Selling to C-Level Execs – Part 1: When is the Best Time?
Selling to the C-suite is a different animal altogether for salespeople than selling to the Director-Level or even the VP-Level. In B2B sales, the odds are stacked against you. As one of a few premier appointment setting companies, we’ve managed to compile best practices on getting into the C-Suite with various products or services.
In this 3-part series, we discuss:
- Identifying WHEN a C-Level Executive (CLE) would be most receptive to your request for time,
- HOW to obtain an audience with a C-Level Executive,
- And WHAT to do once you get the meeting to increase your likelihood of success.
When is a C-Level Executive most responsive to your request for a sales appointment?
Let’s face it… C-suite personnel are busier than most of us. They are worried about increasing revenue, accurate cost projections, overarching operational efficiency, etc. They don’t wake up in the morning hoping to interact with pitchmen and salespeople.
In fact, in order to get in front of CLEs, you have to do your research to ascertain what challenges they might be facing. And in this case, timing is truly everything. If you can properly identify when CLEs are most likely to be making purchase decisions, then your chances increase many times over.
Is there a common entry point in the buying cycle that will help increase C-Suite penetration? You bet there is. There are many iterations of the buying cycle we can use, but let’s go with this one:
- Acknowledgment of Needs – The buyer is moving from irritation with the status quo to tangible dissatisfaction; finally, he decides he’s going to take action.
- Assessment of Alternatives – This starts with a veritable pool of choices and options until the end of the phase where a shortlist of the most viable options emerges and one is chosen.
- Resolving Concerns – In this phase, the buyer has made a choice but needs to become comfortable with the risk involved in his choice.
- Decision – The buyer comes to grips with his concerns and signs on the line that is dotted.
- Implementation – The new product or service is onboarded and integrated.
- Changes over Time – Here, the initial challenge has been mitigated with desired outcomes. New challenges will surely arise and the cycle starts all over again.
So the cycle is fraught with sales psychology at most phases. When is the best time to approach CLEs with your product or service? The answer is that you should reach CLEs early in the buying cycle between the Changes over Time phase and the Acknowledgment of Needs phase when the status quo is starting to show signs of weakening. The reason is that at any other phase, though you main gain access to lower level personnel, you are not effectively diagnosing and solving a problem.
Stay tuned for our next article on HOW to obtain an audience with a C-Level Executive.