Sales POP - Purveyors of Propserity
Sales Account Management: Prospect Decision-Making Process
Blog / Entrepreneurs / Jan 4, 2014 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 9267

Sales Account Management: Prospect Decision-Making Process


Part of fully evaluating an opportunity is gaining a clear understanding of your prospect company’s decision-making process. On a broader scale, it is an integral and vitally important part of sales key account management.

Sometimes the decision-making process is simple; for example, in smaller companies, the purchase approval might be signed off by one person and it’s done. Generally the larger the company, the more complex the approval. Some companies even require approval from a home office thousands of miles from the site you’re dealing with.

As you’ll see (and as perhaps you already know) the decision-making process can go deeper than at first apparent. Time spent on really finding out about it can save untold time and effort trying to push a sale through the sales cycle with partial information.

#1: Find Out Up Front

Right near the beginning of the sales cycle, you should discover what the company’s formal decision-making process is, and keep track of it. Find out which people are involved, with names and job titles wherever possible. As part of this, you should discover the “top dog”—the person who actually has the power to approve or veto the purchase.

#2: Informal Criteria

Once you’ve discovered the formal process, then dig in a bit with your contact and find out about any informal decision criteria. For example, it can happen that the CEO likes to see and pass on any major company purchases, but isn’t actually part of the formal process. Or the CFO, who is the final decision-maker, likes to run it past relevant department heads even though they’re technically not a part of the process.

If not checked, this is a point where sales account management and opportunity evaluation can go awry. You (and of course your sales management) keep wondering what is holding up the process, and start to worry that the sale isn’t happening—when all that’s occurring is some informal behind-the-scenes process that you weren’t aware of.

#3: Motivation

As you’re researching the decision-making process, try and discover what motivates each of the people along that line. One of them might always examine a potential purchase with an eye to saving the company money; another might be motivated by making employees’ jobs easier; yet another might always count on the opinion of another executive in the company.

Knowing these various motivations will allow you to coach your initial contact to push the purchase through the various personnel. Or if you are allowed to contact any of these people directly, you will know what kind of things to drop into the conversation.

#4: Access to Decision Makers

As you gather this information, you should find out which of these decision makers you will be allowed to directly contact. Much of the time a company doesn’t allow an outside salesperson to speak directly with various decision makers, and you will be working and coaching one person in selling each of these people. Other times you might be able to contact one or two of them.

One way around the “no contact” rule is to schedule a live demonstration either physically at the company or through the web. Get the decision makers to attend. Even if you won’t be allowed to speak directly with them, you can still make your pitch in a way that they will receive it.

Free Opportunity Qualifier Tool

As part of our free Opportunity Evaluation Toolkit, you will receive a tool that walks you through each of the steps above, in detail. You will be able to track each piece of information for each deal you are working, and be able to refer back to it as the sales cycle progresses.

This kind of information should be made an integral part of your sales process, and your CRM solution. That way it is sharable by any other salespeople who might be involved, as well as sales management.

Sales account management must always include the details of the prospect company’s decision-making process. Know before you go—and close a higher percentage of sales on time.

Click here to download your free opportunity evaluation tool.

About Author

CEO and partner of and the uptime ITechnologies, which I founded in 1994 and has since played a significant role in the development of the IT-environment. pipeliner is the most innovative sales CRM management solution on the market. Pipeliner was designed by sales professionals for sales professionals and helps close the gap between the requirements of C-level executives for transparency and the day-to-day operational needs of field and inside sales. I am also the founder and Initiator of the independent economic platform GO-AHEAD!, which orientates itself on the principles of a free marketplace in terms of liberal and social responsibility. Connecting people, the trust of business leadership in terms of values such as freedom, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurial spirit, and strengthening their awareness in order to create a dynamic boost within the economy triggered through spontaneity, all stand for the initial ideas surrounding GO-AHEAD! I studied in Los Angeles and Vienna and received my Masters's Degree in 1994. I am married and have 3 children My Specialties are in: Sales Management, Sales CRM Software, CRM Cloud Solutions, SAAS, Business Strategy, Software Development, "Pipeline Management", Social responsibility, outbound sales, b2b sales, inside sales, sales strategy, lead generation, sales process, entrepreneurship, coaching, mentoring, speaker, opportunity management, lead management, Austrian School of Economics

Author's Publications on Amazon

This is a practical manual covering the vital subject of Sales Management. I firmly believe that sales are the most important profession for dealing with today’s turbulent world and Econo my, for salespeople create wealth and produce peace. But salespeople need a competent, stable leader—and…
Buy on Amazon
Inside this eBook, you’ll discover a series of chapters dedicated to some of the most important areas facing sales today. From the sales process definition to measurement, lead generation, and proven sales techniques, this comprehensive eBook will provide you with the information you need to…
Buy on Amazon
A common term in sales today is EQ, which stands for “emotional I.Q.” It means the skill a salesperson has in reading emotions and utilizing them in sales. It means empathy and a number of other abilities. The short version is, it’s an I.Q. when…
Buy on Amazon
People are smart to question the future of automation, for it has become part of everything we do. With the quantity of applications and technology around us, we yet still crave more. We become convinced of its power when our package is delivered from Amazon…
Buy on Amazon
Sales management isn’t a simple subject by any means. But at the same time, it does have some basic and somewhat simple fundamentals—and that is what we are bringing to you with this book. First come pain points of sales management, and how to overcome…
Buy on Amazon
Today the Internet has transformed a seller's market into a buyer's market and author Nikolaus Kimla states that the role of sales has never been more crucial. It is now time to give salespeople the role they factually can play: entrepreneurs within the enterprise. They…
Buy on Amazon
This is our public declaration of the intentions behind Pipeliner, and our objectives and motives for the product and for our company. Behind the development of that CRM application and, in fact, behind everything we do, we have a real cause. The story begins with…
Buy on Amazon
For the future, there must be a perfect balance of humans and technology. You have to have the perfect technology, andthen the perfect human being in application, performance and presentation. Today and into the future, it’s a 50-50 balance. In the past it was perhaps…
Buy on Amazon
The salespreneur is based on the concept of the entrepreneur. Before we can explain the salespreneur, you have to have some understanding of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur plays a crucial role in any economic system. The entrepreneur seeks out information that can be utilized for…
Buy on Amazon
A seasoned captain would never leave port without a competent navigator. In a similar way, a sales manager might be a total ace at "commanding the ship" – at inspiring and coaching sales reps, pointing out and getting agreement on making quotas, and keeping everyone's…
Buy on Amazon
This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. For information on cookies and how you can disable them, visit our privacy and cookie policy.