Quick and Dirty Tips for Finding the Decision Maker
Do you know what percentage of your first-try calls reach a decision maker? Whether you work in inbound or outbound sales, the percentage is probably fairly low. That's either a result of your incoming lead quality or nurturing efforts. In fact, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge, so it's no surprise that when it's your time to reach out, you might not have immediate access.
It's also possible that difficulty reaching a decision maker stems from the numbers alone. At a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. Probability is low that the first person you reach (or even the second or third) is the right person.
So what can you do, right now, to get better at finding and reaching the people you want to find and reach — the ones with the influencing and purchasing power?
Find the Decision Maker With These Major Strategies
We know you've probably got a bag of sales tricks at the ready. These ones are the ones you truly need to accomplish the difficult, probability-busting task of getting that conversation with the person in charge of purchasing health IT solutions.
Get All The Information
"You want as much info on your prospects and your persona as possible: who they are, what technology they have, what they’re looking for, what they don’t have, which of your competitors they've worked with, which partners they have," says Kyle Mumley, solution sales senior manager at HIMSS Analytics.
To that end, follow these tips:
Keep the Industry News Flowing
When you subscribe to all the right newsletters and are voraciously consuming press about your industry and your prospects, you have the upper hand. Be aware of changing roles, mergers and acquisitions, expansions and new hires. Get current on who's getting funding for what, find out who secured that funding and who spends it. Not only will this help you identify the decision makers, but it will help you further the relationship when you do reach them, as you have the opportunity to reference your knowledge and respond to their pain.
Use Marketing Data Wisely
Digital body language is your best friend. You can't read the physical cues you might catch when you're at the meeting table, but you can read the body language of content consumption and web movement. Use a contact's consumption patterns and self-identification efforts to detect whether or not it makes sense to reach out starting with that contact, or if you need to find someone else within their organization to speak to.
Sometimes, though, getting your foot in the door really is about reaching out to a contact that reports into that decision making role, explains Blair Schlader, strategic accounts manager at HIMSS Analytics.
So don't discount the power of the influencers. In the case that you know you're checking out the digital body language of an influencer, timing your call with their buyer's journey stage should become your primary focus.
Ask the Right Questions
This tip is about more than just giving you a list of the right questions to ask. Asking the right questions is a skill — something you need to continually improve.
"A good salesperson develops questions on the fly," Mumley explains. That means you need practice. We suggest taking the opposite approach to developing questions on the fly in order to get to the space where you can do it without hesitation.
Here's how: Set a learning policy for yourself. Decide that you'll record which questions you ask and their responses for a test period, and begin to identify patterns in how your prospects respond. Don't do this based on feeling. Do it based on data. Once you've nailed down the best questions to ask and in which order, record your sales results relative to your execution. Then do it again in a year. Regularly disciplining your process is the perfect way to reach the point where you're talented at improvising.
When you do ask questions, be sure to include the tough stuff.
"Don't be afraid to ask about budgets, fiscal calendars, who signs the contracts." And use the information you already have to get more. "If they have a certain tech installed, and you mention that, this can trigger additional responses or avenues."
"Most successful salespeople are the ones who are persistent," says Mumley. That means that even if you reach someone who says they're the decision maker, it's up to you to hang tough and find out if they really are, before you waste your time (and theirs) pitching and wooing them. Asking the right questions can assist in this effort.
If persistence and probing don't give you what you're looking for, and you still have trouble identifying or reaching the people you need to reach, consider getting new info. Through custom research, companies like HIMSS Analytics can reveal exactly who your buyers are and lead you to their door at the right time.