Types Of Decision Makers & How To Recognize Them

Recognize the right decision maker to tailor your approach.
decision makr cover photo
The key people you want to reach as a salesperson?

Decision makers.

Corresponding with anyone in a startup successfully and positively is a win, but it's only a win if it leads to an eventual sale.

In this article, we'll go over the different types of decision makers you'll run into, and how to recognize them to quickly make that sale.

Read on!

What is a Decision Maker?

A decision maker is a person, figure, or role in a company with the final say and deciding vote on acquisitions, expansions, or investments. It is up to them to decide whether to actually buy what you, as a salesperson are selling.

If you cannot convince them in particular, you will never make the sale.

In the world of B2B sales, decision makers will usually hold a C-suite level title, as they are the ones that can metaphorically "sign the check" without needing approvals from others. It is why at SalesPipe we focus on C-suite level personas or VPs.

Because these are the people who will actually influence you to make that sale.

Why Decision Makers Are Important

It's quite obvious, then, why decision makers are so important for SDRs to recognize and charm.

When you're in the world of sales, especially in B2B, and you're selling to another business, you must present to the decision maker. They are the only ones that can say yes to buying. Selling to non-decision makers, such as administrators or directors, or crossing paths with the gatekeeper, can only give you a negative response.

The last thing you want is to be the salesperson that spent time building a relationship and presenting your product or service to the wrong person. While it is possible to still overcome this difficulty with continuous follow-ups after, your sailing will be a lot smoother if you are presenting to the decision maker from the very beginning and you can adapt your presentation to them, their needs, and interests.

After all, just as with cold outbound sales techniques, you need to recognize your audience. A decision maker in a finance executive role is a lot different to sell to than a marketing executive. Using the right pain points and having the correct social proof for the particular decision maker is crucial to your success - but having that decision maker in the presentation is even more important, to begin with.

Without a decision maker hearing you out, even with other members of the company trying to get you in touch, you will not be able to close the deal. This is why they are so important and influential to a salesperson's success.

5 Types Of Decision Makers

Decision makers, typically C-suite level executives at companies, come in different shapes and sizes.

Here are five types of decision makers to keep in mind when preparing your sales approach:

The Charismatic Decision Maker

This decision maker profile loves new ideas and is always enthusiastic when presented with new tools that can provide solutions to their everyday pain.

They tend to be talkative and results-oriented, so demonstrating solid social proof of how you can aid their pain points is a great way to catch their eye. But catching their eye is not enough. After all, because they are so enthused by new tools, getting them to commit to your product or service above all can be a challenge.

Additionally, after being presented with your product or service, they will spend some time thinking about it independently. This may affect their enthusiasm for your offer if they find it lacking, especially if you have not provided enough facts and data to substantiate it. You always need to be ready to discuss any risk they may face and convince them once again that what you are offering is grounded in reality and possibility.

It is only by doing so that they will trust you enough to purchase.

The Deep Thinker Decision Maker

Decidedly quieter than the Charismatic Decision Maker, Deep Thinkers will seek out information independently, choose their words carefully, and read on their own.

They tend to be more conservative in their choices, focusing on protecting themselves and their company, which causes them to shy away from innovation. Logical to a fault, an emotional argument, or storytelling is unlikely to sway them, so focusing on qualitative and quantitative facts and figures is the way to go.

If you find that you are being asked a seemingly endless series of questions covering every possible way your product or service could work or fail, you are most likely facing such a decision maker. To convince them, you have to take the time to carefully explain and answer all the obstacles and questions they ask, but never draw conclusions for them. They must do that on their own to be fully convinced to purchase.

The Skeptic Decision Maker

Whereas the previous two decision makers can be swayed, skeptics will be against you from the get-go.

They tend to be suspicious and have a hard time with any fact that conflicts with their existing worldview. As a result, they can be easily identified due to their domineering, combative nature, as they do not have their worldview questioned. They will tell you quite clearly why they are objecting to your offer.

To overcome such a personality, you must remain diplomatic and patient. Ask for further context, and re-explain how you can help them in a different situation. Demonstrate that you are only seeking to aid, not hinder, and do so while being respectful and aware of how they hold themselves.

Position yourself as someone similar, ideally via a referral, and use your personal and professional points in common to build the trust you need to close the deal.

The Follower Decision Maker

This decision maker profile type is its own challenge.

Like Deep Thinkers, they will take their time and explore all the possibilities before diving in. And like Skeptics, they tend to be extremely cautious of anything that is new or different. In fact, they only approve of something if they have seen it be successful elsewhere.

Evidently, this means relying on your case studies and social proof points to convince them. Customer testimonials, documented results, facts, figures, referrals, or anywhere you can draw comparisons will help you. You absolutely need to conduct research and demonstrate it when speaking with this profile.

You can recognize them by being asked to provide such information, or if they respond positively to initial outreach that focuses on social proof.

If you are exploring a new vertical for your business or working at an early-stage start-up, this type of decision maker may seem insurmountable at first if you do not have the exact mirror of information and proof that they might expect.

But by drawing clear comparisons from your research and any existing clients, even if they are for different verticals, you can begin to entice this decision maker to help you close the deal.

The Controller Decision Maker

The final type of decision maker we will cover in this article is the controller.

One of the more independent types, they tend to make decisions on their own based on accurate, well-organized, and detail-oriented presentations based on facts, figures, and data-filled explanations. Anything you present or send their way should be backed up by an expert or specialist, as they will respond best to them.

You can recognize this type because they will have such a keen eye for detail and organization when speaking with you. They themselves will ask for as full a picture as possible, and to speak to any experts you may have on hand.

Rushing this profile into making a decision is also something you should avoid. As they are the ones making the decision, they need to spend time digesting all the information. Following up to soon will make them lose interest instead. Give them time and, instead of focusing on receiving a response, provide them with more information over time and ask them if they'd like to meet your experts again.

This will help solidify your way to closing the deal.


Decision makers are figures that can make or break a BDR's entire sales cycle.

Without their support, deals that you have spent months working on can fall through in seconds.

Avoid this by recognizing which type of decision maker you are interacting with, and tailoring your approach accordingly. If you are unsure, always tread with caution and continue to build a relationship with them, providing them with statistics and facts for why your solution should be considered.

If you need outsourced SDRs that know how to get to the decision-makers, get in touch with us!
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