What is a Decision Maker?
A decision maker is the specific individual who has the final say over whether a company will purchase a product. In B2B sales, a sales prospect will often need approval from the decision maker on their team in order to commit to making a purchase.
If sales were a video game, the decision maker would be the final boss: a sales rep needs to ensure they find and communicate with a decision maker and convince them that the product they’re selling is the right choice for their company.
How to Find the Decision Maker
When reps start sales prospecting, they reach out to individuals who would likely use their product or implement it within their team. However, these sales prospects aren’t necessarily the decision makers; more than likely, they’re the gatekeepers. The person with the final say is usually a director or vice president; they’re able to sign cheques and make payments without additional approvals.
It’s important to make contact with the decision maker, as they’re the person who needs to be convinced to purchase your product. A manager may be very interested and recognize the benefits of utilizing your product, but they’d need to get approval first.
When prospecting, conduct research to try and find out who the decision maker at the company you’re targeting is. LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator are valuable tools; you can search through staff at specific companies and analyze their job titles to find the right match. Communicate with them directly so you don’t have to jump through hoops trying to find them later. Another effective way to find decision makers at accounts is leveraging an automated prospecting tool to mine your territory and ideal customer profile (ICP) and build your list for you.
You can also look at a company’s organizational structure to determine who a decision maker may be. Overall company size will also determine how many decision makers there are: a small company (under 50 staff) will only have one or two, whereas larger companies will have multiple.
Ask Qualifying Questions
If you’ve started communicating with a sales prospect and are unsure if they are the decision maker, ask qualifying questions. Don’t be afraid to ask straight, pointed questions. These will help determine who makes the final decision regarding the purchase.
- Who is involved in the decision to purchase our product?
- Every company is different; what process do you and your company follow when purchasing a new product?
- What information do you need from me to purchase this product?
- Who will be using this product? Will usage be limited to one or more teams?
- What information can I provide to other stakeholders about this product, and how it will help benefit your company?
- Should anyone else from your team/company be included in future calls?
Tips for Influencing a Decision Maker
Decision makers are faced with multiple decisions every single day. You’re not the only sales rep trying to get their attention and approval for a sale. It’s important to stay ahead of the competition and maintain a creative edge.
Understand Their Process
Before you dive right into a sales pitch, try to understand what their thought process is like and what types of information will help influence their decision. Some decision makers want ample information, including case studies, stats, and customer testimonials, to review, whereas others get excited by new ideas and tactics and are willing to take a chance if something sounds realistic.
Understand their unique needs and cater to it.
Personalize Your Interactions
You want a decision maker to remember you and your product. Using video for outreach, product demos, and quick follow-ups is a great way to make a good, lasting impression. They’ll more easily remember your name and face if they watch a video, compared to skimming over another plain text email.
Make the Buying Process Easy for a Decision Maker
Your gatekeeper can bring you into the deal, but once the decision maker(s) enter the fray, make sure the process is as seamless as possible for them. They could be entering later in the conversation. Building a virtual deal room is a great option to foster a collaboration space for all stakeholders involved in the buying process. Link to documentation, recorded demos or Zoom meetings, customer stories, or other materials so everyone can stay in the loop. You can even record a welcome video to the space to help new visitors navigate (and get your face in front of more decision makers in the account).