Talking to the decision-maker for a sales rep is an activity that belongs to the top of the 20% of the Pareto Principle formula.
How does one find the right person in a company who is in the position to sign a check for the product that you have to offer?
These are concrete actions one can take to find the right decision-maker.
How Do You Define Decision-Makers?
Who are decision-makers anyway? Are they the CEOs of the company? CEMs? CFOs? CTO? C-level executives?
Yes and no.
A decision-maker is a person in an organization or a company, who is responsible for taking the final decision on the issue raised by the sales rep or other potential partner.
Such a person can be either a company’s senior manager or even a department manager, as long as he or she has the right to approve budgets assigned to his entrusted business unit.
The decision can be passed on approving the purchase of a product or service or on concluding a partnership or agreeing on a fundraiser donation.
Basically, it’s not all about money or budgets. Let’s take a casting agent in the film industry for illustration. For a person in this position, a Mom and Dad of young talent are decision-makers, who may approve of the long-term contract in another country or not, based on their circumstances.
11 Empirically Derived Steps To Find A Decision Maker
No more theoretical chatter, sales don’t have the time for that, let’s get down straight to the action. These are some practice-derived tricks that work, which Nimble users shared with us.
Know The Hierarchy Of The Company
Decision-makers are a coveted asset for hundreds of hungry salespeople out there. Their gatekeepers managed to build a defense the height of Mount Everest to keep their business schedules and email spam-free.
This is why knowing the hierarchy of any company is a promising start.
Positions aside, who surrounds a decision-maker [further – DM for convenience]?
Gatekeeper – such a person is usually a PA or a secretary, who is very well familiar with the DM, but whose only duty is to guard her or his schedule closely to plan. Not part of the DM’s plan for today? It is a gatekeeper’s job to keep it that way. If you devise a methodology on how to get through to such a person, chances are you will quickly become a six-figure salesman.
An influencer is a mid-level manager, who has the power to advise or provide conclusive investigative work for the DM on which to base the verdict on your question.
Influencers may be quite knowledgeable about the product you are offering so making sure you are on the same page is important for the success of the overall mission.
Always be on the lookout for competitors’ affiliate and loyalty programs – they may include the incentives for gatekeeper and influencer positions, depending on the market. Being aware of such schemes is a good practice to estimate the motivational level of each party of such a potential transaction.
A self-declared decision-maker is a phenomenon more common in governmental bodies and NGOs, as they may find a corporate environment too hostile & overly regulated for them to thrive in.
The perfect habitat of the self-declared decision-makers is in the muddy waters of the more corrupt societies, with lesser levels of democracy than the USA and Western Europe. They may be milking the system by looking out for opportunities to offer their middleman-ship and even bragging about their power to get things moving.
The only way to deal with them is not to deal with them unless you are ready for high-risk business and are looking for a perfect opportunity to ruin your reputation.
Define Your Decision-Maker Personas
Having a buyer or user persona is something truly fundamental and ABC-like for marketing endeavors in eCommerce to succeed.
When it comes to B2B sales, drawing a Decision Maker Persona is as essential, but not so often done routinely.
In order to answer the question “how to identify the decision-maker,” one should have drawn a good half-dozen of DM personas.
Make sure you have a few of the DM personas
The decision-making process in B2B sales will vary dramatically based on the size of the organization you are trying to get your foot in the door of.
Use existing clients to describe the major aspects of your DM personas
Look into your closed deals and late stages of the funnel to find out which roles, departments, companies, professional backgrounds your DMs may come from. Investigate their digital habitat: do they use Linkedin? Facebook? What messengers do they prefer? How did your company find & reach out to them initially?
Consider doing a DM journey map, akin to a User journey map
To better understand and describe your perfect decision-maker types, try to trace back the history of your existing top accounts, and understand the journey of those people towards becoming your top client. Using a User Journey template is perfectly fine.
Research a company website
First things first, now that you know who it is you are looking to reach out to, you start with the most basic info: a corporate website.
Decision maker’s contact info is likely to be found in the following frequently used sections:
- About us
- Company Management
- Corporate governance
- Company News
This works in 100% of searches for big companies to find a CEO name and top management team. This also works for local businesses, that are built around 1 professional with a great reputation, like a consultant or a lawyer. For franchise companies or middle-sized ones, the team’s names are not necessarily on the website.
Perform A Google Search
OK, some of the information needs no gimmicks to be found.
A good old Google search may as well yield a fantastic result.
Try searching by the formula: Company + Geo + Role + Current Year [or CY-1]
For example, KPMG London Purchasing manager 2020 [or 2019]
Yes, the top results are likely to be from Linkedin. But if you don’t have a Linked In premium account for some reason, you will be using up your limited free searches when using a Linked In Search engine. This way you go straight into a profile.
