Imagine driving on the interstate, and you see a bunch of cows grazing on the meadow.
You think “Ah, they’re just cows grazing on some grass.” There is nothing special about it. It is just cattle. But if you saw a purple colored cow when you were driving by the meadow, it would have instantly grabbed your attention, and you would have ended up slamming on your brakes hard.
(PS: Don’t do that! Be a cautious driver!)
This is an excerpt from Master Marketer Seth Godin’s Ted Talk.
But why does he say this?
The simple explanation follows that in a crowded market place when aiming for the C-suite, your approach has to be well-thought. Influencing them to take a decision might seem like an impossible task, but the truth is you have to be unique. Just like that purple cow! You have to stand out in a crowd, make your mark. Seth Godin was making a point to similar to it.
To conclude the master marketer, if you want to be exceptional and reach the decision makers, you have to be different and not just follow the crowd.
Understanding How to Reach Decision-Makers for B2B Sales
Reaching decision makers is an uphill task for modern marketers and salespeople these days. While the decision makers’ are preoccupied with their own personal and organizational challenges, they have minimal time to spare to hear out the solutions propounded by a variety of salespeople.
With the decision makers not being respected of their time by hell-bent salespeople who are always pitching them some product or service makes the former avoid the latter altogether. This has made it almost difficult for genuine salespeople to seek them out. And as the technology gets more complicated, reaching the decision-makers has become even more unfavorable.
They can deny to meet you in person or not reply to your emails at all. Well, and we all know what happens after that. It is all hope lost. You miss out your chance on reaching out to the most coveted section of the audience in the industry. So, should you stop trying to reach out to the decision-makers? People who can bring real change to your business?
Well, absolutely not!
These hurdles should not faze modern salespeople. You should find a way to avoid the obstacles and pitch their products/services to the decision makers in a way that brings value to the organization and also alleviates the decision makers’ problems.
Drawing from my experience in the industry and dealing with the decision-makers, here are a few tips to break the pattern and reach the decision makers more effectively, thus, closing more sales.
1) Portray your uniqueness to the decision makers
You might think this is a redundant strategy, yet in reality, it is anything but that. Most of the salespeople don’t look to establish a connection with the decision maker but expect to get their problems solved. They will have a memorized script either in their hands or run on repeat mode in their heads. When adopting such a method, it is like every other “deal- closing” pitch that the decision makers have heard. They reach a conclusion that the salesperson isn’t concerned about their needs or solving their problems.
So, what kind of strategy do you adopt?
The best strategy here would be not to become a part of the crowd, memorizing your sales pitch and blurting it out to the decision makers hoping to make a sale.
Instead, understand the needs of the decision makers and tinker your sales pitch in such a way that it feels genuine; it should help them solve a problem. Use pitches such as “We helped company X grow their revenues by 200% last year. You can try out our product risk-free for a month before becoming a paying customer” to bring out a response from the decision makers.
2) Thoroughly research the decision makers and their companies
A decision maker gets calls from salespeople who pitch their products/services which offer little or no value to them or the organization. They consider these calls as a waste of time, for these contain no clear sign of anything valuable.
Cold calling and pitching your product/service to decision makers will drive your sales off the road and straight into the ditch. Instead, before calling the decision makers, take time to research about the company, their products/services and how you can add value to all that.
Unlike the 2000s, reaching out to your targeted customers (who in this case are the decision makers) is more comfortable. You can map out the customer journey and acquire all the information you want to about the company and decision makers. Whether on social media or search engines, in the reign of the internet, it is easy to get necessary info, subsequently boosting your sales.
For instance, you may come across a decision maker on LinkedIn. You can send them a message and connect with them first before making a pitch. Going about methodically increases your chance of getting noticed as compared to a regular cold call or cold email.
3) Put forth the benefits rather than the features
When you want to reach a decision maker, just putting forth the details about your product/service isn’t enough to grab the attention of the decision makers. They might come across such similar products/services every day.
So, how to get their attention to your product/service?
Simple- put forth the benefits and make sure you highlight the same.
Showcase how your product/service can benefit them. It is all about focusing on the problem-solving aspects of the product/service for it helps the decision makers identify with the same as reliable.
Also, you need to be patient after making the first sales pitch. After sending the sales pitch, wait for 2-3 days before following up with them. You should post the next follow up mail after a week after that. If the decision makers’ still fails to respond after the third mail, you can ask them outright whether they are interested in your product/service.
If they respond with a “No,” then it is time to remove them from your list and move on to the next one.
