And there it is, a big company. Working as a seller you start thinking who should you call there especially when you do not know anyone working in its account. Of course then you start checking its website just to discover the list of top officials of the company, also known as key decision makers list. Yet probably you do not know who is in charge of making decision for your product and service. You may have been discouraged when you see all these business units.
So there are two main questions. First, where do you start? Second, how can you find the right person to contact?
First you should identify possible job titles of someone who makes decision (the key decision maker) in the area of your interest. For example, for sales organization you should contact VP of sales, national sales manager, sales director, etc. Sometimes you will have to explain what the person, who you want to contact with, does to make sure you can give an explanation of this key decision maker’s role during name search process.
But remember that even big companies are in fact a bunch of small autonomous organizations which make independent decisions as few decisions are made for the whole organization.
Keep in mind that you should also review the organization’s website and/or annual report to know where you want to go in the big company. If your niche is well defined then you do business with manufacturing or legal. However it might happen that your product or service fits better in another area of the company. Yet even if you could do business with any of the area, it is better to narrow focus to achieve your goals. Choose some places to get started from and be specific. You might consider to use following phrase: “I want to speak to the person in charge of:
- Logistics and warehouse design in the supply chain area
- Management training in specific business unit
- Making key decisions in a specific area
- Evaluating price optimization strategies for retail markets, etc.”
Be sure to be clear on who you are trying to target. Be patient as it takes even couple of phone calls to identify the right key decision maker in the targeted area. Wendy Weiss in her book titled In Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors & Closing Sales notes that the easiest way to get in is to call the receptionist. In addition, she recommends using some magic words to get to decision maker before the receptionist puts you through: “Before you connect me, (PAUSE) I need to reach – (give title). Who is that please?”
But the aforementioned way is not the only one which might help you find names of right key decision makers in the company. Below you will find more.
These days when you contact a big company, it is good to start with saying: “Hi! I have got a question about doing business with your company? Can I ask you?” Believe that almost always a surprised switchboard caller agrees. Then you should ask if you could send a short letter introducing your company and probably you will also hear an affirmative response. At the end just say: ” If I tell you what we do, can you tell me who to address it to?” The response is almost always affirmative so you get the name of the key decision maker you are looking for.
Another way of getting through to the key decision maker is to contact the Human Resources unit of the big company as its workers are extremely helpful when it comes to knowing the right person. The company’s annual report seems also handy when it comes to identifying key decision makers’ names as one usually includes the executives. Contacting with the controller or head finance person is a good way of searching key decision makers as these people always aim at either saving money or improving quality at the same or even lower cost. Even you can try to speak to the president of the company as the call usually goes to personal assistant who might connect you to the proper key decision maker.
You can also start a thorough search on the Internet as there you can find names and contact number of everyone from the top. If they are listed on the Internet, they are probably important enough in the organization. Sometimes it is also good to connect to customer service people as they will help you to connect to the big shot. If you know someone, who has been doing business with your targeted company, you can ask him/her to suggest you some salespeople from the organization.
While buying a list or just searching for key decision makers you can also make use of publications related to the field of the company. Often someone from the organization writes articles in the field of a magazine or a book. The first name on the list of author of the article is usually the end user, while the last name belongs to the key decision maker. So remember to look for names also in magazines and other publications.
Make use of industry-related associations that you are in as they are a fruitful source of contacts. You can buy key decision makers list from the conferences organized by these associations.
All of aforementioned strategies for reaching or just identifying and buying key decision makers list are effective. But make sure to know who you want to reach! Do not be discouraged by multiple of calls you have to do to reach the targeted audience. Most people you will encounter during your search will be willing to help you as long as you are specific enough about the key decision maker you are looking for.
Continuously look for names in local newspapers, trade journals, etc. Make use of your contacts. Share your knowledge about key accounts with others and you will get some pieces of information back. Finding key decision makers is a hard work.