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When selling your product to a company, you need to ensure that you’re talking to the right people. Even the best sales pitch won’t matter if you don’t deliver it to the people in charge of making sales decisions for the company.

To avoid getting your pitch rejected, you need to identify and approach the sales decision-makers. Read on to find out who a sales decision-maker is and how to identify them. 

Who is a Sales Decision Maker?

A decision maker is someone within an organization who’s responsible for making high-level strategic decisions that have a huge impact on the company’s operations. These decisions range from acquisitions to investments to expansions. 

An organization typically has multiple decision-makers who occupy managerial, executive, and C-level roles — and the authority they have gets stronger as you go up the hierarchy. In the sales department, however, the decision-makers have the authority to make decisions on what to buy, when to buy, the price point to buy, and who/where to buy from.

Decision makers in the sales process usually hold a C-level title, but this isn’t always the case. So if you want to close a sale, you’ll need to do some sleuth work to determine who’s in charge of making purchasing decisions for the business. 

Contacting a company without knowing who you’ll be selling to is the equivalent of flying in blind. Not only does that make you seem unprofessional, but it also wastes your time and resources, and significantly reduces your chances of making a sale.

5 Types of Decision Makers in the Sales Process

In a standard organization, multiple people are involved in the sales process. Each person has their designated duties, which contribute to the final decision to buy (or not buy) your product.

Here are 5 types of decision-makers in the sales process:

  1. The initiator

The initiator is the person who starts the buying process. This person, usually the Director of Sales (or an equivalent role), identifies the current challenges the business is facing and determines whether your product will be a good investment for the company.  

  1. The influencer

The influencer is the person who convinces the entire team of sales decision-makers that your product is a good investment for the business. This person doesn’t have to be a part of the sales team though; they can be a member of the finance, legal, or marketing team, depending on which team will use the product the company’s about to buy. 

Since this person is familiar with the inefficiencies of their workflow, they’ll be able to offer insights into whether or not the product you’re selling will improve their daily processes.

  1. The decider 

The decider makes the final decision to purchase — or not to purchase — a product. This can be the initiator, who spends time analyzing different proposals and narrowing down their choices for which product to buy. Or it can be the leader of the team who’ll be using the software, should the company buy it. 

This is the person you want to have in your corner from the get-go. If you’re going to pitch your product to a company, the decider should be the first person you contact.  

  1. The buyer 

The buyer is the person who’s going to write you the check if the company decides to buy your product. This is usually a C-level executive who trusts the decider to make the best decision as to whether this new investment will bring optimal ROI for the business. 

Once the decider does their due research, selects the product of their choice, and provides reasons as to why they chose that specific product, the buyer will sign off on the purchase.

  1. The user 

The user is the person who’ll end up using your product, whether they had a say in the sales process or not. This is usually the team members of the department for which the product was designed. 

As a product owner, you should be intentional about helping the end users adopt your product once the company buys it. This means that your user onboarding process should be first-rate, as the end users are the people who’ll experience first-hand how your product improves efficiency and increases productivity. In turn, they’ll be able to convince friends in other companies to try your product out, which drives demand for your business.  

How to Identify the Decision Maker 

As you prepare to pitch your product to an organization, you’ll need to identify the person responsible for making sales decisions. To find and pitch to this person, here are the steps you should take: 

  1. Check the company’s website and social media 

Peruse the company’s website to learn more about its organizational structure, departments, and overall size. Some companies include an overview of their key team members on their website, so check for pages titled “About Us” or “Teams”. You could also do a quick Google search of the company and the target department — the one that’ll use your product — to find out who’s in charge. 

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, head over to social media platforms like LinkedIn, and search for the company’s page. Navigate to the People tab on the page to browse the company’s employees. Pay attention to their titles to find the head of the target department. You can either reach out to them via LinkedIn or send them a cold email.

If you know someone who works at the company, you can ask them, too. Employees often know who’s in charge of decision-making in their company’s teams, even when they’re not a member of said team. Or you can contact the company and ask for the right person to talk to about your product or service. The customer service representative who answers will likely point you in the right direction. 

Note: The title of a sales decision-maker varies from company to company, but you can make a guess based on the size of the company (which you’ll find on their LinkedIn page). 

  • 0-10 employees: The decision-maker is usually the CEO, CTO (for product), or CMO (for marketing). 
  • 10-50 employees: Search for the Vice President of the department you want to sell to, e.g. VP of Sales. 
  • 50-500 employees: Look for dedicated roles, like Sales Manager, Head of Marketing, and Product Lead.
  • >500 employees: Some companies with over 500 employees have regional roles. If your target company does, check for the person representing each region (or for a dedicated role in a specific region of the company). 
  1. Get past the gatekeeper

Many corporate buyers have gatekeepers whom you make first contact with before you can get access to the actual decision-maker. These gatekeepers can be a secretary, an executive assistant, or even a department head. If you’re going to have any real chance at selling your product to this company, you’ll have to get past the gatekeeper. The best way to do that is to make a great first impression. 

Being polite and friendly, and knowing the operational gap(s) your product can fill will not only increase your chances of speaking with the decision-maker but will also convince the gatekeeper to be on your side during the sales process. 

  1. Showcase the value of your product

When it’s time to pitch your product to the decision maker, be sure to ask questions that show that you care about helping them fix their problems. Some of these questions are:

  • What pain points are you looking to solve?
  • Have you ever heard of or used a similar product/service?
  • What factors do you consider before making a decision like this?
  • Is there anyone else in the organization who’d benefit from using this product/service?
  • What do you need from me to convince you to approve this sale? 

Based on their answers, you should know what they expect from your pitch and product. Usually, decision-makers expect you to have a thorough understanding of your product and the ability to explain how your product can solve their pain points and generate positive ROI for the company, should they approve the sale.

Improve the Efficiency of Your Sales Cycle

Reaching out to the sales decision-makers in your target company significantly improves your chances of closing the deal. When you know the exact person (or people) to talk to and their personality, you can tailor your sales pitch accordingly to win them over. 

Bernard Aguila

Bernard Aguila is a brand ambassador and SEO Outreach Specialist at Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing & SEO agency.