However, if they say “yes,” it is a sign that they are interested in your product but need more impetus to buy from you. You can nurture these decision makers using personalized, and value-added content highlighting the benefits of your product/service.
4) Create messages that incites interest
Before you send a sales pitch to your targeted decision makers, consider whether such a message would stimulate your attention, or would you let it slide off your table entirely?
Know that a decision makers’ time is limited, and your message should spur his/ her interest so much so that they must be interested in calling you back the very instant they come across your word.
Your messages should not be annoying. Sending stereotypical emails is a big no-no. Refrain from long and dull emails, opting more for personalized messages. Garnish these with humor (not too much for it should not sound sarcastic). It should capture the attention of the decision makers.
There are no formats set for these emails; however, as per the industry benchmark, keep your messages short (precisely 30 seconds). Experts have opined that you can capture the attention decision makers within this short amount of time or the opportunity is lost forever. You can also make the content interesting by adding images and video for it increases the click-through-rates.
Adding a suitable jingle to your email can make a lot of difference as well.
5) Mutual connections are your keycard into the heart of the company
When you are researching a company, leverage various social media channels, to find mutual connections in the company. Mutual connections can be anyone with whom you went to school, your college roommate or your ex-colleague or even your best friend who can you get through to the decision maker.
When you have a mutual connection, chances of your sales pitch being discussed is higher. Mutual connections allow you to be identified as someone reliable.
The best way to connect with them is to send them a request to connect on LinkedIn. You can also call them. However, make sure that your pitch is viable and credible enough to put forth to the coveted audience.
Also, do not nag your mutual connection to do your bidding. Put forth your idea and follow up with them accordingly.
6) Effectively utilize the gatekeepers
While reaching the key decision makers, you need to get through the gatekeepers. Who are the gatekeepers? Well, secretaries, executive assistants, and the likes are often referred to as the gatekeepers because they usually receive and filter the messages that are forwarded to the decision makers.
In short, before you pitch to the key personnel in the organization, you need to get through by them. Don’t avoid contact with the gatekeepers. If you build a good rapport with them, it gives you a better shot to pitch your sales prospects to the decision makers. Treat the gatekeepers with admiration and respect and they will make the job easier for you.
Since they work at that place, they have a better insight into the decision maker’s schedule. This can be helpful for you as you can plan your sales pitch and send it when it gets noticed.
Give the gatekeepers enough information to arouse their interests so that they put in the right word for you.
7) Put increased onus on social media marketing
A lot of B2B salespeople overlook the reach of social media, especially when they are looking to build professional connections. But here is the catch! In the world of social media, most companies work on creating a significant presence in social media presence. You will find most prominent decision makers using platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with their customers.
They understand the relevance of social media and know leveraging it comes with a plethora of benefits. So, to build a connection with the decision makers in the industry, you need to find their profiles on social media channels.
However, first, focus on building a connection and then focus on pitching your sales prospects. Social media is more useful than we credit it for. By using it appropriately, you can boost your sales to new heights.
8) Multi-channel communication is the best way to reach your prospects
When you are looking to reach your desired set of decision-makers, it is better to utilize a multichannel approach. Decision makers are on different platforms and switch between one another quite frequently.
There are several ways to opt for the multi-channel approach.
One of the ways is to source their email from a reputed B2B database provider and then send a well-worded email detailing the benefits of the product/service. Include the solutions these provide to the problems faced by the organization.
Wait for a few days before your follow-up. Instead of sending another email, send them a message on LinkedIn. This increases your chances of getting noticed in case they missed it the first time.
If they show interest, you can arrange for a call or a face-to-face meeting. This way, you use various channels of communication to connect with them, ensuring that you get heard.
9) Rely on a reputed B2B Database service provider
There are a few recognized B2B marketing database providers on whom you can rely and buy a personalized database list of decision makers specific to your business needs. This method is one of the most straightforward ways available for it allows you to reach your desired audience without breaking your head or the bank!
In the beginning, it may seem that the B2B marketing lists are an expense; but as time passes and your ROI increases, you will realize that it is a worthy investment.
Find a trustworthy database service provider, who will provide you with a list that has potential prospects. Since these decision makers are already looking for salespeople interested in forming a connection; your chances of getting heard are high.
To Sum It Up
To reach out to the decision makers with your B2B sales prospects, you need to be creative, nifty and swift. As I discussed in the beginning, you need to stand out. You have to make your presence felt, and you need to do it subtly.
These tips mentioned above are tried and tested. Keep these strategies in mind, and your chances of getting connected with a decision maker increase significantly. So, do you have any other strategies in mind? What is your favorite strategy to target the decision makers in your industry? Let us know in the comments.
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