How Do I Get to the C-Suite Executives of a Company?
In an earlier post, I reviewed one of the most common questions I get from salespeople: how do you reach the C-suite executives of a company? It reminds me that the natural impulse for new salespeople is to look for the silver bullet that will solve all their problems quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
However, sales is messy. There are no hard and fast rules like there are in engineering where an engineer in Ohio can perform the same calculations for the same design and create the same computer chips produced by an engineer in Texas.
Sales is more like practicing medicine. You have broad based processes that work with most individuals. However, you have to refine your solutions, techniques, approaches, and presentations depending on the individuals you are working with to get a result that works for that individual.
That’s why when you’re calling C-suite executives, fall back to those two questions from my previous post. Ask yourself:
- Why am I calling *this* person?
- Am I flexible enough to see the world from the prospect’s perspective?
To make strides with a single contact, you need to see the world from their perspective. But for complex sales or working with medium to large organizations, you’ll have to expand your reach.
Leveraging Multiple Decision Makers
In another post, I introduced the concept of Spiderwebbing. In most B2B sales, you will need to deal with more than one decision maker. To avoid getting limited by corporate politics and the whims of one decision maker, you should enhance your entry efforts by contacting all decision makers who can have an impact on your sales process. You can find Spiderwebbing details in this post here.
But you should know that during your sales process, you will contact:
- Managers, or Level 3 contacts
- Vice Presidents and directors, or Level 2 contacts
- C-Suite executives, or Level 1 contacts.
Map out your contact strategy, determine who can influence your sales, and work your discovery channels.
An Example of What This Looks Like
Here’s an example of why you need to reach multiple decision makers in your target company. And why you need to see the world from their perspective.
Back when I ran a lead generation service, a salesperson contacted me about a call-management software suite. When he pitched me, he said that this software package would change the nature of my business for the better by making the calling team more efficient.
Intrigued, I scheduled him to do a product presentation. When he arrived, I called in several members of my team to review the presentation:
- My VP of sales who led a team to sell our service
- My VP of Service who managed the team making the calls and building the meetings
- The Dir of Technology who had to ensure the software wouldn’t cause friction for the people who had to use it.
In the space of an hour, this sales rep had to address the concerns of everyone at the meeting. Yet, he was able to accomplish this within the time constraints and he had time to address additional questions and gather more information.
Why This Salesperson Got the Meeting
Yes, I was intrigued and invited him in for a product presentation. But it wasn’t because of his scintillating personality or his flashy sales talk. I invited the salesperson in because after my initial conversation with the rep, I spoke with my Dir of Technology about the software. He said, “Yeah, I got a call from that sales rep. It’s something worth checking out.”
When I told my VP of Service about the product, she said, “Yeah, he gave me a call. I think that product might help our team be more productive.” And when I approached my VP of Sales about this software, she said, “I spoke with him about a week ago.We can leverage that service in our own sales efforts.”
This salesperson got the opportunity to make his presentation because he had created an internal support base. He had contacted other members of my management team and uncovered their challenges before he contacted me.
With this example in mind, I return to the beginning of this post. If you find yourself asking, “How do I reach the C-suite executives of a company” because you are looking for the quickest route to the sales close, stop and think. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why am I calling this person?
- Am I flexible enough to see the world from their perspective
- Who else should I be talking with in the company?
And then use the Spiderwebbing techniques to build your web of contacts within your target company.
Remember, sales is an away game. It takes place in the mind of every prospect you contact.
You can find more cutting-edge sales strategies to give you the edge in the field from Lance Tyson’s new book, Selling Is An Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World. Get your copy today!