Conventional wisdom says that you should direct your sales efforts to the person who has final approval--often called the "decision maker."
In many cases, however, you're better off selling to the executive (or director or manager) who will be responsible for putting a project into motion--that is, the person who will actually apply whatever it is that you're selling.
According to Dr. Steve Bistritz and Nicholas A.C. Read, authors of the bestselling book Selling to the C-Suite, sales efforts at the customer firm should be directed toward the exec who possesses the following characteristics:
Such executives may not have the financial authority to "sign on the dotted line," but they almost always get what they want and need from the official "decision-maker." And that includes a signature on the contract.
Needless to say, you may have to do some research (and interview some customer contacts) to locate this all-important individual.
Once you do, though, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll be applying your sales efforts where they'll have the most impact.
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