What Are Gatekeepers in Marketing? (Plus 5 Tips for Getting Around Them)

What is a gatekeeper in marketing?

Gatekeeper Marketing Presentation

How gatekeeping works in marketing

A gatekeeper typically answers the phone when marketing and sales representatives call a business to promote their product. A gatekeeper may first inquire as to the reason for the call in order to determine whether the caller is a customer interested in making a purchase or providing feedback on a previous one.

The gatekeeper evaluates the sales pitch after ascertaining that the caller is a B2B salesperson to decide whether a company executive should invest their time in it. Depending on the size of the organization, the next person the salesperson talks to may be a gatekeeper or a decision-maker if they are successful.

Decision-makers typically include:

What is a gatekeeper in marketing?

A gatekeeper in business-to-business (B2B) marketing is a person who stops marketing and sales representatives before they approach a company owner or executive Gatekeepers may not be necessary in small businesses because the owner is frequently on site to help with daily operations. However, in large companies and businesses, a gatekeeper frequently hears a salesperson’s information, determines whether it might be beneficial for the company, and then either sets up a meeting with the company owner or kindly informs them that the company isn’t interested in their product.

Gatekeepers are frequently the first callers or office visitors a sales representative makes. Gatekeepers choose which customers and clients are most appropriate for the business because company leaders are frequently busy. Gatekeepers are frequently:

Types of gatekeepers in marketing

You can increase your sales revenue by tailoring your sales pitch to the appropriate type of gatekeeper in order to quickly reach a company’s lead decision-maker. The following are a few of the most typical types of gatekeepers you might run into:

B2B gatekeepers

These types of gatekeepers include receptionists, secretaries and administrative assistants. Typically, they answer the phone for business decision-makers and assess whether the caller’s information can further the organization’s objectives. Receptionists are in charge of making appointment arrangements even though they may not be involved in the final purchasing decision. You can create an engaging sales pitch that highlights the benefits of your good or service to ensure you get the attention of a B2B gatekeeper, which might help you get an appointment with a company leader.

Executive assistants

Professionals known as executive assistants carry out administrative duties on behalf of executives, such as a company president or CEO. Executive assistants are frequently valued advisors by business leaders, who frequently consult with them when making decisions. An executive assistant may serve as your main point of contact within a company, introducing you to key players like the finance department or those working in information technology.

You can describe the good or service you’re selling and give a sample of your closing sales pitch to an executive assistant gatekeeper in order to effectively target them. Give the executive assistant a week to talk with the company leader about what you’re selling rather than trying to schedule an appointment with a decision-maker. If the executive assistant expresses interest, then follow up and try to schedule a meeting.

B2C gatekeepers

Gatekeeping is still a crucial step in the sales process even though it is less formal in business-to-customer (B2C) marketing. Because they frequently have a close relationship to the person making the final decision, B2C gatekeepers are involved in the purchase decision. For instance, a father might discourage a child from buying junk food, or a wife might urge her husband to purchase supplies for his new hobby. Consider which family members might influence an end user’s decision to buy and include them in your marketing efforts to increase the effectiveness of your sales.


In a small company, a salesperson can speak with a C-suite executive directly. Although this kind of gatekeeper usually decides on the final purchase, they may first go through a vetting process that involves research and comparisons to other products. Another gatekeeper, such as an executive assistant, may receive the research and purchasing conversation from a company leader.

The decision-maker may also consult with other executives before finalizing the purchase, though it is not necessary. By giving decision-makers plenty of information about your good or service, resources, and time to think things over, you can adapt the sales process to them.

Top 5 tips for getting around gatekeepers in marketing

You can use these suggestions to make your next sales call more successful, whether your goal is to effectively bypass a gatekeeper or avoid speaking with them:

1. Lead the conversation

By providing the information a gatekeeper needs before they ask and being up front about your goal, you can maintain control over the conversation. For instance, you could introduce yourself and the reason for your call to the receptionist, then ask them to put you in touch with a particular executive at the business. If you are unsure of whom to contact, think about finding out who sets the company budget and decides what to buy. Then, request their contact information and contact them directly.

2. Adjust your hours

Try again at a different time or day if the gatekeeper is not cooperative. Depending on the time you call, especially in large organizations with many employees, you might speak to a different person. Consider calling again on Friday afternoon when there will be less traffic if, for instance, the busy executive assistant doesn’t respond to your pitch when you call on Monday morning. You might be able to speak with a different gatekeeper or directly address the decision-maker.

3. Discuss a problem

This results-oriented approach focuses on how your good or service can assist a company in overcoming a challenge. Instead of immediately introducing yourself as a salesperson for a specific company, you can pique the gatekeeper’s interest with a problem you saw.

For instance, if you are an IT salesperson contacting a software company, you could inform them of a bug you discovered in their code and ask to speak with a technology executive about potential fixes. It’s crucial to be sincere with the gatekeeper and provide practical solutions if you want to maximize the effectiveness of this sales tactic and ensure a long-lasting business relationship with the company.

4. Establish a rapport

Making a good impression and making yourself memorable by engaging a gatekeeper with amusing, positive conversation can help you get through to a decision-maker. Instead of reading from a script, think about creating a list of topics you’d like to discuss in order to speak naturally. You can also establish rapport with a gatekeeper during a follow-up call by posing pertinent, open-ended personal queries like, “How was your weekend?”

5. Know your audience

You can make a sales call more effective by knowing the influence your gatekeeper has on the final choice. If you’re unsure, think about asking the gatekeeper what their role is at the business. Try involving your gatekeeper with an interesting idea they can share with a decision-maker if they aren’t involved in the decision-making process. Then, ask for an appointment or arrange a follow-up call. Consider delivering a condensed version of your sales pitch if your gatekeeper aids in decision-making, and then schedule a follow-up call within a week.


What is an example of a gatekeeper?

A gatekeeper is someone who regulates access to something or someone. A gatekeeper might be a secretary who manages who schedules appointments with the company president.

What is a gatekeeper in the buying process?

gatekeeper. member of a social group or decision-making unit who acts to deter or discourage a purchase by restricting access to and/or the flow of information to those in the buying center.

What is a gatekeeper in business?

A gatekeeper in business is exactly what it sounds like: someone stationed at a gate to block unwelcome traffic from entering. The person in charge of deciding who can contact the decision-maker is responsible for doing so in order to avoid interruption from intrusive visitors and callers.

Who is the gatekeeper in go to market strategy?

The people who stand between you and the decision-maker with whom you’re hoping to make a sale are known as gatekeepers, and they are frequently executive assistants, receptionists, or office managers.

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