The larger the organization, the harder it is usually to find the right contact person within the company. In this article, I will explain how to find this needle in the haystack and how to contact you successfully.
One of the biggest obstacles to acquiring new customers is finding the right person within an organization. No matter how good your pitch to your ideal client is, if you speak to the wrong person, you’re wasting your own and that person’s time.
That’s why it’s important to put extra time into finding the right person. I help you with a thorough step-by-step plan and give you tips on what to look out for when you make the first contact.
Before you get started on finding the right decision maker, it is important to go through the following steps:
- Make your proposition clear
- Create a persona for your decision maker
- Research the company
- Also, think of influencers
Make your proposition clear
Before you even search your contact’s phone number, pick up the phone or type the first words of your email, make sure your proposition is clear. What value can you offer to potential customers?
Write down, among other things, what benefits your product or service offers, which problems it solves and how it distinguishes itself from the competition.
Create a persona for your decision maker
Just like you draw up a buyer persona for your ideal customer, I recommend that you create a persona for your decision maker. With this persona, you make clear to yourself which characteristics of a decision maker are important to you. Think of:
- Job title
- Responsible for the budget or empowered to make purchasing decisions
- Drawing up and/or executing the strategy
- How many years someone has been working at the company and/or the experience in the position.
Research the company
Finding the right contact person depends first of all on the size of the organization. In smaller companies, purchasing decisions are often made by the owner or the director, while in larger organizations, a department head or someone who monitors budgets is often responsible.
You are therefore mainly looking for the decision maker, also known as the Decision Making Unit (DMU).
In this, it is important to find a DMU who works as high as possible in the organization, because he or she is most likely to be responsible for the purchase of a product or service. If that is not the case, this person can often refer you to the right decision maker within the organization. Moreover, this person is aware of you, should the decision maker still turn to him or her for approval.
Note that job titles can differ per company and it is therefore not always worthwhile to focus on them. Therefore, first, investigate the company itself. The first step in this is by looking at the company size:
- 0-10 employees: The owner almost always makes the decision, unless there are co-founders such as a CTO or technical director, CMO or marketing director.
- 10-500 employees: Within these organizations, there are often specific roles such as Business Development Manager, Sales or Marketing manager who make the decision.
- More than 500 employees: Decision makers often fulfill region-specific roles such as Marketing Manager EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) or Sales Manager DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).
Also, think of influencers
The decision maker is the most important person to find out but is not always the one who is fully responsible for the decision. Often the decision maker is influenced by people inside and outside the organization. Think, for example, of team members who give their opinion.
It is therefore important to also find and convince these influencers of your product or service so that they will recommend you during the purchase process.
Often these influencers are easier to find because they are people who immediately get started with your product or service. Although they do not make the final decision, they do influence the decision-maker.
How do you find the decision maker and influencers?
The next step is to find the decision maker and influencers within the organization. You can find them by taking the following steps:
Step 1: Start with the website
On the company’s website, you will often find the responsible persons on the ‘about us’ or ‘team’ page. This is especially true for SMEs. Furthermore, news or press releases often include quotes from board members or other responsible parties.
You will also sometimes find links to social media profiles on the team page, where you will find more background information about your decision maker or influencer.
Step 2: Search Google
Another way to find the decision maker is to consult search engines such as Google. Search for the company name in combination with the specific function.
Step 3: Use LinkedIn
On LinkedIn, more and more companies have a profile, where you can also find the people who work or have worked at the company. It clearly shows how big the company is and what job descriptions they use. Then see which people join your buyer persona for your decision maker.
LinkedIn is an excellent way to learn more about your decision maker. On the profile page, you will find valuable information about, for example, the job title of the person, how long he has been working for the company, and which positions have been held for this.
Shortest way: Find possible contacts via Online Success
Via the Dashboard of Online Success, you can see which companies have visited your website. The software provides suggestions via the Possible Contacts block which people are relevant, including a link to the LinkedIn profile of the person concerned. This way you quickly know who you can best approach.
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Find out contact details
Now that you know who you want to reach within the organization, you need their contact details.
The general telephone number and e-mail address can easily be found via the company’s website or in the Online Success dashboard. In some cases, there is also an 06 number.
There are several possibilities to find out the personal e-mail address of someone. The first step is via Google, for example, to search for your contact person in combination with the word ‘e-mail’ or ’email’.
Another way to find out the email address is to find the pattern on the basis of which the email addresses are built within the company. You can do this by searching in Google for: “@website.nl” followed by e-mail or email. Suppose the e-mail address consists of an initial, a period and the last name, then you can compose the e-mail address of your contact person yourself.
There are also several tools to find out the email address. One of the most used is Hunter.io, where you get 25 free searches per month.
Alternatives to Hunter.io include Anymail Finder, FindEmails, and NinjaOutreach.
Now that you know who to contact and how best to reach them, the next step is to actually get in touch with them. Simply, there are three possibilities:
- By e-mail
- Via social media
I advise you to first make contact with your decision maker or influencer via social media. This way it is no longer a ‘cold conversation’ as soon as you start a conversation. In B2B, LinkedIn is often the best platform for this.
Warmer contact via a common LinkedIn connection
Search the LinkedIn profile of your decision maker and see if your contact person has common connections. If that’s the case, ask for an introduction from that person so you don’t start the conversation “coldly” with your contact person.
Or indicate to your contact person who your common connection is. This creates a bond and a reason to continue the conversation. Perhaps you have worked together on a project together with this common connection, for example, so that your contact person can ask him or her how that went and possibly make a recommendation.
Contact by e-mail
Due to the GDPR and GDPR, a few things have changed in email marketing. The collection of e-mail addresses falls under the heading of personal data.
For customers, you may store their personal data, because you need it to communicate with them. For potential customers, you may store the personal data if they have given permission to do so, for example, because they want to be kept informed.
You may then only use personal data for the purpose for which you obtained it. So if the person in question has given permission for a specific newsletter, do not also send other newsletters.
Follow these rules when contacting us by email:
- Send a personal e-mail
- Don’t create a formatted marketing message
- Always ask permission in your first email
- Always offer an opt-out in your message
- If necessary, name the legitimate interest
- Store email addresses securely
Also, check out these tips from Charlotte’s Law.
Please note that since 1 July the amendment to the Telecommunications Act has entered into force. As a result, you must have prior permission from a natural person to be able to contact them by telephone, or it must be an existing customer relationship. Natural persons are consumers or legal business forms such as a sole proprietorship, VOF, partnership or CV.
Finding the right contact person starts with a thorough investigation into your own proposition and who exactly you are looking for. Then you go through the website of the company, Google, and social media to look for the decision maker and/or influencer.
If you have found this person, I advise you to first make contact via social media, in order to make the contact warmer. After that, it’s time to pick up the phone or write an email and start the conversation. Make sure that you have permission from that person to contact us. Good luck!