After having successfully touched base a couple of times and following the big day after you have presented your proposed solution, everything went well, or that’s what you thought.
But you hear “I’m not authorized to sign off on this commitment” or “I can’t make a commitment until I meet with [other decision-makers].” or “I am part of this buying group, you may want to wait till the end of next month?!”
This scenario can be really frustrating especially after all the hard work you have put in only to realize that you are barking up the wrong tree.
In this article, we will address how to identify the decision-maker(s) early during the selling process and provide some really helpful tools that can help you do so.
- What are the 5 important steps to identify the right decision-maker?
- What tools can help you classify buyer persona?
- Doing this manually can be a nightmare. Don’t worry there is help!
- What tools can help you chart your strategic value proposition?
- What tools can help you with your research for identifying the decision-maker?
- What tool can help you ask the right qualifying questions?
- What tool can help you communicate persuasively?
- Wrap Up
What are the 5 important steps to identify the right decision-maker?
- Draw up a clear decision-maker persona
- Understand your value proposition
- Research the company and the individual
- Ask the right qualifying questions based on the buyer personality
- Identify common connections and communicate persuasively
What tools can help you classify buyer persona?
As decision-maker responsibilities are no longer synonymous with the roles and titles in today’s business, it is essential to first draw up a clear buyer persona.
When you determine your ICP, break down your buyers to understand who is going to be doing the actual buying. It will also empower you to craft impactful messages that speak directly to the right people.
Following are some of the factors to consider when you want to identify the decision-maker :
- Job title. This is deceptive but it sure is the key to first begin your search. Basing your search on the other factors are equally important.
- Financial or budgetary authority. The power to make purchase decisions for a department/organization
- Strategic authority. The power to solve a pain point or issue which usually is classified as managerial power.
- Tenure helps with institutional knowledge, also helps understand the movers and shakers within the organization.
- Veto power. Knowing who can disrupt a buying decision without holding the power flag is extremely crucial. They could fall into the category of influencers.
Based on the above you can name them as the gatekeeper, initiator, decision-maker, influencer or champion, business user/end-user, economic buyer, etc.
Doing this manually can be a nightmare. Don’t worry there is help!
The biggest and the most useful asset readily available is your CRM. Look for commonalities in your interaction. Your current clientele is the treasure you can exploit for your new hunt. Answer the following questions based on your sale in the past :
- What do you find identical among decision-makers whom you have dealt with in the past?
- How did the buying process go in the past for a specific firm with a similar profile as the one you are currently dealing with?
- Are there any contacts who you have worked with that could introduce you or refer to your product/service?
- How big is the organization? Smaller firms usually have fewer decision-makers or sometimes just one.
Answering these questions will help you identify useful information for mapping an outline on who you could reach out to and what can you call them.
Who’s sophisticated is defined to me by who owns the problem” – says Geoff Surkamer
This tool lets you identify buyer persona’s based on the interaction of sales and marketing teams in an organization. It can especially help break down the complexity of identifying the decision-makers by helping you categorize them.
In addition, it provides insights by taking into account the previous interactions sales had with its prospects, allowing them to visualize opportunity and which roles could be in the decision-making unit.
People.ai captures all sales, marketing & customer success activity to drive actionable revenue insights across the buyer journey.
What tools can help you chart your strategic value proposition?
3. Strategyzer – Visualize your strategic value proposition
Oftentimes when trying to identify decision-makers, the biggest mistake you make is trying to generalize the usage of your product.
It might be easy to pitch your product for the overall health of the company but when you unbundle your customers and address problems for the relevant department, you can talk to that person who will become the influencer to enable the decision-making process.
Strategyzer lets you visualize what you have in your mind’s eye on an actual canvas pdf. They believe that companies’ don’t really buy or use your products and services in B2B – rather it’s the people involved in buying and using your products and services.
The app houses a big canvas where you get unlimited space for different prototypes, iterations, and pivots based on your business model and value proposition.