It is not uncommon for Google to offer some other sources apart from Linkedin though, like:
- a press release about a new appointment;
- an interview with a local newspaper on social responsibility activity;
- a conference speaker role;
- a recent opening job listing.
All of which are incredibly useful for a salesperson for many reasons.
Check Out Business Social Media Accounts: Spooky Yet Efficient
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all a wealth of information for a salesperson.
We, at Nimble, know that for a fact. Social media is driving sales for millions of businesses and is not about to disappear. This is why we put Social media at the core of our Customer Relationship Management system.
While Facebook will not allow you to peep into the list of followers of the Business page, there are things to look out for when hunting for a decision-maker online: on Facebook or Twitter.
- Check out company team photos from social gatherings, parties, marathons, and the like. Some people may be tagged in them. It could be your person of interest too.
- Check out the likes, comments, mentions, and retweets of popular posts. Specifically, congratulatory posts, like a team winning a prize or setting record high sales or celebrating a company jubilee. Those landmark events usually gather a ton of engagement from within a company. Many people still mark their professional roles on Facebook and Twitter, so this is another chance to find the decision-maker.
Nota Bene: Never. Never try and reach out on Facebook in direct messages for business. This is an extremely poor business etiquette and you will jeopardize any chance to succeed with this account.
Crossing paths in comments in a public group is perfectly fine, though, but it’s a long path to take. Brace yourself for a lengthy client acquisition journey.
Find Contact Information For Decision-Makers
There’s a whole industry out there that helps you find the contact info for the people of interest in companies.
But very few of them are free.
Hopefully, by this time you will have had a name and a role of a person you need to contact.
Try using these email address finding tools:
Use Linkedin To Learn More About Your Contact
LinkedIn Premium and its Sales Navigator tool is one of the most powerful tools out there when it comes to finding and reaching out to decision-makers inside a company.
If you didn’t know, even without a Premium account, it is still possible to contact pretty much anyone registered in this professional networking platform!
Pro Tip: even if you do have a lock on the “Message” button in a profile of a person you want to contact, meaning you are not allowed to message the person on a free plan, you can press the “More…” button next to the name and pick an option to “Connect”.
Sales Navigator gives you every opportunity to seek and find. The filters and search options are simply amazing and every sales department should have at least one sales enablement person with a paid Linked In account, however small a company.
Map The Company Chart
If you are working on a company, who is on your target list no matter what, it is OK to go full steam ahead. Break bad. Map the company organization chart. You can use your CRM, a PPT, a Lucidchart, or a Mind Map tool to draw as complex or as simple an organization chart as you need too.
This is a great practice if the company is one of the top wanted accounts and you have some time & resources specifically ascribed to conquering this account. This is great to have such a map to share with the sales development and sales enablement teams. It will come handy for further work with the account, upselling, etc.
How To Find Decision Makers In A Company: Spot Common Connections
To build a long-lasting relationship with business decision-makers it is ideal to be recommended to them by a common acquaintance.
Both Linkedin and Facebook allow seeing common friends with a searched user profile.
Leverage those connections wisely, as they are your shortcut to a closed deal.
Check out BNI for US-based Decision-makers
Business Network International company is a huge network in the USA where professionals pay some hefty money to belong to it.
If you are wondering how to get to the decision-maker, this place is full of them. And they are searchable by ZIP codes, so this resource is best for the local businesses.
Just type in the Zip Code on the homepage of the website, then choose a chapter on the map and click on “See chapter details” to find the names & roles of people on a specific chapter.
Win The Decision-Maker’s Influencer Trust
It can be either a close relative, a mentor, or a friend the person keeps contact with. It could be a business colleague as well.
If you manage to find decision-makers on Linkedin but are struggling to approach them or get their attention, going via a person they already know and trust maybe a little bit more time consuming, but it is more likely to convert.
Who Are The Decision Makers In A Company? Nimble CRM Knows’em all
You could probably do with a bit of Nimble assistance.
Why is Nimble CRM one of the best tools out there to find and reach out to a prospective business partner?
- Nimble is a Social Media driven CRM, so you are never stuck for ice breakers with a full person’s social media profile in front of your eyes.
- Nimble consistently gets high rankings on Capterra, currently confidently hovering in the top 3 CRM software list.
- The system builds itself for you, requiring minimum time to master the tool.
- Highly customizable and universal – it’s built to cater for any business out there.
The best part? You can try this user-friendly product free with no credit card required for 2 weeks, so you can arrive at your own conclusions.