In a recent article, I wrote about the four influencers in a B2B sale. I then wrote an article about the Financial Influencer and an article on the User Influencer. In this article I want to focus on the Gatekeepers. As a quick review, here are the four influencers again.
1. The Financial Influencer(s)
2. The User Influencers
3. The Gatekeeper(s)
4. Your Champion or Sponsor
This week we will focus on the gatekeepers.
The gatekeeper can also be referred to as the technical buying influence. The role of the gatekeeper is to screen out or block your proposal. They are there to ensure you meet the many technical requirements most companies want. There are many groups who may be gatekeepers.
They may include the following.
· The finance department
· The legal group – may be inside and/or outside the company
· Human resources
· The IT department
As you can see, depending on the technical and financial influence of your product and service, there are many groups that can be involved. Also, the impact your proposal has on their organization will determine how many of the above groups will get involved.
These people generally will only be involved for a short time, and then not be involved at all after your proposal has been accepted.
The keys for these groups are the following.
· They judge the measurable and quantifiable aspects of your proposal.
· They are mostly box tickers. They have certain specifications that have been set up beforehand, and they tick off whether you meet those specifications or not.
· They can and will make recommendations
· They cannot say yes, but they can say no, and their vote carries quite a bit of weight.
The users often develop many of the specifications for a proposal. This group acts as the gatekeepers to ensure you have met those specifications. You need to understand who these groups are. It is often difficult to get to know them personally, because they are usually only involved for a short time during the proposal phase.
The key to this group is understanding that they are usually part of any proposal that will alter the way your prospect will do business, because of your proposal. However, you need to be aware of their influence, and if possible make every effort to meet and understand how they operate during the decision cycle.