There are blocks and @mentions that guide you step by step, prompting questions, being able to address details and examples to help you keep moving forward. It can enable you to identify how your solution can help get you the right decision-maker persona.
Still, confused? Check this video that shows how you can deconstruct big problems to workable solutions that can get you straight to the gate of a deal.
What tools can help you with your research for identifying the decision-maker?
After getting to know your persona, the next thing to do is to understand the organization and the people involved. For this purpose, the one tool that wins hands down is Linkedin Sales Navigator.
You might have heard time and again how Linkedin Sales Navigator is a ubiquitous B2B research tool. And when it comes to researching for decision-makers, it definitely does double duty here.
As of 2019, the platform had 90 million senior-level influencers. Decision-makers were at 63 million and opinion leaders at 17 million.
When you sign up for sales nav, you are usually prompted to answer certain questions about your lead’s job functions and seniority, etc. Ensure you fill in all the details based on the profile you drew about your buyer persona.
This function lets LinkedIn expedite presenting results that are not just relevant but focus on your preferences.
To enable this, go to Linkedin Sales Navigator Advanced Search and toggle on the “Apply these preferences” button. The result displayed helps you quickly narrow down decision-makers you might find useful and want to talk to.
Another great advantage of using LinkedIn is it helps identify the movers in the organization using the following sales spotlight report.
5. Find the email and contact details of prospects
Oftentimes the lead you get from Linkedin Sales Navigator is missing the quintessential email id or the phone number. In this case, contact and email finder tools come to your rescue. Some of them boast a 98% success rate when it comes to accuracy.
These tools usually have a massive database of email addresses that are matched against the contact and company name you enter to get you started.
They also provide added enrichment of the email contacts such as current job title, company, location, and social profiles of the people behind the emails on your list, for an additional small fee.
What tool can help you ask the right qualifying questions?
6. CrystalKnows – Ask qualifying questions based on personality
Whether you believe in the crystal ball that a fortune teller uses or not, you cannot help but succumb to the predictions of CrystalKnows that predict the personality of your prospect and help you detail suggestions when reaching out.
It gleans information from their Linkedin profile, Facebook, blog posts, tweets, and pretty much from everywhere their online presence is detected.
Ben Jackson, VP Sales of Flywheel says “Crystal is like a cheat sheet in the sales process. You can use the right communication style for every prospect, even in the first call.
It uses an algorithm that helps predict personalities and works based on DiSC framework: (D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientiousness. All you need is a chrome extension and you are ready to delve deep into every single personality trait that goes beyond superfluous data points and insights.
This is especially a useful tool when you have the qualifying questions ready but not sure who you should be using them on.
What tool can help you communicate persuasively?
7. Hippo Video – Video customer experience platform
Video communication has the power to persuade and build trust with the recipient and also in our context befriend gatekeepers. Gatekeepers as the name suggests are usually secretaries or executives who handle the heavyweight for decision-makers. Making them your allies will go a long way in reaching out to them.
Next time you decide to reach out to a potential contact on LinkedIn, send video messages as Inmails. This will help the person on the receiving side see you, which helps to humanize your communication adding credibility.
According to LinkedIn, “senders get a 300% response rate from InMails compared to other email or messaging platforms. You have a 10%-25% response chance if you send messages to your prospects”.
Your responses are sure to double if prospects can see your personalized message directed at them than making them read your carefully drafted templated message.
Bonus points! Using interactive elements like polls, quizzes, in-video CTAs can better qualify your leads when you reach out to them as a part of your research.
Not convinced? Identifying the decision-makers is not rocket science but demands intuitive tools and the right approach. If you have done your homework in terms of what you and your company need, then devote some time to understand your audience. This can go a long way in fetching favorable results.
What tools do you think can help ease the decision-maker search? Let us know in the comments below.
Author Bio – Santhoshi Natarajan – Content Evangelist
A communication specialist who researches and produces purposeful content for the target audience. She constantly measures results and amplifies content by curating and repurposing them to meet the needs of the audience.