Trying to find the right people to sell to within your target organization or account can be tricky. Especially when you’re looking for decision makers, who’re usually inaccessible, and often indistinguishable from other prospects within the organization. Hence it is important to learn and figure out how to find decision makers in a company as part of your sales process.
Inability to sell directly to decision makers leaves you with lesser options— invariably pushing you to spend more time with other trivial entities within your target organization. Academic research from the University of Michigan states that users or evaluators within an organization often don’t do justice in selling external solutions to stakeholders higher up in the chain. This unnecessarily stretches your sales cycle and defeats the purpose of having a well-defined sales process.
So throughout this article, we’ll explore why decision makers play an important role in the buying process, how to identify key decision makers, and how to connect with them. Let’s first understand who are decision makers in a company.
Who are Decision makers in a company
Decision makers are executive level stakeholders within a company that are responsible for making decisions and managing resources within their scope. They’re meant to manage teams of people, helping them move towards achieving organizational goals. Deciding to procure new tools and services that might help improve productivity or grow revenues is also part of their responsibilities.
Decision makers can usually be identified by positions and titles they hold. For example, if you’re selling a developer tool meant to help software engineers and technology companies, VPs, Directors and Heads of Engineering or Technology would be the decision makers. Depending on size of and scope of responsibilities, CEOs and CTOs could also be part of the decision making process in that market.
Why Decision Makers matter in sales
Simply put, decision makers are in a better position to ascertain if their organization finds your product or service worthy of an investment. As mentioned earlier, they hold positions of responsibility where they need to achieve certain goals, using the resources available at their disposal. They also have a better idea of their organization’s and teams’ capabilities and if your product or service can supplement them in any ways they find necessary. So the sooner you get to talk to decision makers, the quicker your feedback loop gets and easier for your to close(or drop) the deal based on their feedback and outlook.
So by now you might be wondering, how to find decision makers in a company— let’s figure it out in the next section.
How to Find decision makers in a company?
1. Get to know your prospects well
When you add a prospect or account to your pipeline, spend time knowing as much about them as possible. You can start from something simple like a Google search, and go on to things like Linkedin posts from the company and team members. The more information you have on your prospects, the more productive and relatable your conversation will be. Apart from this, you’ll also be able to connect the dots better, and approach other members of your prospects’ team with more confidence. And being more comfortable with your prospects will get you better chances at finding decision makers within teams.
2. Know what and who to look for (build decision maker persona)
If you’re targeting a certain industry or vertical within your market, it’s crucial to know how companies in that space are set up. Different businesses are set up differently, and the same is the case for product evaluation and decision making chain. Spend time on platforms like Linkedin to see how big teams that use your product are, and what titles decision makers hold. There will be teams where decision making happens lower down the chain, in which case you wouldn’t get any responses to your outreach to VPs and Directors. Hence knowing beforehand who the decision maker actually might be based on your research will speed up the process and help close earlier.
Once you know who the decision makers typically are within your target organizations, you can simply search for them online. A simple [Title] + [Company name] search query can get you relevant results on the first couple of pages on Google. Apart from this, you can simply browse through the Linkedin page of your target organization— go through the list of team members using filters based on titles, keywords, etc. You can then narrow down on profiles you think are those of decision makers, look up their profiles on other Social platforms to know them better and approach them.
4. Get introduced through connections — referrals
If you have found decision makers in a target organization using social platforms like Linkedin, you can try for introductions from mutual connections. Whenever you visit a profile on Linkedin, you see an option to check for mutual connections between you and your prospect/decision maker. If you also happen to know anyone from the list of mutual connects personally, you can ask them to introduce you to your prospects since they’re directly connected to them.
5. Connect and bypass gatekeepers earlier
If you’re already connected with prospects other than the decision makers within the organization— leverage those connections for introductions to higher management. Users and evaluators of the product often won’t be keen on selling a product within their teams, so you’ll have to take the initiative to enable them to do that. Incentivize such prospects to take the deal forward to the relevant stakeholders higher up the chain. You can do so by adding gifts and gestures that appeal to your prospect’s professional interests. So things like crediting them on deal closures, adding discounts to the deal, offering to mention them in case studies, etc., could go a long way.
