As the economy regains momentum, purchasing power tends to be delegated more liberally. Smart reps use that to their advantage. "A mistake a lot of people make is targeting only chief- or VP-level people," says Rocky Scales, vice president of sales and marketing at Vesta Inc., a company that helps businesses set up and manage stored-value transaction offerings such as prepaid phone and gift cards.
Scales learned this lesson soon after he joined Vesta in 2001. "I came across what I like to call a superior individual contributor in a product-development function at a big company, and she was really able to champion our cause and drive us home," he says. "I don't even think I met her boss until the contract was signed." And for the record, that account is now worth $50 million.
More recently, Scales signed up what has become a $100 million account by successfully pitching a director-level employee who was on the verge of promotion. "It was not somebody who owned the decision," Scales says, "but somebody who was plugged into the decision-making process and who was able to stand up in a meeting and say, 'This is right for our organization."
So how does Scales identify power brokers among the corporate rank and file? Through networking, he says, making it sound oh so easy.