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Who Is At Your Buyers Table?

iStock_000014835103_Double-TargetThe secret to any successful marketing campaign is to reach out in the right way, with the right information, to the right people. You have developed all your marketing materials and have your sales staff all ginned up to sell, but do you know who is actually at your buyer’s table? If you are focusing your efforts on the wrong businesses, job titles or influential individuals, you might as well be hurling your marketing money out the window.

So how do you know your targeting the right person?

Not only should you perform some legwork to discover who a buyer might be, but you should also seek out those positions that are likeliest to influence the actual buyers. Times have changed and this is not your father’s business world. With transformations brought on by technology, an increased awareness in the environment and the trend in corporate consolidation, job titles may be vastly different from what they were just 3 years ago and may vary between industries and sub-industries as well. In addition, new job titles have been created for which there was no comparable position in the past.

For example, a chief innovation officer or CIO is a job title attributed to the late 1990’s book, “Fourth Generation R&D: Managing Knowledge, Technology, and Innovation.” The authors described this position as a senior officer whose job description would incorporate the vast and varied components of a business’ innovation process. What once may have been considered a novel idea is now a significant position that Forbes magazine says every company should have and industry leaders such as Coca Cola and Owens Corning employ as members of their leadership teams. To complicate things even more a CIO is also commonly referred to as the Chief Information Officer in a company.

Regardless of which CIO you are targeting, the CIO may or may not be considered the primary buyer. However, the individuals in this position are likely to be highly influential towards those who are responsible for purchases. This is especially true for new, advanced or groundbreaking products or services, as a CIO may be more likely to see the potential value in what you are offering.

Building a comprehensive list of Job title is next to impossible.

Finding a comprehensive listing of job titles that are either responsible for, or highly instrumental in, the purchasing decisions for a business is next to impossible. Industries and specific businesses have unique positions and occupations that are constantly evolving, causing perpetual modifications to both job descriptions and their titles. Some titles are relatively standard, however, and if nothing else, they can provide a starting point for your research.

For example, most positions with the words buyer, purchasing or planner in their title have some role in a business’ purchases, but make sure the buyer you contact is in line with what you are offering. Consider other positions that might be influential even though they do not have the power to approve purchases, as well. Specifically, think about your product or service and then analyze who your actual end users are. For instance, IT Managers typically participate in tech-related purchases; Office Managers may have substantial input regarding office-related product and service expenditures.

Perhaps one of the best ways to pinpoint influential people is to ask. When you make contact with a potential customer, find out who would be the person to seek for future interactions. As you cultivate your marketing procedures, expand your customer base and connect with a growing number of leads, you will begin to gain a better insight into the job titles that are most likely to be involved in purchasing, particularly within your target industries.

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