Getting to a close in the modern sales process means knowing where you should be aiming your biggest guns. By playing your pitch and nurturing tools towards these key players, you not only minimize the effort of a sale but help ensure that it can survive past key gatekeepers.
Identifying these major players in an increasingly complex and subdivided business environment can be difficult, but you can help yourself map out who does what using the following tips.
Start with Some Extensive Research
Most companies have an online presence these days, no matter how small. You can use this fact to your advantage by scoping out the following resources:
- Company Websites — Look at their “Staff” section to quickly identify key players and get a sense of how their hierarchy works
- Social Media Pages — Pay particular attention to LinkedIn since it allows you to see major roles and also explore each employee’s page. Employee highlights on Facebook or subdivided departmental Twitter accounts can also give you a sense of structure.
- Any Publications — If your target prospect is a major player or a notable upstart, you can expect that they will have PR materials or interviews in magazines. This commentary can help you see quite clearly who heads decision-making and thought leadership on certain programs
- Reviews and Testimonials — These sometimes let you see the dynamics of which departments are most likely to have touchpoints with your relevant field and which aren’t
Ask Smart, Subtle Questions
The last thing you want to do is make an employee feel like you are casing the joint, but you can still extract the information you need while having friendly conversations with whomever you get the chance to talk to.
You can ask questions like:
- “How big is your department? 5-10 people? A few dozen?” — Giving them categories lets them avoid having to hand count.
- “Your boss must be in meetings all day, right?” — True decision-makers have to touch base with countless people, but those who act as gatekeepers have fewer meetings as they attend to their duties.
- “What’s the best business decision you think you guys have made lately?” — This question can allow the person on the phone to talk from experience or describe when a real decision maker stepped in.
- “How do you guys typically ____?” — This question lets you learn about their internal processes, but also how the hierarchy structure works.
- “Is there anyone you think would know the most about ___?” — This question is direct, but ensures that you get someone on the phone who is most excited about what you do.
Put It All Together
Try to draft your own chain of command on paper, and then translate this information to a well-structured spreadsheet or your CRM system.
You can double-check your assumptions by re-consulting online pages, asking follow up questions or getting some insight from others who have worked with the company before, such as internal colleagues or peripheral vendors.
Have Techniques to Appeal to Key Sales Decision Makers
Identifying key sales decision makers is not enough on its own. You must also be able to utilize techniques that can appeal to multiple decision-makers at once or bypass the people that matter least to your process.
You can learn how to best enhance your sales appeal by using the latest sales training resources. Take a look at our effective programs like Engage2Win! or Perform2Win! to start enhancing your tools for sales success today!