Young salesmen are often taught that you should always make a beeline for the ultimate decision maker. This is a good default option.
But now that business processes are getting increasingly complicated, the decision maker may not be the correct person to which you should address your sales pitch.
Quickly establish which person is the decision maker for purchasing your type of products and then establish who the correct person is to make the pitch to when contacting an organization for the first time. They are not always the same. The CEO may be the final decision maker, but he may delegate the task of figuring out which product to purchase to another member of his team.
This is the person you want to focus on. The person who is going to make recommendations to the ultimate decision maker on which product or service to purchase. Getting that person on your side and giving the enthusiasm and information necessary to pitch to the CEO should be your salesman’s goal because they may never have a chance to discuss with the CEO in the first place.
You can build the rapport and figure out exactly what the problem is with someone who is closer to it. Work with your team and make sure that they know both the ultimate decision maker and the person you should be pitching to.