What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top

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It’s the goal of every salesperson: getting access to senior client executives—the C-Level decision makers responsible for approving top-dollar deals. Selling to the C-Suite is the first book that reveals how to land those career-making sales in the words of CEOs themselves!

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  • What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top

    1. 1. The New Playbook for Professional Salespeople
    2. 2. Presentation Outcomes <ul><li>At the end of this presentation, you will be able to… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe when executives get involved in the decision process for major purchases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discover the best approaches to use for that initial call on the executive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine how to become perceived as a trusted advisor to the executive, thereby securing return access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate your value to executives on a consistent basis </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Research on Selling to Executives <ul><ul><li>When and why did executives get involved in the decision process for major purchases? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What has to happen in meetings with salespeople for the executive to feel it was effective? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do salespeople establish trust and credibility at the executive level, thereby securing return access? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are executives looking for in “strategic relationships” with suppliers? </li></ul></ul>10 years | 500 CXOs | Cross-Industry | Cross-Cultural Hewlett-Packard, University of North Carolina, Georgia State University, Target Marketing Systems, SalesLabs, LSI
    4. 4. Executive Involvement in the Buying Cycle Executive Involvement Steps in the Buying Cycle Early Middle Late Measure Results Plan Implemen-tation Examine Alternatives Set Vendor Criteria Explore Options Set Strategy Establish Objectives Understand Current Issues When and why do senior executives get involved in the decision process for major purchases? Q
    5. 5. Executive Involvement in the Buying Cycle Executive Involvement Steps in the Buying Cycle Measure Results Plan Implemen-tation Examine Alternatives Set Vendor Criteria Explore Options Set Strategy Establish Objectives Understand Current Issues When and why do senior executives get involved in the decision process for major purchases? Q
    6. 6. Selling to the C-Suite “ I meet with professional salespeople because often they can offer me solutions that even people within my own organization can’t develop. They’ve seen these problems in other organizations and I want the benefit of their experience.” — CXO level executive
    7. 7. Defining the Relevant Executive <ul><ul><li>Simply put, it’s the executive who stands to gain the most or lose the most by the outcome of the application or project associated with the sales opportunity </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Typical Client Organization <ul><li>Cultivating Client Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the formal power for an IT-based customer service solution? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the informal power for that same decision? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the relevant executive for this opportunity? </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Typical Client Organization <ul><li>Cultivating Client Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the formal power for an IT-based customer service solution? </li></ul></ul>Formal Power
    10. 10. Typical Client Organization <ul><li>Cultivating Client Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the formal power for an IT-based customer service solution? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the informal power for that same decision? </li></ul></ul>Informal Power
    11. 11. Typical Client Organization <ul><li>Cultivating Client Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the formal power for an IT-based customer service solution? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has the informal power for that same decision? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the relevant executive for this opportunity? </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Selling to the C-Suite <ul><li>Identifying the relevant executive should be a focus of any major sales campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Aligning with that relevant executive will increase your odds of winning the deal </li></ul>
    13. 13. Four Approaches to Gaining Access Implement an overt approach via the telephone or using a phone call, preceded by a letter Overt Use a credible sponsor within the client’s organization to help secure access Sponsor Treat the gatekeeper (AA, secretary or the like) as a resource and use them to help secure access Gatekeeper Use a referral (someone outside the client’s organization), such as a consultant, business associate or friend Referral
    14. 14. Research on Selling to Executives A Assuming your company was considering a major purchase, how likely would you be to schedule a meeting with a salesperson if the request came from… Q A recommendation from someone 16% 68% 16% 0% inside your company A referral from outside the company 8 36 44 12 A letter from a salesperson followed 4 20 40 36 by a direct call A direct telephone call from a 0 20 36 44 salesperson Always Usually Occasionally Never
