October 8, 2021

Decision-maker - Anatomy of a Target Business

Erica Mackay

If you are marketing to a specific customer – your John or Jane – then you are trying to design a marketing strategy that will appeal to that specific individual and others like them.

The temptation when targeting a whole business is to treat them the same way – as a singular entity - when, in fact, a business is typically formed of a whole group of individuals with different roles, characteristics and drivers. 

It’s always worthwhile to pay close attention to the inner workings of an organisation and to think about who, within the business, will need to buy into your proposition.

For example, marketing business-to-business (or B2B, as it is informally known) means that at some point, you will be tasked with convincing the relevant decision-maker that your offering is worth the expense.

Put simply, for a sale to take place, your offering is going to have to tickle the fancy of someone high up the chain… your high-end executives, department heads and so on and so forth of the world.

We’re talking about the main decision-makers; the people that, quite simply, call the shots.

These are the people who will officially need to sign off on purchasing your organisation’s product or acquiring your services.

It’s important to remember, however, that organisations can have more than one decision-maker, and which one, or ones, are relevant to you will likely be determined by the product or service you are trying to sell.

For example, it makes absolutely no sense targeting the head of a multinational organisation if you’re selling staples or printer ink, right?

You’d have far more luck with someone further down the food chain like, say, the head of the department responsible for office supplies. 

Also, businesses can have a considerable employee base; an employee base that could become disgruntled if they don’t agree that a particular product or service will meet a genuine need.

So this advice comes with a health warning - targeting the decision maker is sensible, but don’t forget to keep in mind all the people who will need to get behind the decision! 

Where there is more than one person involved in the decision making process, you will want to factor this into your marketing approach.

Here’s a few questions to get you thinking…

·       What is the organisation’s decision-making process for the type of product/service I am trying to sell?

·       Does the business owner make decisions independently?

·       How involved are employees and high-ranking members of the organisation in the decision-making process?

·       If there are multiple players involved in the decision-making process… do they all carry the same level of influence?

In short, it’s important to figure out who exactly the main decision-maker(s) is in the company structure.

If you can work that out, you can begin to dig into what drives them, what they care about and, therefore, what will resonate.

Meaning that you can finetune your marketing strategy and present your offering in such a way that appeals to them. 

So, take our advice and make sure you know who at your target business holds the power to give the final thumbs-up or, perish the thought, thumbs-down.

Want more? Read last week's blog 'Size - Anatomy of a Target Business'