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Selling to the C-suite is considered to be a step above the already strategic task of cold emailing and calling high-value prospects. Beat your Q1 2019 sales quota by reaching out to the executive who is the head of their domain. Regardless of how good we sell to managers/directors or other decision makers, we all know that convincing the C-suite gets you the star contract.
Selling to the C-suite doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you have the right attitude and go with the right mindset, you’re bound to get that meeting you’ve always wanted.
We’ve compiled a list of 7 awesome tips to help you.
Sell The Bigger Picture
You have to understand their situation. A CEO never thinks micro, they’re always looking for macro growth strategies. If you can explain briefly how you can do that then you will surely get a meeting. Furthermore, you can use this situation to your advantage by selling annual packages and subscriptions. The reason is, you wouldn’t go through all that effort to convince a CEO to buy a one-month subscription.
Supplementary tip: Take some time to do the necessary research, read what responsibilities that person had and how we can solve pain points relating to that.
According to Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of businesses initiate the buying process with a referral. Since many of times C-suites are a part of the decision-making process, they tend to refer people from their network. This means you need to check your connections and people in your network.
Don’t forget to check with your customer services department to see if there are any super satisfied customers in your panel. Simply drop them a note and ask if they know any executives relevant to you. Chances are, they will refer you to better leads because they understand your business service as well.
Nothing bad has ever happened due to initiative taking and asking. When selling to the C-suite be sure that having credibility before you even start selling will help you greatly.
Supplementary tip: To make referrals even more attractive you can add special incentives for your clients. You can even add referral forms on your website to make it official.
Be Concise And To The Point
The last thing you want to do is have an unfocused conversation with someone in C-suite. Don’t try to be extra smart by selling features and add-ons unnecessarily. Meaning, whatever you decide to propose to someone in C-suite should be justified. The more you give an executive a customized picture, the better. Having a goal in mind can help you stay focused whilst selling to the C-suite.
Supplementary tip: Using the brevity approach will give you a big advantage here. When sending emails keep emails short and simple, no beating around the bush!
CEO Is Not The King Of All
A common mistake sales development representatives (SDR’s) make while selling to the C-suite is considering CEO’s to be their go-to-guy.
Yes, we all know that the CEO has the best office and takes part in all those high-profile meetings. This doesn’t mean they manage all matters and have the final say in everything. It’s always better to talk to the relevant executive like CFO or COO if there are finance or operations matters respectively.
If you don’t do this then the CEO will feel you’re blindly targeting prospects and you haven’t thought this through.
Supplementary tip: To help you get the C-suites attention to try to include and target more than one relevant decision maker per account.
Go Ahead And Send An E-mail
Firstly, it’s hard to get in touch with C-suites on call (at least initially). Yes, they get hundreds of emails a day but the advantage is that unless the email goes in spam they check all or most of their emails.
C-suites are all on the top of their game, within their corporation they don’t like keeping tasks in pending. The reason is, they know that a hierarchy of employees is dependent on their approvals, reviews, and feedback.
Supplementary tip: Try writing a BASHO email, which is typically a super personalized approach to writing an email. If someone emails you like they know you chances are they’ll respond faster.
Talk Less, Listen More
You got your desired C-suite on call or even have a meeting in place. Always remember to talk less and listen more. Selling to the C-suites they need to understand what you do to the core.
Get ready to answer a lot of questions and accept a few interruptions. Be humble and assess the situation, you’re there to help them achieve their company goals.
Supplementary tip: Best is to treat your meeting as a constructive two-way conversation. However, you need to let the driver of the conversation be their company. Once you can make them understand your value offering the conversation will automatically go in your favor.
Earn Their Respect And Trust
This is the most important part of selling to the C-suites. Mainly because it will determine if you and your company can partner in the long-run. To maintain respect and trust you need to be on time (if not before), never back off a commitment. Always dress formally as well. Trust is about impression as well.
Supplementary tip: Earning respect isn’t that easy. Make sure you be fully transparent with your offering.
And there you have it – our best tips for selling to the C-suite. Charge forward with optimism and sell with confidence!
Co-founder & Marketing Professional at Cloudlead, a B2B data company aiming to make outbound predictable and smarter. Moaaz is a certified Content Marketeer, Graduate in Marketing and Management, completed an enterprise sales course for SaaS at Stanford. He also has a keen interest in analytics and data-driven marketing.