If you aren't, you'll probably have a hard time selling your products or services. In business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, all prospects are "decision makers." They have the authority to choose and buy their own products or services, without requiring approval from someone else. This is in stark contrast to business-to-business (B2B) sales, however, in which prospects are often required to seek approval from upper management before making a purchase.
So, how do you identify the decision makers in a company? Well, your first step should be to acquire as much information about the prospect and his or her company as possible. Try to find out how long the company has been in business, who founded the company, who's the current chief executive offer (CEO), how much they earn per year, and other relevant information. Using this information, you should have a better understanding of the company's decision makers. You can also search for the company online, which may reveal social media profiles for its decision makers.
Another tactic that can help you identify decision makers is to look for common connections on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn lacks the traffic of its Facebook counterpart, it excels in its ability to reach business owners and other professionals. If you have a profile on LinkedIn, you can check to see if you have any common connections with a prospect. If you do, perhaps you can ask that connection if he or she knows the decision makers in the prospect's company.
Identifying a company's decision makers is only half the battle. The only half is actually reaching them.
A common mistake made by B2B salespersons is overlooking receptionists and other lower-level employees. B2B salespersons often assume these workers don't have the authority to make purchasing decisions, so they spend little-to-no time nurturing them. Even if a receptionist or other lower-level employee doesn't have the authority to make a purchase, he or she could connect you to someone who does have the authority. Therefore, you should tread carefully when engaging with these employees.
Rather than relying on a single channel to reach decision makers, try using multiple channels. The more marketing and sales channels you use, the greater your chance of reaching the decision makers and ultimately selling your product or service. In addition to inbound techniques like content marketing and SEO, for instance, you should also use outbound techniques like cold calling and emailing.