better practice to keep these documents revised on a monthly or quarterly basis, adding psychological traits and statistics from the freshest company acquisitions. Keep adding what worked and what didn’t with this or that DM type so you can extrapolate this knowledge and convert more leads into potential clients.
When a company on-boards a client who is like no existing DM persona, a new type should be vivisected and described in a card to enable more sales like this.
Not only is it a great way for the sales department to keep their fingers on the pulse of emerging opportunities, but it is also a fantastic resource to ease the onboarding process for newcomers.
15 Tips To Reach Decision Makers
Research Their Company
Let’s admit it, a decision-maker with the magic check-signing powers and a budget to spend have seen a few sales reps in her or his life.
Guess what? He must have a high bar for salespeople then. The more you see, the higher your standards become.
Get your sales enablement to prepare a thick file for you with all the vital info on the company: its organizational hierarchy, its headquarters, affiliates, history, stock value, employee numbers, and financial reports if publicly available.
You need to achieve a level of fluency in company info & stats so you can throw figures at the decision-maker as if you graduated from an Ivy League University.
Remember, after all, you are not the first salesperson to have knocked on that door, so raise the bar for your trade still higher.
It’s All About Timing
It may come as a surprise, but getting through the gatekeeper is easier in the early evening.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: the senior management is in the meetings all day, and the junior personnel hardly ever stick around after 6 PM.
So, if you are looking to understand how to reach out to decision-makers most efficiently, just make sure you don’t interrupt their back-to-back meetings during the day. Call later.
Once you get your relationship going, making an appointment or popping a 5-7-minute call calendar invite is the best idea.
Take A Proactive Approach: Do The Groundwork For The Client
Whatever pitch you are trying to use in your selling flow, let’s face it, the client will Google the competitive products.
If they already use a similar solution or you are breaking a new tool or revolutionary service for them. They will compare you to the market.
Do all the homework for them; enlist a comparative graph in your promotional materials. Be honest. State your strengths and weaknesses. Justify your price. Show your product’s value.
Bring along the solution, not the problem.
Forget About Your Product
It’s all about their pains.
Forget about it.
There will be time for it, but not when you are trying to get your foot in the door.
When you do get hold of the decision-maker, or even if you are still trying to connect with the gatekeeper, it’s easy to show your product’s value.
Just talk about their pains.
Ask a few questions that lead them to this conclusion: Once you are asking about all this pain of theirs, you must have a remedy for it.
Sure you do.
Find a Killer Pitch & Keep the Message Short
Unless you got a Pulitzer or Nobel prize in literature, try to minimize the intro to an informative precise message that brings up the pain of a decision-maker in a mild but persistent form.
The KISS principle is good to follow in most of the cases when you are dealing with strangers, specifically when it comes to communication with C-level execs and the business environment.
You may start your conversation by saying that you need 55 seconds of the person’s precious time – this way you eliminate one of the biggest objections right away.
Get A Reference From a Person Of Authority
Finding a way into a busy schedule of a senior-level manager is a next-level challenge. The savvy salesperson will always try to leverage their existing connections.
Use Linkedin to check your common connections and see if you could be introduced. Overall, people are 3 times as likely to reply to a Linked In message than reply to a cold selling email. Imagine the power of a Linkedin message that is anticipated due to a prior introduction by a colleague.
In order to make sure karma is on your side, always try to incentivize your referrer: there’s no such a thing as bribing a friend, but a good bottle of whiskey or a rare vintage of wine looks good in any kitchen.
After all, you want to provide a little extra motivation for your acquaintance to talk about your potential lead into a short introductory meeting or get on a call.
Be Introduced By Someone From Their Personal Circle
Such friends, family, or mentors are usually more accessible than a busy C-level executive.
After all, everyone has friends and family.
It’s OK to be open about your intentions. If the lead is really important and you have all the time in the world to work on it, you may opt to kick off your rapport in a discreet manner and open up gradually.
Make Gatekeepers Your Friends
Gatekeepers are wired to reject people like you. They’re only human.
While they are trained to screen all calls for spammy sales endeavors, they still like to be treated nicely and feel important. With the right approach, you can get them on your side.
