Focus Your Demand Generation Strategy on the Right Titles

By Danielle Azzara, Senior Vice President of Demand Generation


While demand generation has changed dramatically in the last several years, one thing that hasn’t changed for everyone is the focus on “decision maker” titles. We still hear from some of our customers that they only want Director or VP-level leads.

I understand the appeal, but the selection committee for most buying decisions is getting bigger, with buying groups being composed of up to ten people on average (Gartner). When using intent (as I hope you are!), many of these organizations are still in the research stage. The person who does the research that indicates intent is not the same as the person who signs the PO. Unlike Executives, Staff and Manager level committee members are also more likely to engage in other research activities such as accepting an offer for a whitepaper through cold outreach.

We made over 28 million phone calls on behalf of our clients this past year, and what we consistently see across departments and industries is that it’s easier to get Staff and Managers on the phone. Connection and engagement rates are highest for lower level titles, which is where most demand generation programs miss out by targeting executives only. By solely focusing on higher level titles, marketers are overlooking the easiest way to break into the buying committee.

An unsurprising stat from our 28 million calls: 8.3% of call attempts are stymied by a gatekeeper. To overcome the gatekeeper roadblock, we advocate for account penetration tactics. Go in at the Staff and Manager level and gather valuable intelligence from the people who are proven to be easier to reach, and also more likely to talk to strangers.

This arms your team with relevant information they can use in their efforts to reach higher levels within the organization. Instead of leading the initial outreach to an executive with how your organization can generically help solve a business problem, increase your chance of success by using the intelligence gathered from lower level conversations. This allows you to craft a message that talks about specific pain points that you know the executive “decision maker” needs to solve.

And for those using target account lists that aren’t based on intent, this is even more critical. Just because you want to sell to those organizations, doesn’t mean they want to buy from you. If your organization has prioritized those accounts, the team tasked with penetrating them needs to be tenacious! The more information they can take into a conversation, the higher their chances of a successful conversion.

An SDR can’t passively wait for the executive who will end up signing a PO to answer the phone and respond to a cold content offer, and then get passed as a lead sourced from their marketing team. Use today’s bigger buying committees – and the resulting Staff and Manager leads – to your advantage. While it may take longer to move up the buying committee chain, you’ll be better prepared for success when you make your way to the executive level.

Originally published on LinkedIn on February 1, 2022.

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