Many salespeople prospect to one person and one person only. They keep knocking on the same door and it isn’t opening. This is frustrating and non-productive.
Identifying the best positions/titles/functions to contact is critical for your prospecting success. In general, in a B2B environment, there are usually four to five departments or functions in an organization that can probably benefit from your offer, including:
- Functional (HR, sales, manufacturing, etc.)
Of course, different industries have different functions that may limit you. For example, when selling to the government, healthcare and education verticals in particular, there are often more centralized or regulated models for an organization to buy things. Federal government sales need to abide by Government Securities Act (GSA) rules or an existing contract that has been awarded to a specific company or companies. If your company doesn’t fit into either of these, it makes it much more difficult to sell to the government. Large companies may force you into selling only to the procurement department, limiting your ability to penetrate an account.
If this is the case, you can play by their rules and see where it gets you. If you don’t succeed, then you might consider talking to other people in the company to influence the main buyer, or someone else who might be able to act on his or her own, if necessary, and if your offer is really compelling. It is very doubtful that if the general counsel or CFO said he or she wanted something, procurement would say, “No, you can’t have it.”
Using the database of your choice, search for the titles and names you want to sell to. For example, if you sell a product for a sales organization, you might search for several titles, including VP of Sales, VP of Channels, VP of Customer Service, VP of HR or Training, and CFO, because they can all benefit from your services. Who else can benefit from what you are selling?
You should also use your own connections and contacts to see if you or an acquaintance knows any of the people, specifically, or in the companies you want to sell to. Social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook, Pinterest, and even MySpace (if you are in the music or entertainment industry) are good for this. Of course, if you are using a database you pay for such as Hoover’s, The List, OneSource, or others, you need to refer to these as well.