It's interesting to me how many companies cannot accurately articulate who the decision maker is for the purchase of their products.
Of course, these are also usually the companies that have no universal definition of their ideal customer. Somewhere along the line, it became considered a necessity to target the highest-level person in the organization as a qualified lead. Then, of course, came the cry that these decision makers were too hard to reach and that building engagement with them was a challenge beyond their reach.
On a recent project, the client insisted that the C-level contact was their decision maker and that was the person sales would consider qualified to exert time on converting.After exploratory calls were made to determine the owner of the projects that would utilize their products, that C-level contact was no where to be found. Almost all of the contacts who said they were the decision maker for that purchase were at least two levels down from the C-level contact the client had identified.
They were pursuing the wrong prospect.Why, you ask? How could they've made that mistake and sworn they were right?Easily. They'd looked at their signed contracts. All their contracts had been signed by the C-level contact they'd identified because those are the people authorized to commit their companies to a six-figure spend for a complex purchase. They blessed the project and provided the ink to seal the deal.
Sure, they had to be convinced the purchase was the best choice for their company, that the business value was there and that the alternatives wouldn't provide the outstanding results that this choice could. But that's an internal sale within the customer's company.The C-level contact had to be sold by the project stakeholders. They had no interest in???or time for???participating in nurturing programs or talking with sales people. That's what the project owners and other stakeholders needed to spend time vetting.
It's fine to try and include these upper-tier people in your nurturing and outreach programs, but not at the expense of reaching the people actively involved in the project design, vendor evaluation and persuasion of the powers that be. The actual decision makers. In fact, trying to go around them can do more harm than good. Everyone has an ego to consider, after all. Not to mention the opportunities you can miss by pursuing the wrong prospects.Even more importantly, the marketing content and nurturing programs you use will need to tell a different story to each decision maker you endeavor to engage.
I'd stipulate that there are multiple decision makers for a complex B2B sale. Each with a different stake in project outcomes.So, who's the decision maker for your product or service offering?
Is it the person who inks the deal or someone else who's made the decision and has to convince that executive to sign on the dotted line?Oh, and don't forget to arm your decision maker with all the persuasive information they'll need to get that ink flowing!
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