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3 Proven Ways to Win Over Top-Level Decision Makers

3 Proven Ways to Win Over Top-Level Decision Makers - SalesLatitude

3 Proven Ways to Win Over Top-Level Decision Makers - SalesLatitudeWhy is it so important to get in front of key decision makers and influencers on every sales opportunity? It’s simple: to expand your relationships and understand business needs and priorities in order to sign bigger deals faster, and meet or exceed quotas. Here are 3 proven ways to identify and win over top-level decision makers and influencers.

1. Understand Tactical vs. Strategic Decision Makers

Most sales people can clearly identify the key decision makers and influencers on a specific opportunity or account. They’re likely the people you’ve been talking to all along – people who like you and you like them. And they’re the people most likely to buy from you.

But have you verified that these individuals understand the specific, strategic objective(s) the business as a whole is trying to achieve? The need for “faster reporting” or “reduced costs” may indeed be tactical – not strategic – objectives. This means you’re not speaking to the people who have the right knowledge when it comes to specific business outcomes.

The solution:  Ask questions about what the overall business is looking to achieve. If their answers are two narrowly-focused, then you’ll need to make contact with decision makers higher up the chain. Ask how decisions are influenced and made in the organization to find the right decision makers.

2. Build Credibility with the Top Level

Once you’ve identified the top-level decision makers, you’ll need to figure out your approach. Executives care about business outcomes and how different products and services can help them to accomplish their goals. Do your research to increase your knowledge about the customer, then speak about the things they care about. Understand what will make them successful and what their priorities are, and then position yourself accordingly.

And interestingly enough, higher-ups are very open to discussions early on in their buying cycle and are happy to share their specific business goals. It’s partly because their performance in achieving them is tied to their compensation.

The solution:  Change the conversation from features/benefits to overall business goals – holistically and from their point of view. Do your research, expand the context and talk more about what they are looking to accomplish both inside and outside your realm. Let them know you understand their challenges and speak their language.

3. Get to Know Everyone – Even the Naysayers

It’s crucial to know and talk to everyone involved in a buying decision – including decision makers and influencers – whether they like you or not. Because typically, not all of them will be in favor of your products and services. The goal is to understand and address any objections to get the full picture, especially in a complex sale involving many people on both sides of the deal.

Sometimes you’re faced with decision makers and influencers who are also not your biggest fans – perhaps due to a past experience at your company, even before your time. As sales people, we need to understand everyone’s point of view, good and bad, and chip away at their objections little by little. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can try to neutralize key individuals once you understand their issues.

The solution:  Don’t ignore the people you don’t know or are critical of your product or service – especially top-level decision makers and influencers. Instead, make a concerted effort to talk to and understand them better so you can neutralize objections early on.

The importance of reaching and communicating effectively with top-level decision makers and influencers cannot be underestimated. In a survey conducted by Revegy, top sales performers said their #1 success factor is being able to establish key relationships with decision makers and influencers. Meanwhile, 33% of sales reps who missed their quotas attributed their lost deals to a lack of visibility with key decision makers.

With these 3 proven ways to win over top-level decision makers and influencers, you will no longer be the one they run from. Instead, you will become part of their solution to improve their success and reach their goals.


Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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