Now more than ever, people are connected to and reliant on their phones. But that hasn't made it easier to connect with prospects. In fact, with remote work now a standard for many businesses and cell phones replacing office phones, sellers face a new challenge: prospects are at their desks less frequently, rely more on cellphone numbers, and use technology to screen more calls. As a result, more reps find that gatekeepers and influencers can be one of the best ways to get on the decision maker's calendar.
In this article, we'll show you three ways you can successfully navigate gatekeepers to break-into challenging accounts.
Turn Gatekeepers into Your Ally
Most sellers think of a gatekeeper as an obstacle. Instead, shift your mindset and work to approach them as your entryway into the account. Technology purchase cycles are long and complicated and often involve upwards of seven people before the final decision. It's possible the person you've flagged as just a "gatekeeper" could be a critical member of the buying team, responsible for research and shortlisting. Getting them on your side early on is a great way to increase your chances of success down the line. Here are some tips for winning over gatekeepers when you get them on the phone:
- Know their business and how they operate: Come prepared with discovery questions that tie to their needs and have a plan before you call. Do your research so you know everything you possibly can about the account and the person, including general business operations, the technology they currently have installed, personal interests, and the topics and pain points they have been researching.
- Have your ask ready: Come into the call prepared to be introduced to not only the gatekeeper's boss but any other member of the buying team. Use Priority Engine to search for other relevant contacts and be prepared to drop those names on the call. Ask specifically to speak with those people by saying: "Could you help connect me with _______, as well please?" instead of "Who is the best person to speak with regarding _______?" Bring the decision-makers into the conversation early.
- Establish credibility and need: The gatekeeper may not be the final decision-maker, but they're the person connecting you to someone with purchasing power. Make your call personable and relatable so they feel you are a credible caller who can provide value. Save the full pitch for the decision-maker but prove to the gatekeeper that you can solve the business's problems and are worthy of connecting with their boss or colleague. Leverage Priority Engine to understand the challenges the account is facing and reference these points on the call.
Get Creative with Your Outreach and Be Persistent
Follow-up is an integral part of getting through to the decision-maker and ultimately closing deals. Keep in mind that the gatekeeper's job is to let the right people speak to their boss and steer the wrong people away. On average, sales require at least five follow-ups after the first contact, and almost half of all sellers give up after one¹. It may take a few tries to sell the gatekeeper on letting you speak to their boss, just as it may take some time to sell the buyer on your product.
Ways to enhance your sales cadence on top of dialing:
- Leave voicemails and pique their interest: Many sellers underestimate the importance of leaving a trail. Often your prospects are busy when you call, so personalize your voicemails with Priority Engine and get them interested and you'll have a higher probability of getting a callback.
Pro Tip: Watch this video to learn how to use Priority Engine to personalize your outreach without sounding "creepy" or turning prospects off to your pitch.
- Customize your emails: Work Account or Prospect Insights into your emails to convince the gatekeeper you're informed and can help them solve a relevant problem. You can use research areas or entry points in your subject line to grab their attention.
- Include the buying team: Look up the buying team's emails in Priority Engine and CC them when sending an email. This may give the gatekeeper the motivation to respond, or better yet, someone with buying power will reply.
- Get creative and mix up your approach: Email is a must, but other forms of outreach can be used to get the gatekeeper's attention, such as LinkedIn InMail or sending a handwritten note or gift. Call at different times throughout the day and week when the gatekeeper may be on a lunch break, gone for the day, or not expecting a sales call.
Discover an Alternate Route to the Decision-Maker
You always have alternative routes to pursue if you're not making progress with a specific gatekeeper. Remember, not every decision-maker has a senior title, and there are multiple opportunities to get your foot in the door when you contact everyone on the buying team.
Avoid making the common mistake of putting all your time and energy into trying to reach one person. Instead, work all prospects researching your entry points to ensure success. Priority Engine gives you the contact information for the entire active buying team - use this to your advantage.