How to Reach Business Decision Makers: 5 Proven Steps That Work!

Most business folks will agree that it’s REALLY hard to reach important business decision makers. Or, is it?  Well, it turns out, reaching the decision makers in any company can dramatically be increased by simply applying a few powerful data-driven marketing techniques and tools —  all without making a single cold call — allowing faster sales close.

Here are the 5 proven steps to get in front of key business decision makers quickly:

1.) Utilize LinkedIn and Facebook

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to navigate around “gatekeepers” to get appointments with decision makers. All the decision makers in an industry of interest are probably already on LinkedIn and are almost definitely on Facebook.

Consider partnering with a reputable data provider that can give you prospects’ accurate B2B and B2C email addresses, company website domains, full names, phone numbers, and postal addresses.  Equipped with this information, you can onboard that data on LinkedIn to create a matched audience segment and create a highly relevant ad for them.  Likewise, you can do the same on Facebook to create a custom audience and meet them there as well.

Using LinkedIn ad targeting options, you can even narrow your targeting to reach exact job titles, job functions, and companies of interest. You can then send them direct inMail messages. Therefore, whatever business decision maker you are trying to reach, you can definitely reach them directly on LinkedIn at scale.

In all instances, work with your digital marketing team to brainstorm the planning and execution of these ad campaigns.

2.) Offer real value upfront

Here is the truth: Everybody you meet has an invisible sign around their necks that read, “What’s in it for me?”  So, if messaging comes across as trying to offer YOUR service to someone without providing any real value or benefits upfront, your efforts will get ignored, if not deleted or erased completely.

Instead, spell out the value/benefits to decision makers UPFRONT through content and demonstrations of extreme value to them and their business. It can be something as simple as showing how the brand can enhance their customers’ lives!

Research their industry thoroughly and make a legitimate case of how your product or services help solve their problem(s). They will be impressed by the approach, as almost no salesperson does this — but you are no ordinary sales person!

This upfront value/benefit can be done by writing an article or offering a free whitepaper (without asking them to fill out a form!), case study or a direct mail piece. This shows how you intend to make the lives of their customers (and potential customers) better while forging a “win-win” relationship with them.

Once the case study has been completed, your content marketing team also can create an article, PDF or whitepaper to support the initial communication that started it all. After this is done, use the business email lists acquired from your data provider to launch a multichannel marketing outreach campaign.

How do you do this?

3.) Create custom audiences on LinkedIn and Facebook.

It’s important for your sales and marketing teams to work together. Use the key decision makers’ email address to create a custom audience segment on LinkedIn and Facebook, which can be used to promote your relevant, well-researched and in-depth case study to them. Doing this automatically positions you as an expert and a consultant as opposed to someone just trying to sell something!

On the ad campaign, always send them directly to the case study! Don’t have them “fill out a form” to see it. Remember, the goal is to provide value upfront.

With advanced web analytics, you can see the companies that read your case study and the amount of time they spent reading it. There are tools that can send notifications of those companies who read your case study as well as provide their B2B contact information. Example of such tool is Whoisvisiting.

In addition, a tool like LinkedIn Website Demographics provides the professional traits of website visitors. You see job titles, company name, industry, location and more which can provide useful insights as to which individual or company interacted with your case study.

4.) Follow up

Equipped with the data in Step 3, follow up with companies that showed interest in the case study.

For example:

“Good morning, I will like to speak with (decision maker name). He/She recently showed interest in our case study about (topic), and I would appreciate a moment of their time to discuss any thoughts or questions they may have.”

Something like this is a highly relevant conversation powered by the results of data-driven marketing.

Why does this matter?  It sets you apart from the competition. It’s also a breath of fresh air for the decision maker because you have demonstrated your competence without being pushy or “salesy.” You are seen as a consultant and thought leader as opposed to a “salesperson” trying to get on their calendar with a cold outreach (this never works).

TIP: Also, consider connecting on LinkedIn with decision makers in companies that engaged with your case study. When sending the “connect” request, briefly introduce yourself as the author of the case study. Remember they now see you as the “expert.”

5.) Send content through direct mail

Lastly, mail your case study to the target company’s postal address; addressing it to the decision maker(s).  A reputable data provider also will include their current company postal address when you acquire business lists.

In this example, you have successfully engaged with key business decision makers on multiple touch points. First, through an online display ad, following up via phone/email to discuss the case study with interested parties, through a LinkedIn connection and now through direct mail – all while providing extreme value to their organization through free content.

They have now moved from just “cold prospects” to warm prospects that already know you and see you as an expert or consultant. They will feel like they already know you once you make that first sales call or one-on-one connection. It is not uncommon to hear a statement like: “I read your case study. Thanks for doing that!”  

What a great way to open up a sales conversation, greatly reduce the sales cycle and increase your chances of closing the deal!

Bottom line

Always offer value UPFRONT to separate yourself from others who don’t apply these data-driven strategies. The company decision-makers will be impressed and it could make all the difference in your outreach campaign.

About the author

Stirista began as an ambitious project from an apartment in San Francisco. But as office space expanded, so did our client base. After a few short years, we have worked with the largest healthcare insurance provider in the world, the biggest telecommunication company in the US, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. We are on the preferred vendor list for a handful of Fortune 500 companies, with three of the ten largest companies in the world turning to us for...

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