How To Find Decision-Makers for Your Sales Pipeline

Setting sales appointments with decision-makers is crucial for a high-converting sales process. Keep reading to learn how to find decision-makers for your sales pipeline.
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Many small businesses rely only on referrals for business growth. But when you do this, you risk missing out on a world full of potential business opportunities. So if you’re not encouraging referrals, how can you find decision-makers for your sales pipeline? Well, there are several different approaches you can take. Let’s get into it.

Throughout this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:

Who Is Considered a Decision-Maker?

Decision-makers are individuals responsible for making financial decisions when charging a company expense. 

Company decision-makers vary from the type of product or service SDRs pitch, the industry the business serves, and the overall organization of the business.

For example, for SDRs who reach out on behalf of commercial businesses (like HVAC, roofing, painting, etc.), facility managers are the most common decision-maker. On the other hand, when it comes to reaching out on behalf of MSPs, the most common decision-makers are IT managers.

While these are the most common decision-makers for these industries, it doesn’t mean they will always be your go-to person. When in doubt, research and discover who decision-makers are through LinkedIn and other prospecting tools. 

Ways To Find B2B Decision-Makers

Decision-makers in the sales pipeline don’t just appear out of thin air—that’s why it’s essential to have a reliable prospecting approach in place. Here are some ways that sales teams can find B2B decision-makers for their outbound sales development program:

Buy Prospect Lists

Many sales teams buy prospect lists to start their appointment-setting efforts. While this can be a good first step, it’s not entirely sustainable because these lists aren’t verified or consistently updated. 

Additionally, once SDRs go through the prospecting list, that’s essentially the end, and you’ll have to either buy a new list or search online for other prospects to add to the sales funnel. 

When it comes down to it, buying prospect lists is good in theory, but there are more sustainable ways SDR teams can find decision-makers

Invest in Sales Tools and Technologies

While you could buy a list of prospects, investing in complex sales tools and technologies enables your sales teams to find the best decision-makers on their own. There is a wide range of prospecting tools on the market, including ZoomInfo and D&B Hoovers, that contains crucial company and decision-maker information like:

  • Company name
  • Company size
  • Decision-maker name
  • Decision-maker job title
  • Decision-maker email address
  • Decision-maker phone number


Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool for organically finding and reaching decision-makers in business. This extension of the LinkedIn platform empowers sales teams to accelerate their search capabilities and extend their network in a way they hadn’t been able to before. 

Unlike buying lists or using tools, LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps SDRs stay up to date on company decision-maker changes because their contact information is updated in real time when there is a job change. This ensures that sales reps always connect with the best decision-makers for your company’s product or service, reducing the risk of wasted time.

Questions SDRs Should Ask To Verify Decision-Makers

No matter how advanced your prospecting strategy is, SDRs must ask qualifying questions to ensure they’re speaking with the right individual regarding the product or service they’re pitching. Before officially setting the sales meeting, SDRs must ask one or more of the following questions:

  • “What’s your role with this particular product or service?”
  • “Do you have buying power regarding this product or service?”
  • “Does anyone else need to be included in the sales meeting?”
  • “What does your purchasing decision timeline look like?”

Asking these questions allows SDRs to identify decision-makers who are a part of the B2B buying process. Without asking these questions, you risk getting sales meetings with little to no conversion opportunity.

How To Reach Decision-Makers

Now that you have all the information about the key decision-makers, how do you plan on building relationships with them? Like any outbound sales development approach, there are three main ways SDRs can reach B2B buyers:

Cold Calls

Making cold calls may sound like an old-school way to reach decision-makers, but it’s still an incredibly effective way to have a productive pitch and guide potential buyers toward the end of the sales funnel. 

But if you don’t have a direct line to the decision-maker, one of the biggest obstacles with cold calling is getting past gatekeepers. A gatekeeper in business is the initial barrier between an SDR and a decision-maker. Typically a receptionist or an administrative assistant, a gatekeeper is tasked with answering phone calls, asking who is calling, and directing them to the right person. 

Gatekeepers are often trained to dodge sales calls, so getting past them and to the decision-maker can be challenging. While there is no surefire way of getting past gatekeepers, there are some ways to make it easier. 

First, you must give the direct name of the individual you want to speak with rather than asking the gatekeeper if they know who handles the product or service you want to pitch. And second, confidence is key. If an SDR sounds confident about who they want to speak with, the gatekeeper is more likely to direct them to the individual rather than asking questions.  

Sales Emails

If you want to avoid gatekeepers altogether, sending sales emails is another approach to connecting with decision-makers

Decision-makers often wear many hats, making it difficult to reach them via phone call. Additionally, some industry decision-maker personas prefer being contacted via email, so it’s essential to consider the audience your SDRs are speaking to.

Email marketing is an excellent medium for reaching decision-makers because it allows them to respond when it’s most convenient. This platform also empowers SDR teams to send sales enablement assets that pique their interest, including relevant blogs B2B marketers have written and industry-focused case studies that could resonate with their wants, needs, and interests.

A LinkedIn Connection

LinkedIn is unique because it is a social media platform and a vital tool for prospecting and building relationships with potential buyers. Many high-performing SDR teams use LinkedIn to connect with decision-makers and send them relevant pieces of marketing collateral. Additionally, when you already have common connections with a potential buyer, you increase the likelihood of them accepting the invitation because they already feel they can trust what you have to say. 

You’ve Connected With a Decision-Maker… Now What?

Connecting with a decision-maker isn’t the last step of their experience with your company—it’s only the beginning. Since most decision-makers aren’t ready to schedule a sales meeting after the first point of contact, it’s essential that your sales reps routinely follow up to continue building the relationship. 

Lead nurturing is essential to the sales process because it encourages the decision-maker to learn more about your business and explore how you could be their best solution to their current product or service pain points. 

To nurture leads, sales teams must take the time to make warm calls and send lead nurturing emails packed with relevant content. This content could include links to blogs to read that align with their interests or sales enablement assets such as case studies and infographics that progress their journey down the sales funnel.

Key Takeaways

While referrals are one way your company can generate leads, they aren’t predictable or reliable for a sustainable sales process. To get the most out of your business growth efforts, it’s essential that you practice a wide range of prospecting tactics to get the best decision-makers for your sales pipeline, such as:

  • Buying prospect lists
  • Using sales tools and tech
  • Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator 

At Sapper Consulting, our SDRs are trained to find and qualify leads based on your ideal customer profile. We use various prospecting tactics to find the best decision-makers who are ready to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. If your company needs help finding decision-makers and converting them into customers, contact the business growth experts at Sapper Consulting!

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About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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