Selling to the C-Suite: Best Practices to Remember
With competition increasing manifold, companies now want to channel all their marketing energies into that one stakeholder, the top boss who runs the show.
C-Level Data for Effective Business Growth Marketers reaching out to lower and even mid-layer leads seem to have now taken a back-seat. As much as it is easier reaching out to different layers of stakeholders, there is always a high chance that your message may get diluted or may even disappear as it reaches the top rungs of the management. Hence companies are looking at another, very wholesome route. In an effort to cut across a string of gatekeepers, they want to touch base and sell directly to the one who holds the reign— the decision maker.
As easy as it may sound, this sure isn’t run of the mill task. The C-suite is an elusive lot. Marketing to this group is as tough as it can get.
Selling to C-level executives is a gargantuan task
It is a tough journey which begins with first getting through the gatekeepers, and once that is accomplished, the real challenge begins.
The C-level is swamped with work. They are busy and have the onus of taking care of the business, end to end, making them extremely difficult to catch hold of. They simply don’t have the time to indulge in long elaborate calls or leisurely peruse through slides and slides of the presentation that they may receive from a number of clients.
Given the fact that they have enormous amounts of business to manage when receiving requests from unknown parties, their instant reaction is to ignore. Needless to say, C level executives are tough buyers and don’t buy ROI claims so easily.
This makes marketing to C-suite buyers very different from engaging with lower or mid-level stakeholders. You need to keep in mind the fact that when marketing to this group, you may have only a few quick minutes to impress and show how you can bat in to up their game.
When marketing to your C-suite database, it is essential to keep some hygiene pointers in mind, to make sure to leave a positive and lasting impression.
A great idea is to start backward
The usual way to start off a pitch is starting off with who you are and outlining the benefits that your portfolio offers. So the order is introduction, explanation, example and finally trying to build trust.
Why not do the opposite?
Start off by building trust. This can be accomplished by you stating something insightful say a piece of statistic prevailing in the industry. Then you begin to stack up against your explanation, piece by piece, showing how you understand and empathize with their challenges. Then move on and begin to divulge your solution around overcoming these specific challenges.
This is a great way to start off. You show that you have done extensive research and have fair knowledge around the industry –trends, and challenges. You also come across as a problem-solver, someone who can add value to their business. And most of it is the trust that you build.
An important aspect that guides the C-level executives ’ final decision is their ability to trust in the vendor.
Make sure you know the industry through and through
As much as trust is important, so is the vendors’ knowledge around the industry they operate in. CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and the like seek to engage with a vendor who has ample and insightful knowledge about the industry. They are a number-driven lot. So, be prepared with a stack of statistics to show that you have done your bit of research, and have evidence to back your claims.
C-level executives are always on the look-out for vendors who can become value addition and trustworthy partners. In-line with that, it may be beneficial if you could up your game around the industry, identify significant players, competition, emerging trends, innovations, so and so forth. It’s always a good idea to bring in your perspective so that your buyer sees sustained value in conducting business with you.
Tell a story
Shy away from the generic long and arduous style of the quintessential sales pitch. Make sure that you present your content in an interesting, engaging and pithy fashion that clearly explains your purpose. Storytelling is an art that you should master when it comes to engaging with your C-suite database.
Storytelling is a useful tool to showcase how you can solve challenges and offer innovative solutions. It’s a great way to make your pitch stick long after you are done. Storytelling involves components- situation, complication, solution. Weave a pitch that has all the 3 components. Through an engaging story, show your value proposition and display how you can offer a solution to overcome a specific problem that your potential client’s business may be facing.
Who doesn’t love a good story! Storytelling is a powerful tool to explain and engage your C-suite buyers and make sure they cling on to the good stuff you as a vendor have to offer.
Give your business a boost by connecting with those at the helm of the business. By incorporating these best practices, you can be an enabler to your potential clients’ business and make them more inclined to trust and engage with you.