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Who is a gatekeeper and how to work with them when selling B2B

Written by Jessy Leone
Mark Wellman - SALES RUSH
Mark Wellman - Director of Growth and Partnerships at Sonero.

Sales tip #1: Set the urgency with the gatekeeper

B2B SaaS sales can often be a slow process. Especially when selling to Enterprise clients and dealing with the gatekeepers. The deals taking months or even years to come to fruition. This can be frustrating for salespeople, who are under pressure to hit their targets.

One way to speed up the B2B sales cycle is to create a sense of urgency when talking with the gatekeeper.

Lidia: "What prevents deals from moving forward?"

Mark: "Not being able to set the urgency or find the right solution you are trying to provide to the prospect."

The gatekeeper is the person who controls access to the decision maker

The gatekeeper can make or break your sales pitch. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to set the urgency with the gatekeeper. You need to be able to set the urgency with the gatekeepers in order to move deals forward. However, if you’re not able to set the urgency for why a client needs your product, the deal will likely stall.

How to create a sense of urgency with the gatekeepers in B2B sales?

Start by creating a timeline for the decision-making process and making it clear that there are other interested parties. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the gatekeeper’s motivations, their pain points, and how your product can address them. It also means staying in constant communication with them and keeping them updated on the status of the deal.

Urgency can be created by highlighting a current pain point that your product solves or by showing how your product can help the gatekeeper and their company achieve their goals and that they need to act now in order to take advantage of the opportunity. This can be done by highlighting the time-sensitive nature of the problem or the limited availability of your product. You can also try highlighting the potential risks of not moving forward with the deal, such as losing out on a competitive advantage or missing an opportunity to tap into a new market. Urgency can also be created by setting a deadline for the deal, or by offering a discount for early completion.

Without a sense of urgency, it’s easy for potential clients to put off making a decision, which can ultimately lead to the deal falling through. Therefore, you must find a way to create a sense of urgency when selling your products or services to B2B clients.

Try to pinpoint the key decision-maker within a target organization. It is essential to correctly identify who the key decision-maker is because this is the person who has veto power over any proposed B2B buy. The title of the key decision-maker may vary depending on the organization, but they are typically higher up in the hierarchical structure of the company.

Don't try to go around the gatekeepers by going directly to the decision-makers!

If you try to circumvent the gatekeeper by going directly to the decision-maker, you’re likely to encounter resistance. The gatekeeper is there for a reason, and they won’t appreciate being bypassed. It’s important to respect their role and build a rapport with them before attempting to reach the decision-maker.

Instead, be transparent and ask if they can connect you with the decision-maker. The gatekeepers can be very protective of the decision-maker’s time. However, if you take the time to build a rapport with the gatekeeper, you may be able to arrange a call or meeting with the decision-maker. By doing this, you’ll be able to pitch to them directly, and you’ll have a much better chance of closing the deal.

Alternatively, you share your pre-recorded video presentation with the gatekeeper.

This way, the gatekeeper can easily share your sales pitch with the decision-maker, and you can be sure that your message is getting through.

How to identify the key decision-maker?

The easiest is to just ask the gatekeeper! But if you want to come prepared and ask for the specific person you can research the organization thoroughly and look for patterns in past B2B sales. Talking to employees of the organization can also be super helpful in identifying who the key decision-maker is. Look for someone who is high up in the organizational hierarchy. They may have a title such as “Director” or “Vice President.” They may also have a large team working under them. Second, look for someone who is involved in all stages of the purchasing process. They will likely be involved in everything from initial research to final negotiations. Finally, look for someone who shows a high level of interest in your product or service. The gatekeeper could be your decision-maker! They will ask probing questions and express a clear need for your solution. By keeping these factors in mind, you can increase your chances of identifying the key decision-maker in any organization.

Once you have identified the key decision-maker and connected with them, it is important to build a relationship. This means understanding their needs and challenges, and then demonstrating how your product or service can help them to overcome these challenges. This can be done by research, making connections through mutual contacts, or attending events they are speaking at. It also involves keeping them updated on your latest offerings. The goal is to establish trust and credibility so that when it comes time to make a purchase, the decision-maker will remember your business and feel confident in your ability to provide a solution. By establishing a good relationship with the key decision-maker, you will be in a better position to win their business.

Sales tip #2: Follow-ups with the gatekeepers and decision-makers win deals

Lidia: "The best sales advice you've ever received?"

Mark: "The sale is always won on a follow-up."

The gatekeeper email follow up

Seasoned B2B sales reps know that the key to closing a deal is always follow-up. Even if you have the best product in the world, if you don’t follow up with your potential client they are likely to go elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important to have a strong follow-up strategy in place. After all, no matter how good your initial pitch is, you’re never going to win the business if you don’t stay in touch and continue to nurture the relationship. This is because B2B buyers, and specifically the gatekeepers and decision-makers, are usually very busy and may need multiple touch points before they’re ready to make a decision.

By following up, you’re showing that you’re persistent and that you’re willing to invest the time and energy into making the sale. This can be a difficult and time consuming task, but it’s essential for B2B sales success. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid follow-up strategy in place.

The good news is that there are some strategies you can use to make your follow-ups with the gatekeepers and decision-makers more effective. For example, you can go with tried-and-true emails. But you can also take your follow-up game to the next level and share an asynchronous video presentation with the client. Pre-recorded video presentations allow you to maintain the human connection and give the client access to your sales pitch on-demand that is easy to digest and that can be shared with other decision-makers.

Another way to do continue the conversation is to invite the gatekeeper out to lunch or dinner.

This gives you a chance to talk and get to know each other on a personal level. It also shows that you’re willing to invest in the relationship. When you’re selecting a restaurant, it’s important to consider your client’s needs and preferences. For example, if they’re vegetarian, you’ll need to find a place that has vegetarian options. You should also try to pick a quiet spot where you can have an uninterrupted conversation. By planning ahead, you can make sure that your meeting is both enjoyable and productive.

Even if they’re not ready to buy right away, continuing to reach out to them and provide value will greatly increase the chance of a sale. However, this is only possible if you have a good B2B sales strategy in place. Without a strategy, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details.

The goal is to keep your company and your products top of mind so that when the time comes to make a decision, the gatekeeper will think of you first. Of course, this isn’t always easy, and it takes a lot of effort and perseverance. But in the end, it’s usually worth it – because the B2B sale is always won on a follow-up!

SALES RUSH - Alex Temelkovski

Watch our previous SALES RUSH episode with Alex Temelkovski.

Alex Temelkovski is a Business Development Manager at TouchBistro. TouchBistro is an all-in-one restaurant management system.

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