How to Reach Decision Makers

The problem with new business

How to reach decision makers is one of the most frustrating aspects of outbound lead generation for agency new business as well as one of the most fundamental aspects of it. What we in the B2B sales agency world call ‘access’. That is, managing to get a CMO (for example) to take your telephone call and listen to what you have to say.

It is indeed, one of the main reasons why marketing communications firms use outsourced new business agencies.

The MD of the agency understands that it is best for them (if they are a small or medium sized agency) to attend the meetings, but don’t have the time to do any cold calling themselves and can’t find a new business manager who is happy with undertaking that role.

The most fundamental thing that I think we all agree on is that it is easier to get them to take the call if you have a great offer they cannot ignore or they already know you. But for the sake of this article, let’s pretend, just for ten minutes, that you are ‘average’ (not that you are of course, no no no …).

There are in here, some ‘dubious’ practices that I wouldn’t recommend. But if you’re DESPERATE and your agency is PERFECT for them. And they’re reviewing. And you’ve tried EVERYTHING else, then, well, you might give them a go. Just the once. So, here goes.

1) Sequential Extensions

IT departments and telecom engineers are, by their very nature, organised and like things to be neat and tidy. So, when putting in extensions, they usually do so sequentially. The assistant to the CMO usually sits pretty close to her boss. So this is what you do. Call up and ask to speak to the PA to the CMO. Explain to her that you have a document you want to send to the CMO; say that is is quite important so you’d like to call her back to check it has arrived. Ask for HER direct line. She is usually perfectly happy to give it you. You can bet your bottom dollar that the CMO’s is either one or two digits either way of her DL.

2) The Mobile Cut Off

Call the CMO from your mobile phone, if you get her voice mail, use this script … “Hello, Mary. This is John Smith my number is 01973 305163, I’ll repeat that. John Smith. 01973 305163. I need to speak to you about …” and cut the call. When she calls back, thank her for returning your call and continue as if nothing had happened. “thanks for returning my call. Yes, as I said, I need to speak to you about how we have helped …” and pitch your proposition.

If she says anything about the call being cut off, play confused and say it sounded fine from where you were so maybe it was a problem with reception from where you were calling.

3) The Chairman’s PA Route

Get the name of the Chairman. Call reception and ask to be put through to “The office of Sir Alfonse Dunsbury”. You always get put through and will speak to one of his many assistants or PA’s. PA – “Sir Alfonse Dunsbury’s office?” You, sounding important, friendly, but distracted – “Oh yes, John Smithers please, let him know it’s Alan Jones.” PA – “I’m sorry, you’ve come through to the Chairman’s office”.

You, sounding slightly, irritated and/or amused – “Oh! Your reception put me through to wrong office! Could you kindly transfer me to John so I don’t have to call back, I’m in a bit of a rush”. She usually puts you through. John Smithers sees he has a call coming through from the Chairman’s office and takes it, of course. And he isn’t going to refuse to take the call when the Chairman’s PA tells him she has a call for him now is he? What’s he going to do, ask her to get rid of you? She’s further up the pecking order than that. So he speaks with you.