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Find Business Decision Makers in a Company for Prospecting

The most compelling offer will still fall flat if you are pitching the wrong person. Or if the person you are pitching has little influence over the budget. 

In other words, failure to recognize who can make budgetary decisions and who can't is bound to waste your sales team's time and resources.

In this article, we're sharing best practices for how to find, identify, and pitch real decision-makers in a business. This ensures that you contact influential buyers first, not discover them later.

Here are 6 ways of finding key decision-makers at a company: 

1. Use sales intelligence

Sales intelligence platforms can save your sales team from days of hounding the wrong prospect. Their advanced company filters, like company size, revenue, business structure, location, industry, and event triggers (funding, hiring, etc.), let you build account lists that fit your ideal customer profile.

Next, you can use contact-related filters to find prospects responsible for making business decisions at a company. With Cognism Prospector, you can narrow down your search by including or excluding various criteria or keywords.

Cognism's Seniority filter is the best way of finding primary decision-makers. Cognism Prospector uses an AI model to analyse relationships between job titles in our dataset to predict seniority levels. As a result, you can filter prospects with a decision-making responsibility in executive leadership roles.

Then getting their contact details (verified cell phone numbers, direct dials, and B2B email addresses) and exporting them to your CRM is a piece of cake.

We interviewed George Elsey, Sales Operations Analyst at Slalom, about his experience of using Cognism to identify business decision-makers: 

2. Research the company's website

Instead of doing manual research on companies' websites, you can use the Cognism Chrome extension to view key account and lead information, such as key decision-makers, company details, and technology stack, without leaving the browser. 👇

Our extension also helps you close multithread sales deals by tapping into your prospect’s coworkers to find other stakeholders.

It is a quick and accurate way of sourcing information about business decision-makers. The alternative is looking at the company's About Us and Leadership pages on the company's website and manually researching its size to gauge the number of probable decision-makers.

3. Research LinkedIn

You can also look at your target company's LinkedIn to determine who is most likely making business decisions in that organization. Research the general company size to gauge the number of probable decision-makers. 

Manually browse relevant job titles to pinpoint potential decision-makers. But don't be overly reliant on job titles since the responsibilities in the role can vary widely based on company size and team structure. 

For example, a VP of Marketing role looks very different at a startup with 30 people and at a large corporation with 5,000 people. 

You can join the same groups as your prospect or use your network to learn more about the organization you're targeting.

4. Track job change triggers

You can track job title change and new hire events to know immediately when a new executive is appointed into a decision-making position at an organization. It means you can start building relationships with them from day one ahead of your competitors. 

These stakeholders will likely decide where to spend 70% of their budget within the first 100 days within that role. So the sooner you get them on a call, the better.

Cognism and other top B2B contact databases that refresh their data allow you to track various sales events, marketing triggers, and technographic data for more context.

5. Intent data

Another good way of finding business decision-makers is to rely on intent data, especially if you're not tracking sales triggers like a job change. Intent data tools monitor online content consumed by individuals working at an organization and their social media engagement activity. The aim is to provide insight into their level of intent.

It lets you identify which individuals are actively researching your products or services. That insight allows your sales team to call that person and qualify them.

Let's consider a decision-maker starting a new role--

First, they check how the organization works and what processes need to be improved. Next, as they do their research, e.g., what software the company needs, intent data providers, gather the data in the background. Before the data is fed to sales reps, the decision-maker has probably already made up their mind as to what tools they need.

That's why tracking sales triggers is a better way of identifying key stakeholders at a company than only relying on intent data. Cognism partners with Bombora to ensure you have access to both sources.

We interviewed Alexander Porter, Senior Business Development & Inside Sales Lead at Devo, about his experience combining Cognism database with intent data to identify purchasing decision-makers:


6. Enrich your prospect list 

No prospect list is perfect on the first try. After you've constructed the first draft of your list of potential decision-makers in a company, spend some time on lead enrichment. This can save your B2B sales team hours wasted on dialing the wrong numbers, speaking to the incorrect person, or even emailing outdated email addresses. 

Take a fine-tooth comb to your prospect list to weed out any inaccurate information, like:

  • Verify all data submitted from internal subscriber forms
  • Check names, email addresses, and phone numbers


What's essential before looking for company decision-makers?

