How To Effectively Reach A Decision Maker (Plus, 3 Mistakes To Avoid)

How To Effectively Reach A Decision Maker (Plus, 3 Mistakes To Avoid)

If you think that every decision-maker fits the same cookie-cutter description, we have news for you.

The process of finding, reaching, and effectively persuading a decision-maker is always different.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average buying-group size is 5.4 people and most companies don’t have a top-down approach.

Get ahead with these four tactics to effectively reach decision-makers. Plus, simple mistakes to avoid from Yesware’s own sales team.

mail-openEliminate the guessworkKnow when decision-makers are opening your emails

4 Actions That Effectively Identify And Entice Decision Makers

1. Map Out The Ideal Persona — Who Are You Selling To?

Before you start looking, you’ll need a map of who you’re trying to find: the ideal personas.

Most companies don’t have a top-down approach. Decision-makers fall into three major categories:

  1. Decision-makers: Who will ultimately make the call to sign the paperwork.
  2. Advocates: Who does the research, takes the calls, and passes along the information.
  3. End-users: Who will be engaging with your product or service on a regular basis.

For example, at Yesware we sell to:

Technical decision-makers: VPs of Sales, Sales Managers
Advocates: Sales Ops
End-users: Sales Development Reps, AEs

In order to figure out who your potential personas are, ask yourself:

  1. Who will sign the contract?
  2. Who does the contract signer listen to? They won’t sign if (who) dissents?
  3. Who would I be interacting with beyond the sale?

2. Find Out Who Fits The Bill On LinkedIn

What’s the fastest way to track real-time company changes? Researching on LinkedIn.

Once you know who your ideal decision-makers are, you can start plugging in your research.

A simple way to do this: Use the search functionality.

Narrow down your search by putting quotations around your queries.

For example, search “Customer Success” at “Yesware”:

Pro tip: When researching your prospects on LinkedIn, take note of their accomplishmentsyour commonalities, and their interests. Use this template to log your research to create customized sentences.

decision maker

3. Send Cold Outreach That Actually Stands Out

The best way to get cold outreach right is to personalize your email. Show that you did your research.

Studies show that people prefer to hear about benefits that would improve their lives more than hearing about money. Why? Our relationship with time well-spent is more personal than our relationship with money.

In other words, time > money.

Send a message that shows how each persona is affected by the purchase decision. How will their time be valued with the purchase of your product or service?  

Here’s an example:

decision maker

And here’s a template to steal:

SL: Dropping a note

Hi {!First Name},
{!Pain Point Statistic}.
{!How service helps their persona}.
{!How service helps other persona}.
Are you interested in chatting for 15 minutes?

chart-barPersonalization at scalePersonalize value props to multiple decision-makers at once

4. Plant The Seeds For Success With A Follow-Up Email

If your cold email doesn’t generate a response, don’t throw in the towel.

Yesware data shows that 70% of unanswered sales email chains stop after the first attempt. If you send a second email, you have a 21% chance of a response.

So stop gambling all of your hard work on that first email.

You could have caught your prospect at a bad time or your subject line may have caused them to hit “delete.” No matter the situation, every cold email deserves a follow-up.

Need a follow-up email template? Here are twelve to steal from.

3 Avoidable Mistakes That’ll Ruin Your Shot With A Decision Maker

1. Forgetting That You’re Talking To A Living, Breathing Human Being

78% of decision makers polled have said “yes” to an appointment or event based on a cold call or email.

Cold outreach does work, but only when it’s done in the right manner.

Instead of “shooting your shot” with a generic bland email, you need to make sure it’s well-crafted and personalized from the whole formal email: subject line to sign-off.

2. Jumping The Gun On Making Your Ask

Think of your position as a consultant. You’re there to help.

The average sales process for inside sales is sixty days or less. This means asking for a meeting in your first email can be way too soon.

Look at your relationship with decision-makers as long-term.

They may be mid-contract with a competitor or perhaps they aren’t in the market for your product or service right now.

A good way to plant the seeds for a positive relationship? Send helpful materials (blog posts/content) to help them work smarter.

3. Not Knowing The Facts About Your Competition

We learn from our mistakes.

When first starting as an SDR at Yesware, Saniat Sheikh learned the importance of always knowing your competition.

Real-life example: On a cold call, the prospect said that he didn’t have time to talk and he used a competitor. Saniat mistakenly mentioned he was unfamiliar with the competitor and despite “not having enough time,” the prospect laid out to him the importance of having that information.

Now, Saniat suggests keeping quick facts about your competition on-hand during cold calls.

You can do this by creating your very own battle card.

In column A of a spreadsheet, list out price, features, customer dissatisfaction with competitor, where you win, where they win, and customer stories. In row 1 (starting with your company) list out your competition and fill out the information.

Like this:

decision maker

Here are some quick tips to do the research:

  1. Track them down on Twitter to see what customers complain about.
  2. Read reviews on G2 Crowd — Filter to the 1-star ratings to see where the competitor has the most satisfaction hiccups.
  3. Get acquainted with their features, strengths, and weaknesses.

decision maker

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