    15. 15. Selling to the C-Suite <ul><li>Gaining initial access to senior client executives is an important first step in establishing successful and loyal relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Executives say that the best way to gain access to them is by using a credible sponsor within their organization </li></ul>
    16. 16. Components of Credibility Adapted from: Clients for Life . Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel. Simon and Schuster, 2000. Integrity Capability
    17. 17. <ul><li>Trusted Advisor </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Extra Pair of Hands </li></ul><ul><li>Expert for Hire </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable </li></ul><ul><li>Trustworthy </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent </li></ul>Components of Credibility Adapted from: Clients for Life . Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel. Simon and Schuster, 2000. Client Value Zone Integrity Capability
    18. 18. Different Perspectives Executive Management Operations
    19. 19. Different Perspectives Executive Management Operations Project View Department/Function View Company Wide View Other Uses of Funds Solution Fit Price/ Discounts
    20. 20. Research on Selling to Executives 1. Demonstrated responsibility 2. Understood my business goals 3. Listened before proposing a solution A What has to happen in meetings with salespeople for the executive to feel it was effective? Q 4. Displayed knowledge of my industry
    21. 21. Research on Selling to Executives 1. Ability to marshal resources 2. Understands my business goals/objectives 3. Responsive to my requests 4. Willing to be held accountable A How does a salesperson establish credibility and trust with a high-level executive? Q 5. Knows company’s products
    22. 22. Making the Initial Face-to-Face Call on the Executive <ul><li>Ask questions that confirm your level of preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the issues and implications using the client’s metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm the importance of their key business initiative(s) </li></ul>Issues and Implications <ul><li>Refer to your initial telephone call with the executive </li></ul><ul><li>Cite your past experience </li></ul>Introduction <ul><li>Explore potential solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a vision of the optimal solution </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm the value of the solution </li></ul>Solution Options <ul><li>Re-connect with the executive to secure return access </li></ul><ul><li>Have an action plan that involves the executive </li></ul>Moving Forward
    23. 23. Four Major Objectives of an Initial Face-to-Face Call <ul><li>Establish rapport quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm your understanding of the executive’s key business issues </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate some level of capability </li></ul><ul><li>Create next steps that involve the executive </li></ul>
    24. 24. Selling to the C-Suite <ul><li>Make certain you do your homework before your initial call on the senior client executive </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming perceived as a trusted advisor can be accomplished by consistently demonstrating both capability and integrity </li></ul>
    25. 25. Creating a Value Proposition You, Your Company and Your Solution Client’s Key Business Initiative Your Specific Business Value
    26. 26. Creating a Value Proposition Key Elements of a Value Proposition Addresses the client’s issue(s) and focuses on payback or consequences as it relates to the client’s breakthrough initiative What’s important to them? Describes how we can help, in both a qualitative and quantitative form How does our solution create value for them? Might include an example of how we addressed a similar problem at another company How can we demonstrate our capability?
    27. 27. Format of a Value Proposition You should be capable of ______________ by _________ through the ability to ___________________________ . This will require an investment of _________________ , which will be returned within _____________________. describe the impact monetary units or % describe the new situation state the cost of the solution estimate the time frame for return
    28. 28. Value Proposition Example You should be capable of reducing repeat customer service calls by 20% , resulting in a monthly savings of $250,000 , by implementing our Call Tracker system . This will require an investment of $2 million , which will be returned in 8 months. We implemented a similar solution at Acme Transfer Company , who began achieving a monthly savings of $500,000 within 90 days of installation.
    29. 29. Summarizing Our Findings <ul><ul><li>Executives get involved early in the decision process for major purchases to set the project’s strategy – but also get involved late to monitor the implementation and measure the results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying the relevant executive and aligning with that executive should be key elements of your sales process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The best approach to use for the initial call on the executive is to work with a credible sponsor inside the client organization to help you gain access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrating both capability and integrity over the long term helps you become perceived as a trusted advisor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember to consistently communicate your value to executives on an on-going basis </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. The New Playbook for Professional Salespeople NICHOLAS A.C. READ www.cxo-selling.com STEPHEN J. BISTRITZ , Ed.D. www.sellxl.com

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