The B2B sales process isn’t easy. It’s highly competitive and rife with pitfalls that can kill your sales process dead in its tracks. But skilled salespeople know how to avoid many of the most common traps – and how to break through gatekeepers. They’ve learned how to navigate the various hurdles that can arise while pursuing a B2B sale and manage to convert their prospects into paying clients.
However, you won’t get the chance to start your B2B sales process if you are stopped by a gatekeeper before you speak with an organization’s key members and decision-makers. Many prospects have been lost because of this.
Don’t accept these hurdles as failures and move on to the next prospect. Instead, hone your process with the following strategies to better break through gatekeepers and pitch directly to important decision-makers.
Let’s get on the same page. If you’re not already familiar, the gatekeeping definition is someone who has – and can grant – access to certain places, information, or people.
In the business landscape, it’s someone who filters unwanted traffic from getting through to the most important people in an organization. Companies find it valuable to place someone in this role because it allows those who do the most for a business to remain focused on pressing tasks. Without a gatekeeper, a company’s decision-makers quickly become overwhelmed fielding incoming pitches and information.
This means that gatekeepers wield tremendous power over the B2B sales process. They get to choose who pitches their products and services to those in the organization who actually make the purchasing decision.
6 Strategies for Getting Past a Company’s Gatekeepers
Get a gameplan in order. Your company’s ability to do this consistently will play a large role in determining the rate at which it’s able to convert leads into paying customers. With that in mind, here are six strategies you can implement now to break through gatekeepers.
Treat gatekeepers with respect
Nearly 80% of Americans say that the nation has a respect problem. They believe that, as a country, we’ve lost our courteousness and tend to treat others worse than how we’ve treated them in the past.
If you’re trying to sell a product or service to a company, you can’t afford to be disrespectful to anyone in that organization — especially the gatekeeper. There are several things that you’ll want to do to ensure that you don’t come across as disrespectful.
First, be sure that you never dismiss the concerns that a gatekeeper may express about your sales efforts. Treat every issue they identify as though it were a valid point — even if you believe otherwise. Instead of glossing over concerns they might express, take some time to explain your thoughts and reasoning.
Additionally, a bit of kindness will go a long way. Make sure you express your appreciation for the assistance a gatekeeper provides. Being polite and following up with a ‘thank-you’ email where necessary is a no-cost, low-effort way to express your gratitude.
Try another avenue
There’s more than one way to contact an organization. If the method that you’ve used ends with one gatekeeper, try another one. They’re simply doing their job by not forwarding you to a decision-maker. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to reach out altogether.
If you’ve been calling, try sending an email. Or, give inMail a chance and try to connect to a decision-maker via their LinkedIn profile. You can even reach out to prospects via their social media accounts in certain cases.
Ultimately, the idea here is to get creative about how you approach a business. Your goal should be to reach a C-level executive who can provide you with a referral. Having a referral will almost guarantee that you get some face-time with someone who can make a decision.
Be inclusive, rather than exclusive
No one wants to be reduced to an obstacle — not even a gatekeeper whose job it is to be exactly that. Yet many salespeople speak to gatekeepers as if they have little value outside of their role in determining who you get to speak with.
You’ll make a good impression and better your chances if you loop them into your sales efforts and recognize the value they’re providing. If you’re directed to email someone else, copy all relevant parties in your email. If you’re told to call back, ask for additional information that will make the callback easier for you. For example, you can ask when the best time to call is or for tips about the person they want you to contact.
Including a gatekeeper in your efforts, instead of circumnavigating the chain-of-command, will increase their likelihood of investing in your efforts. Keep this top-of-mind when finding ways to break through gatekeepers.
Practice makes perfect
Nobody becomes a master of B2B sales overnight. If you find that you’re continually failing to make it past an organization’s gatekeepers, make sure that you’re spending some time working on improving your cold call skills.
There are several ways to go about doing this. One of which is to scenario-plan – draft a script of what you’ll say and anticipate some of the responses you might receive. Practice reading through – and then memorizing – some effective responses to have at the ready. Record your recitation and listen back once you’re done. Assess the effectiveness of what you say, how you say it, and what you lead with. Chances are, you’ll find opportunities for improvement that can help you start getting more out of your B2B phonecalls.
Email or call to schedule before or after hours
Most employees who have risen to the level of decision-maker either get into the office early or stay late. If you’ve struggled to get through to them during normal business hours, it’s likely they’re too busy during this time to respond to your inquiries.
A decision-maker may be more likely to answer their phone or return your email if you contact them outside of normal business hours when they’re not as busy with other tasks. That said, be mindful and respectful of their time – keep messages brief, and if you have to call or leave a message, use it to schedule a time during work hours.
Prepare when pitching decision-makers
Gatekeepers field an innumerable amount of calls from people who want to sell their company products or services. You need to stand out from the dozens of other calls that they’ve received that day if you want to make it to a decision-maker.
The best way to do that is by doing your research. Before you call, you should have a great understanding of what the company’s all about. Research how they describe themselves on their website and read through any recent press articles.
Spend some time learning about the decision-maker you hope to speak with. LinkedIn pages are great for this. You can check out their interests and the work they’ve done in the past. Reach out to mutual contacts for background, if applicable, and utilize the information to make a more targeted pitch to the gatekeeper you speak with.
Put your learned intel to use. Mention something you’ve learned about the company or the decision-maker you’re hoping to get in touch with when you call. You can even mention a similarity or shared contacts. Doing so is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from the other salespeople they speak to day-to-day.
LeadLander Can Help You Prepare
Everybody has access to the same online information about companies and their decision-makers. If you really want to stand out from other salespeople, then using a tool like LeadLander can make it happen.
Our platform will identify who is visiting your website, when, and what pages they’re looking at. This last piece can be especially helpful in your efforts to break through gatekeepers.
Our tool can let you know when company stakeholders visit one of your web pages. Use those insights to guide your research, get through gatekeepers, and pitch.
Ultimately, the more prepared that you are when getting through gatekeepers, the likelier they are to allow you to speak with a decision-maker. In that sense, being prepared could be the key to unlocking your company’s B2B sales efforts.
LeadLander makes it easy to prepare for your B2B sales process. Our platform will provide you with all of the information that you need to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression on the organizations you pitch to.
We’re currently offering a free 14-day trial, which you can sign up for without a credit card. Visit us online to get started.