The buying landscape has changed entirely in the last couple of decades. Usually, executives are the frontline of any company, and sales guys spend a lot of time networking with them. But the ultimate decision is finally vested in the top management, or even if it is not, they have a huge influence on any decision.
When you have to close a deal with the CEO of the company, you need to have a very strong approach. It is usually difficult to get in front of the CEO in the first place, but even tougher to get that second or third meeting. They are always being pitched to about products and services, and they meet a lot of salespeople in a day. So it is understandable if they are not very enthusiastic about meeting salespersons. B2B sales take a lot of time to close and having the CEO on your side can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Sales training in India focuses on overall sales without understanding the special mindset necessary for dealing with senior management.
Salespeople might not be very comfortable in approaching the C-suite or will hesitate in talking to them. While understandable, this can quickly derail important prospects and ruin revenue opportunities. That is why any sales training has to cover this aspect as well.
While approaching any Chief Executive, it is crucial to focus on the three main aspects of your communication:
- Context – always frame your pitch and arguments in the right point of view that is specific to your audience
- Content – every argument has to be based on verified data that can support your insights
- Contact – most executives are worried about how their team or organization can work with your product or service to show how they can reach their solution the easiest way with your team
Sales training in India is fast catching up with their global counterparts in understanding this process. In this article, we will show you how to close B2B sales faster and more effectively.
1. Pitch Results, not Processes
When talking to a CEO, you must remember that they place a premium on their time. They are not interested in the minute details of how your products work; rather they want you to focus on how you can be of assistance to their teams. Most sales training companies in India overlook this important aspect. But as salespeople, you have to understand that you cannot have a generic approach to the CEO of a company. Be clear in how you can help them, with relevant data and numbers. For example, instead of saying how your product was developed over 5 years is less important than pitching how you can help their sales team spend 20% less time in tracking leads. Make sure you back up this claim with your current performance for existing clients and relevant projections. If necessary, create and share relevant case studies.
2. Comprehensive Research on your client
When you are approaching a prospective client, it is important to know their current situation in the market. Your research should include their prospects, their recent performance if they have any current issues with their existing process. CEOs are usually involved with the overall picture of the company rather than the minute details of the operations. Ensure that your approach is aligned with this. It is not completely necessary, but you should spare some time on their press releases and their quarterly financial reports. You should be familiar with their website to understand their new projects and partnerships. A CEO will be more amenable to salespeople who have done their research and understand his concerns. Anonymous reviews on various online forums by ex-employees and previous partners can show you their areas of concern.
3. Have more than one option
Whether it is product specification or pricing, executives want to have options. You have to understand that depending on various factors at play, clients have diverse requirements and payment budgets. Remember that many CEOs prefer to test out business relationships for a little while before fully committing to any of them. It is a great idea to have options in terms of product, price, and delivery so you don’t miss out on important deals. When there are no options, a prospective client can just say no to your product. But when you give them an option to choose from your best offerings, they would be more interested in the conversation.
Of course, salespeople are sometimes encumbered by their organizational limitations for delivery or product. But if you can work towards offering your clients options in terms of their requirements, there will be greater chances of success.
4. Be Firm in Your Commitment
The CEO of any organization will be interested in closing the best deal he can get. This usually pushes a lot of salespeople to lower the prices or commit to offering a lot of customizations that may not be possible, all in an effort to close the sale. Though tempting, it is important that as a salesperson you do not just focus on closing this sale. When you reduce the price below valuation, you are affecting the value of your future sales as well. Obviously, not all sales are equal and executives (even CEOs) understand that the pricing is not entirely flexible. If you have attended any sales training sessions in India, you will realize that you cannot have an open offer, because this erodes trust and value both. If you can focus the pitch on the value you are bringing, the pricing conversation can happen much more seamlessly.
5. Differentiate Yourself
A successful salesperson is always aware of his own competition. If your main strategy is limited to sending emails and SMS, you should realize that is what every salesperson among your competition is doing too. The art of the sale has changed drastically in recent years, even if the fundamental idea of developing potential customer relationships has remained the same. So how do you differentiate yourself from your peers?
One idea would be to build a relevant conversation with your prospects. For example, you could forward interesting and relevant industry articles to the potential client. CEOs want to know that you are there for more than making a sale and letting him deal with your product or design team. Assure them that you are enthusiastic about building relationships, not just in closing the deal. Show them that you will be available even after the deal is closed.
Sales training in India focuses too much on making a great first impression. But seasoned salespeople realize that the true art of sales is in building relationships. Not every relationship will mean or have to mean a closed deal. When you take the effort to build your credibility and trustworthiness, it will help in standing out from the rest of your peers who are just there to make a sale.
All the above tips are simple and actionable. These are the sensible fundamentals on which you can build your unique approach to the CEOs of any organization.