The Trick to Getting Past Gatekeepers in B2B Sales

B2B SalesGatekeepers are hired to protect C-suite executives. While not the Queen of England, the myriad of responsibilities juggled by C-suites requires someone to filter, grant or deny access to them based on their credentials.

C-suite executives themselves are also gatekeepers to B2B sales in that they control the budgets. As a result, salespeople must have a targeted strategy for gaining access to the C-suite that accounts for the role of their vetting administrator.

For some expert advice on how to get past the gatekeepers in B2B sales, we interviewed appointment-setting guru Bob Good, CEO and founder of Good Leads.

Good Leads provides executive-level warranted business introductions and B2B business development services for technology-centric firms, professional service entities, and government economic development agencies.

What is the number one mistake salespeople make when approaching gatekeepers?

The number one mistake, according to Bob, is sounding like a telemarketer. “It’s the kiss of death. Gatekeepers are trained to identify telemarketers. They can hear it in your voice.”

Even if it’s the 80th call of the day, salespeople must take the preparatory steps to sound composed, engaged, and knowledgeable about whom they are reaching out to. In essence, all the things telemarketers do not do.

Are there ways to engage gatekeepers with content?

According to Bob, breaking the ice with a provocative question is a great way to engage gatekeepers in conversation and demonstrate your expertise.

Questions that start with:

  • Are you aware of [X]?
  • [X] is happening down the street, how has that impacted you?
  • Did you know [X] company saved [Y] company [$ amount] this year?

By asking gatekeepers questions, you are allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge and to feel empowered. With a natural inclination to help, it may also compel them to get you more information on this topic.

Leveraging your most current social media or print ad as a primer for the call can also be a useful strategy, according to Bob. Whether it’s via live phone call, voicemail or follow-up email, using a recent marketing investment as a reference strategically helps to build credibility.

For example: “Did you see our recent ad in the Wall Street Journal?”

For more on how to prepare and leverage every opportunity when endeavoring to set C-suite appointments, check out this post.

Strategically using email in B2B sales

B2B sales require multiple touchpoints. In addition to phone calls, which Bob still uses as his primary method of outreach, email is an important tool to leverage as well.

According to studies, the best time to send an email that will be read is between 4-6 PM. Bob also recommends carefully using subject lines and short headers that will catch your gatekeeper’s attention in what is sure to be a very full inbox.

And remember, barraging gatekeepers or C-suite execs with any form of communication, whether it’s email or voicemail, is never a good idea. While persistence is critical, so is presenting a calculated approach.

B2B SalesAnd on the topic of persistence, putting in place a system to provide constant feedback on the status of an outreach effort is always helpful. Because the timeline on B2B sales is particularly long, it’s critical that your sales team stay engaged and accountable to the process.

While the gatekeepers at Buckingham Palace may not smile, they are human. So are the C-suite admins on the other end of the line. Using techniques to help them understand your unique value proposition actually makes their job easier.

What is the trick to getting past gatekeepers in B2B sales? Help them help you.

To check out all of MEET’s interview content with leaders in the B2B sales, marketing, and soft-landing space, visit our YouTube Channel and subscribe.


MEET ( helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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