Having a gatekeeper on your side is good not only for getting through to the decision-maker, but to close the deal, upsell, and keep an account happy overall.
Befriend a gatekeeper and you will fight the war together. What an ally to have on your side!
“Lost Lamb” Technique
There are many empathic people out there. When they see a person in need, they feel good about themselves when they lend a helping hand.
A classic “lost lamb” trick is based on the belief that most people enjoy feeling good about themselves when helping others.
It suggests a sales rep calls in a somewhat lost and uncollected tone of voice enquires for help, something like this: “I feel a bit lost here, do you think you could be kind enough to tell me the right person to talk to about XYZ?”
Ask to Speak to the Top Boss
The trick boils down to asking a gatekeeper to connect to Mr. CEO to discuss matter XYZ. That would be the right person to discuss the matter XYZ, right? – you may double-check. At which point the gatekeeper should have the urge to correct you, that Ms. CFO is the one who deals with such matters. So you ask the gatekeeper to kindly connect you.
Goes without saying that you should be using the CEO’s full name in the conversation, which is usually widely available on the net. In this scenario, a gatekeeper should feel like he or she is doing a great job, as connecting you to a level below than requested initially & protecting the schedule of the Big Boss from intrusion.
Isn’t it a perfect win-win?
Be Vague & Provoke Curiosity
If you go to a voicemail when calling a decision-maker, it might be a good chance to build up curiosity so that the DM opens your email. Be prepared and have a script ready for such cases.
Keep it vague on the first interaction and don’t give out much of the info.
Saying something like “I called to discuss the subject, that is top of your daily priorities. Check out the email and let me know if I was wrong.” It might hit the right chord or at least get the email opened.
Ask for Expert Advice
This is a great way to build rapport with people under any circumstances.
People like feeling knowledgeable and appreciated.
If you ask a gatekeeper an opinion on the piece of information they should be aware of, it is likely to be taken positively.
You might be wondering about some particulars of the upcoming exhibition, that you know the company is going to be represented for the 7th year in a row.
Get To a Decision-Maker via Sales
Nobody screens calls to the sales department, right? They could be denying business. Big NO.
On the other hand, sales are an extraverted bunch. Mostly.
Once you get through to the sales department, you may chat a bit about the company before you ask to be transferred to the decision-maker, that they may help you identify meanwhile.
Asking to connect to the accounting works too, albeit they tend to be introverted and may need more interpersonal skills to keep responsive.
Cold Outreach That Gets the Message Across
There are a few rules when it comes to cold outreach:
It should be as short as possible. It should be personal. It should trigger the right buttons: pains and gains.
Make sure you include a line on pain point stats & a line on gains to the DM persona & company.
Tips To Get To Decision Makers: Follow-Up Religiously
This seems a regular routine for a pro sales rep, but it is incredibly important to follow up. Sometimes salespeople may lack discipline or forget to follow up. You didn’t go through all the barriers and goalkeepers to give up on the first email though, right?
People are busy and keep postponing things. Some reminders may as well work like a charm. In fact, here are two pieces of stats to get you back into a consistent follow-up routine:
- More follow up emails may lead to three times the original reply rate.
- Follow up email response rate of 18% eventually went up to 27% on the 6th mail in a UK survey!
Nimble CRM Helps 140K Pros Reach Decision-Makers Every Day
If you are studying strategies to reach decision-makers, you should check out Nimble CRM.
This user-friendly Customer Relations Management System is designed with a social media mentality at its core. This is why this tool is used by multiple industries as a universal CRM on top of the industry-specific ones: to help drive the client base.
The popularity of this CRM is due to its high customizability, multiple app integrations, affordable flat per-user pricing, and easy adoption. These features made Nimble CRM climb to the top three in the Capterra chart in the CRM software category.
The best thing about it is that you can try Nimble for two weeks without ever getting your credit card out. If you like the product, it’s just $19-$25 per user monthly after 2 weeks of a free trial.
As a responsible business though, we feel like providing you a proper disclaimer at this point:
Based on the low churn rate and amazing feedback from our clients, we trust our product may cause addiction and lots of saved time in increased efficiencies!