Smart salespeople know that not all decision-makers are the same. The motivations, budgets, goals, and habits of buyers change as you move up or down within a company's structure. Take time to understand not only who the decision-maker is, but also their level within the organization. This can reveal their underlying motives that drive their decisions.
Here's how to approach the three (3) levels of decision-makers to improve your sales performance:
LEVEL 3 - Manager Level Buyer
The frontline manager has a purchasing focus on the team level. The decisions they make are typically for daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Examples would be purchases to help their sales team hit quota, customer service team maintain high customer satisfaction ratings or administrative team have access to the necessary supplies.
Manager buying motive--They want less work in order to dedicate more time to their teams.
- The Manager asks: "How much of my time and effort will your product take to implement?"
How to appeal to a Manager level buyer:
"This will help make your job easier." "This will support your team goals." "You can get back more time to focus on your priorities."
LEVEL 2 - Director Level Buyer
The Director level buyer has a purchasing focus on the departmental level. The decisions they make are typically for yearly goals. Examples would be purchases to standardize the CRM system across all of the company's sales teams or requisition of new manufacturing technology to improve output in production. They have bigger budgets than managers, and they can move money from one line item or team in order to make a purchase for another team.
Director buying motive--They want to achieve departmental goals that align with the company strategy.
- The Director asks: "How will this help us achieve the annual goals for our department while remaining within our budget?"
How to appeal to a Director level buyer:
"This will increase your annual sales by 5-7%." "You will see customer retention remain at 91%." "Your operating costs will decrease by 9% over the next 12 months." "The improved efficiencies will drop your lead times from a week to only three days saving you up to $75,000."
LEVEL 1--Senior Level Buyer
The Senior level buyer has a purchasing focus on the company level. The decisions they make are typically for 2-7 year goals by implementing their vision through the department leaders. Examples would be purchases to add a new production facility, expand into a foreign market, or invest in the development of new products. They have access to money no one else does and can fund initiatives from different departments and banks.
Executive buying motives--They want to achieve strategic goals and minimizing risk.
- The Executive asks: "How does your solution align with our strategic initiatives over the next four years?"
How to appeal to an Executive level buyer:
"We can help you execute your 5-year plan by providing a 4.5% cost reduction in logistics each year." You'll minimize risk in your industry when you roll out your new product line." "We will save you 14% in IT costs so you can reallocate the savings over next 3 years into R&D."
Knowing the level of buyer you're selling to can make a significant impact on your pre-call planning and execution of the sales process. Personal interests and motivations influence most decisions. Armed with this information, you can walk into your next sales appointment smiling because you just may have found your competitive edge--the things that really drive buying decisions.
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