Before you start looking for decision-makers, creating a detailed ideal customer profile is important. It is a semi-fictional description of your target B2B audience based on current customers and relevant market research. This step is essential when dealing with decision makers business, as selling to a North American rep is much different from pitching to a CMO.

Cognism's ICP list builder speeds up the process as it finds the right decision-makers and their contact details based on the domains of your target accounts.

Who are a company's decision-makers?

A company's key decision-makers are the individuals who have the power to make strategic purchasing decisions, like what to buy and at what price. In B2B organizations, they usually hold C-level positions and their decisions impact how their departments operate.

How many decision-makers are there in a business?

The average buying group for a complex business-to-business (B2B) solution involves six to 10 decision-makers, not just one. Understanding who you are selling to—including their pain points and needs—saves time and energy.

Read about ways to sell to multiple decision-makers and budget-holders.

Why is it important to reach B2B buying committee directly?

When you identify key decision-makers in business, you significantly streamline your sales process. That's because you are only targeting individuals who can make purchase decisions. 

What qualifying questions to ask decision-makers?

Even with the appropriate title and ideal customer profile qualities, not every lead you speak with will be a decision-maker for their company. 

This is where qualifying questions come into play since it helps with:

  • What a lead needs to know about a solution
  • How to identify the proper prospect to contact to make a sale.

Several qualifying questions can enable sales teams to pinpoint company decision-makers, such as:

  • Who is the end user of this product?
  • Aside from yourself, who else will be involved in this decision?
  • Are you the only decision-maker or is there a committee involved?
  • What's the typical purchasing process for a product in this category?
  • Aside from your department, what other departments would regularly use the product?
  • Who could I explain this solution to as well that might have a say in the final purchase decision?

5 tips for pitching decision-makers

With a vetted prospect list of decision-makers, you can finally begin pitching. Now that you've worked to identify and find the right individuals, you want your approach to shine.

 Consider these four tips for pitching decision-makers at a company, whether you're cold calling or cold emailing.

1. Learn as much as possible 

Pitch research shouldn't stop once you locate the company's decision-makers. Instead, you should strive to learn as much as possible about the company you'll be pitching to craft a proposal that's hyper-personalized to their unique needs. 

For instance, learning a company has recently completed an international merger or received a round of funding can and should influence your pitch. 

2. Leverage the gatekeeper 

Most decision-makers are guarded by gatekeepers, especially at large companies. Gatekeepers are the employees who stand between sales teams and decision-makers. These individuals can take many forms, from an assistant or a secretary to a junior manager. Take the time to befriend the gatekeeper and ask them your qualifying question to craft the perfect pitch for their boss. 

3. Locate mutual connections

Your sales prospects likely receive dozens if not hundreds of pitches every quarter. One method to cut through the chatter is to use mutual connections to drum up an organic conversation. 

From shared connections on professional networks like LinkedIn to current customers who share educational or professional history with a prospect, harness mutual connections to your advantage. 

4. Automate the tedious stuff 

As a salesperson, you should spend your time talking with key decision-makers. There is a lot of administrative work that needs to be done to get to that point. 

For instance, many tasks on Linkedin can be automated without sacrificing quality, like exporting lead lists to your CRM or scheduling status updates or initial outreach messages. 

💡Here is how to use Cognism's Linkedin Chrome extension view and export lead lists. 

5. Lead with value 

With tons of pitches clogging decision-makers' email inboxes and voicemails, it's always wise to lead a pitch with value. Front-load your pitch with your unique selling proposition to capture buy-in as soon as possible. 

For instance, if you are targeting key decision makers who just started a new role, you can use this Cognism automated workflow to send relevant content to help them in the first 90 days in the new role through outbound email and Linkedin ads. 

💡 See how SaaSLeads booked 80% more demos with Cognism's B2B lead data and email automation functionality.

Not to mention, with some buying groups consisting of multiple decision-makers or more, leading with value allows you to address numerous buyer questions or concerns at once. 

Key takeaways

A pitch without the knowledge of the key decision maker(s) is a pitch without purpose.

When it comes to finding and identifying decision-makers in a business, the key is to do your research first. Just an hour of preparation can save your sales team from hours of misdirected pitching.

Instead of researching the company's decision-makers manually, you can identify the right prospects based on your ideal customer profiles with Cognism sales intelligence platform. 

We give you accurate mobile phone numbers and B2B emails of decision-makers you want to do business with globally and locally. 

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