Getting to the Decision Maker

Getting to the Decision Maker

Reaching high-level decision makers can be difficult. Consequently, many sellers consistently engage with influencers or other non-decision makers and end up closing very few new deals. While influencers can be helpful in driving deals forward, stopping the conversation with them is risky. Why? They may or may not have a full understanding of the decision maker’s business objectives, budget considerations, political concerns, timeline needs, etc. Getting to the decision maker then is key. How? Consider saying the following to the influencer:

“Having done 200+ similar projects last year, we have found that meeting with the decision maker for an initial review of the SOW is a best practice, as it ensures alignment between all parties and reduces cycles on both sides. If adjustments are needed, they can be made before final submission. Thus, please let [Name], CIO, know that we would like him to participate in the SOW’s initial review. His participation will ensure that we have captured the critical issues accurately and have set forth the appropriate timelines, milestone and goals to ensure success.”

What can you expect from the influencer? It depends on their level of experience and savvy. Some will understand and help you broker the meeting. Others will insist that everything continue to go through them. If the latter happens, you can force the issue by asserting that true partnerships require willing participation between all parties, including decision makers. Or, you can go around the influencer on the basis that you have given them the opportunity to continue to participate in the process, but now they are acting as a roadblock to you helping the company.

Deciding which path to take requires good judgment and multiple factors must be weighed. For example, does the decision maker do whatever the influencer says? If so, investing additional time and resources in them is a good idea. Also, what political factors need to be considered? Did a strategic partner bring you into the deal? How will your actions affect them and your ability to work together in the future? Taking a risk is easier when you know that you can solve the customer’s business problem and add value to them. Use good judgment.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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