TalentZoo.com |  Flack Me |  Digital Pivot |  Beneath the Brand Archives  |  Categories
Know The Influencers
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
Bookmark and Share Subscribe to the Beyond Madison Avenue RSS Feed Share
Let's say you had a great initial meeting with a potential client. The pitch session comes, and the people in there love it. You approach them to talk about the account or project details and when work could begin, and lo and behold, the people in there want to wait until they talk to a few others in the company.

In some cases, the brand's marketing team doesn't want to make the decision until they talk to someone; in others it could be as high as the CMO or president or founder of the company who wants additional feedback before a final decision. The point is, sometimes in organizations, the decision-maker isn't always the person (or people) you need to talk to when trying to win business. In the business development world, people are labeled "decision-makers," "influencers," "gatekeepers," and the like. All roles are important to know. You can't get into the door or have a conversation with the right person unless you spot the gatekeepers. A project or account cannot be won unless the decision-maker gives the okay.

But both those roles rely on the advice of the Influencer.

What does the Influencer actually do? They may not be in the C-Suite, or even in the marketing department. They could be a receptionist, an accountant, or someone else. They are a person whose opinion is taken seriously to the point where decision-makers up and down ladder may ask them to sit in on meetings or look at documents before they make a decision. Influencers may have authority, but in many cases they have pieces of knowledge that fill the gap that decision-makers cannot.

How do you spot influencers? The easiest way is to ask, "Are they people in the meeting the ones making the ultimate decision?" There's never any harm in being direct. If they value your time, then hopefully the answer is yes. On a more subtle note, you can see which people come to the meetings and weed out the ones who don't fit the mold: the marketing team, marketing executive, executives, or organizational role. If you have a meeting, and for some reason the VP of Engineering is in there, chances are you spotted the influencer.

Lastly, what do you do when you spot the Influencer? It is then your job to not only make sure the decision-maker wants to say yes, you must work to get the Influencer to push the decision-maker to say yes.

Easy enough?

Of course, for your account or BizDev team, it's an uphill battle. But keying in on those people who help make the decisions, directly or indirectly, can help your team win the account.


Bookmark and Share Subscribe to the Beyond Madison Avenue RSS Feed Share
blog comments powered by Disqus
About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
Beyond Madison Avenue on

Advertise on Beyond Madison Avenue
Return to Top