Following-up with your connections within these teams will also help speed up the process. Conducting regular follow-ups and maintaining multiple conversations at once can be tiring, so you could use tools like SalesHandy to automate your follow-up sequences.
6. Meetups and Events
Industry and sector specific events are a great place to find and meet up with prospects from your target organizations. Given that participation in most such events isn’t free, it limits attendance to only attract higher management and decision makers. Some events also allow attendees to download and access the list of attendees, making it easier for you to find decision makers in your target companies and approach them. Meeting up at such events gives you direct access to these decision makers, and better chances of moving the deal forward.
7. Do outbound
In continuation to what we discussed in Social and search points above, directly engaging prospective decision makers is another way to narrow down on the right one. Having found potential prospects online, you can then move forward to reach out to them over social platforms or email to connect and qualify them. Once you’ve connected with them, you can engage with them to ascertain if they’re the contact you were looking for.
Let’s move further to learn how to reach out to decision makers in the next section.
How to connect with decision makers quickly
Connect over email
Email is one of the most common ways to connect with professionals online. It is one of the most popular communication channels to ever exist and plays an important role in marketing and sales outreach. If you’re trying to connect with decision makers, email happens to be one of the most accessible ways to reach out and connect with them.
Next, we’ll learn how to reach b2b decision makers using emails, in the following two ways—
1. Cold intro emails
Once you’ve come across a prospective decision maker within an organization via search or Social platform, you can find their emails and reach out to them cold. Emails can be found using prospecting tools, and once you have them, the process is fairly straightforward. Next, let’s learn how you can send cold emails to decision makers,
How to send cold emails to decision makers
1. Sign up on SalesHandy
Head over to SalesHandy and sign up with your Gmail or Outlook account to start sending cold email campaigns.
2. Set up a new campaign
Sign in and navigate to Email campaigns menu on the top left corner, Click on “+” to create and edit a new email campaign.
Follow the steps in the campaign editor— Add the CSV of contacts you want to reach out to, along with email templates and their cadences.
Send out test emails to ensure you’ve formatted the emails correctly and they’re ready to be sent to your prospects without any errors.
Schedule the cold email campaign as per your preferences, and wait for responses and open notifications on your SalesHandy extension.
You will receive replies directly to the inbox of the account you connected, and can send responses from within those platforms, or do it within SalesHandy.
Refer to our blog on crafting cold emails for sales to learn tips and strategies around writing good templates for your campaigns, along with detailed steps on sending out email campaigns.
2. Warm emails
Like we discussed in earlier points— if you have existing connections within the target organization, or have mutual connections on Linkedin with decision makers, you can get yourself introduced through them.
If you’re connected with another team member within the same organization, you can ask them to introduce you to the decision maker via an email, and vice versa. Either way, you, or your introducing contact can be tagged in CCs, with the other person leading the conversation based on how you want to approach them.
If you personally know someone outside the target organization that could introduce you— use the same method. Ask them to reach out on your behalf introducing you while having you tagged in CC. You can take over that conversation once the decision maker has opened and seen the email.
As we learnt how to find decision makers on Linkedin in the earlier sections, we’ll now focus on engaging them within Linkedin to qualify and connect with them. Depending on your degree of connectivity with the prospect(2nd/3rd degree), you’ll have options to send connection requests and messages. If they accept your connection request, you can message them to connect with them, like you can with the rest of your Linkedin connections.
In case your prospects don’t accept your connection requests in time, you can send them InMails, which need a Linkedin premium subscription. Either ways, you have the means and methods to reach out to your decision maker directly without having to depend on mutual connections or other team members.
Find, Nurture, and Connect
As we learnt throughout the article— the bigger challenge around how to find decision makers in a company is searching and knowing who the right person is. Once you’ve found your prospect and figured out how to via online mediums like search or social media, rest of the process is rather straightforward if you’re already familiar with sales outreach. By nurturing them and getting in through the right connections, you can then ensure you get the decision maker’s attention and move the deal towards next stages of the process.
Have you had better, more interesting ways to connect with decision makers? Let us know about them in the comments!