One of the biggest challenges in the sales cycle is getting to the ultimate decision maker. The higher you go within an organization the better chance you have to find them. The highest level within organization is the C-level execs which could include the:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Chief Financial Officer
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Chief Sales Officer
- Chief Operations Officer
It can be stressful, but it is a great opportunity so I’ve outlined some tips for selling to C-level executives; what you need to know what to prepare for.
1. Do your Research
To get a meeting it is important to understand the environment, challenges, and potential business pain that are found within the accounts. There are many sources including the company site, Google search, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Take a look at a blog we did this past year on free sources of research.
2. Quantify the Benefit
People at the top of the organization are typically motivated by increasing revenue, decreasing cost/expense, improving productivity, or avoiding something bad like a legal issue. Understand how your solution can benefit them in a real way and try to quantify it.
3. Make Sure the Benefit is Applicable
This applies to the organization and type of C level that you target. If an organization is trying to find $50 million in savings and your solution offers them $50 thousand, it may not be selected. Also make sure that the benefit lines up with the contact. A CMO may not be interested in cost savings, but they will likely be interested in solutions to grow revenue.
4. Get to the Point
The C-Level have a compressed amount of time. Remember that in your value prop to get in and see the C-Level contact, the meeting itself will need to be short and to the point. A good reference point is a system called selling to VITO (Very Important Top Officer).
5. Don’t Disregard the Gate Keeper
Behind most great leaders is an executive assistant that is there to make their lives better and that sometimes means keeping the sales people at bay. The EA can block you, but can also help. Treating them with respect and articulating the benefit with them can help get the meeting. I’ve had previous experience booking a meeting on an executive’s schedule through the EA without ever communicating with the target contact.
6. Leverage Relationships to Get the Meeting
A reference from a customer or connection from a business partner can help get to that C-Level contact. Use tools like LinkedIn to uncover the hidden connections.
7. Work With Someone Else, but Ask to Come Back
Unfortunately, most of the time a C-Level will not agree to a significant purchase on the spot after a 15 minute meeting. They will often tell you to go away and work with one of their team members. This is okay and will need to be done. I would recommend asking to reconnect as you get further through the process.
I hope these tips that I use to get C-Level and senior meetings can help you do the same. To get great sales and marketing news delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.