The Importance of Selling to Decision Makers

06/11/2021 |

Anyone in sales or marketing knows that getting to the decision maker is crucial. It’s getting to the decision maker that is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face.

If you are currently dealing with a low win rate, you are likely spending a lot of energy selling to people who are not decision makers in the company. When you invest your time and resources in sales meeting after sales meeting with people who don’t even have the proper decision authority, it’s time to rethink that sales strategy. As you read this, a lightbulb may be going off in your head. You’re welcome. Yes, your goal needs to shift from as many sales meetings as possible to setting up meetings with actual decision makers.

We hate to break it to you, but most times, the lower-level person you’re meeting with is a gatekeeper with the sole intention of keeping you from meeting and wasting the time of higher- ups or building a relationship with the true decision maker.

If you’re still not convinced that selling to decision makers is the line between success and failure, statistics show that enterprise deals are 233% less likely to close if the decision maker is not involved.

Benefits of selling to decision makers

Faster decision

We all know that decisions are made at the top. When you eliminate the middle man and go straight to the source, you don’t have to spend days waiting for an answer as your pitch makes its way up the pipeline. This will allow your sale to be made faster and allow you to start thinking about your next pitch.

Referrals from the top matter

Even if you get referred by a top executive, they may have to defer to someone else in the company that still may not have the final say. But, that top-level referral will move a lot faster through the system than if it started from a lower rank.

When you have a referral that shows the company’s top decision maker took the time to refer you, there is no stronger recommendation. Your pitch will be taken much more seriously once it has been “vetted” through another exec, and your pitch will be that much more likely to be well- received and picked up.

Making the sale

Here are some top strategies for winning over decision makers and making the sale:

  • Spend more time beforehand doing prospect research to guarantee you target the correct level buyer.
  • Focus outbound sales outreach on senior-level contacts.
  • During the initial phase of the sales discussion, ask prospective customers to tell you about the process of decision-making for this purchase. This will paint a clear picture for you of who the decision maker is.
  • Be the solution. Do a little bit of role-play and think like the decision-maker. What are their concerns? Sales? Market value? The competition? Figure out what it is and find a way to help them solve their problem.
  • Follow up: In order to cultivate the new relationship, you have to keep nourishing it. That means even if the decision maker says they are not ready to buy, you can’t give up and cold call again in six months. According to statistics, 80% of sales are made on the 5-12th contact.
  • It’s no secret that the top executive or decision maker at a company will have a jam- packed schedule. So, when you do get 15 minutes of their precious time for a pitch, you must use it wisely. You want to show your value as quickly as you can. To get to the point ASAP, plan to answer these questions right off the bat:
    • How does this deal affect my strategic goals?
    • What’s the time to value?
    • Who is going to own this?

If you’re just starting to do business with a company and you don’t know the decision makers are yet, here are some common characteristics to help you identify them:

  • Decision makers speak the most, and they are interrupted the least
  • Decision makers often ask the most questions, especially of marketers and salespeople
  • Decision makers will answer most of your questions
  • Decision makers often take notes and are critical of every small detail

The bottom line is placing your fate with somebody who does not make decisions is likely costing you valuable time, resources, and money. When you sell to anyone but the decision maker, you are selling yourself short. Remember, the winning strategy is to sell to the top.

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