Selling to the C-suite can be one of the most daunting tasks that sales professionals are faced with. In recent past, C-suite members have tended to linger in the shadows throughout much of the enterprise sales process, typically joining the conversation only at the final stages of a deal to offer a final sign-off.
Times have changed. According to Damon Jones, president and managing director at Miller Heiman, “C-level people don’t rubberstamp these days…They jump into the buying process.” C-suite members tend to now be involved – in some capacity – throughout the entirety of the sales process. In fact, 65% of C-suite executives are “actively engaged” in sales processes. Selling to the C-suite has now become an inevitable reality for sales professionals.
But selling to the C-suite is not easy. It is a unique art – and one that is not generally well understood. More so than ever before, sales professionals recognize the challenge of engaging C-level executives in sales conversations. Fear not! On October 12th from 6:00-8:00pm, hundreds of sales professionals will gather to attend “Selling to the C-Suite,” a night of learning and networking at Lyft’s headquarters in San Francisco. We’d love you to join us as we discuss the ins and outs of effective selling to the C-suite.
Selling to the C-suite is a tough nut to crack. And it’s easy to appreciate why. First, C-level executives are busy. Not only are their calendars stockpiled with meetings and travel plans, they’re protected by an army of gatekeepers – assistants, for example, are trained to filter out unwanted phone calls and emails. When sales professionals are able to secure a coveted meeting, time is not a luxury. Meetings tend to be short and do not accommodate an in-depth product demo or lengthy PowerPoint deck. Second, C-level executives are laser-focused on the bottomline. To be given the time of day, sales reps will need to clearly and immediately articulate the ROI of their offering according to one or many KPIs. Finally, C-level executives don’t tend to value traditional sales conversations that revolve around product features and specs. According to SiriusDecisions, executive buyers appreciate when sales professionals discuss insights related to their business and industry 4x more than traditional relationship and product knowledge. Unfortunately, sales reps tend to be much better versed in their offering than in the intricacies of customers’ businesses: executives believe that while 88% of the salespeople they interact with are knowledgeable about their product offering(s), a mere 24% understand the executive’s business. When engaging with the C-suite, sales reps need to bring their ‘A’ game to the conversations. They need to do research, become an expert in their customers’ businesses and industries, and understand customers’ business objectives.
On October 12th, you’ll be afforded a unique opportunity to learn how to address the many challenges involved in selling to the C-suite. You’ll learn how to pinpoint the right CXO to engage with – whether the CFO, CIO, CTO, or other. You’ll learn how to secure coveted spaces on C-suite members’ calendars. You’ll learn how to connect with C-level executives during sales conversations and build enduring relationships. And you’ll learn how to prove value and differentiate your offering from the competition.
And you’ll learn from the best. The event will feature four sales experts: Falon Fatemi, CEO & Founder of Node.io, Doug Landis, Chief Storyteller at Box and former Sr Director of Sales Productivity at Salesforce.com, Bridget Gleason, Executive Advisor Sumo Logic, and J.Ryan Williams, VP of Sales at LeadGenius.
It’s about time that sales professionals start refining their craft to account for the increased presence of the C-suite. Selling to a C-level executive is starkly different than selling to a stakeholder lower down in the chain of control. Fortunately, sales professionals that hone the craft will be afforded several luxuries. Since budgets are set by the C-suite, sales reps will be less likely to hear the all-too-common “we don’t have the budget” cop out at the end of sales conversations. If the rep’s offering resonates with a C-level executive, chances are the budget will be “found.” As well, the C-suite is the highway to deal close. Since C-level executives have the authority to sign-off on deals immediately, sales reps won’t likely be passed on to “my manager” and play round robin across an organization. Buying cycles will likely be drastically curtailed.
Landing a meeting with a C-level executive is no easy feat. A Harvard study found that senior decision-makers spend only 2% of their time (equivalent to less than an hour a week) engaging with new suppliers trying to sell to them. Despite the seemingly uphill battle entailed, selling to the C-suite is essential today. And the role of the C-suite isn’t likely to diminish any time soon: 70% of top executives believe they provide value when they assist their salespeople in closing deals. Join us on October 12th to learn how to get through the iron-clad gates to the C-suite fortress. It’s the best time investment you can make to jumpstart the new quarter. Register here: Selling to the C-Suite