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Advice for Selling to CIOs, From a CIO

Sharon Gillenwater
by Sharon Gillenwater on Aug 22, 2013 8:50:00 AM

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Peter Yared, the CIO/CTO of CBS Interactive, has penned a thoughtful three-part series for the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal on how to sell to enterprise IT departments. He opens it by writing the following:

After almost two decades of selling business infrastructure to technology companies, I thought I knew it all. But since spending the last two years on the other side of the table as the CIO/CTO of CBS Interactive, I realized how much I didn’t know about selling to enterprise IT.

Yared goes on to offer specific advice for sales pros selling to enterprise CIOs. It includes the following:

1. Go to the Right Person. To sell to an IT organization, convince the person who actually has the problem.

2. Understand the Company's Business and IT Challenges. Talk about how you can solve their problems, now about how your company/product/idea is “awesome.”

3. Be Clear About What You Do. A pitch, whether from a small startup or a multinational corporation, should always concisely state the following:

  • Description: What the offering does, how it’s different from competitors and how it can help a CIO.

  • Validation: What stage the product is at and who else is using it.

  • Process: How can the offering be purchased, what the typical on-ramp looks like, and how much it costs.

4. Sell the ROI. A vendor needs to have a very clear and verifiable return on investment (ROI) story with measurable metrics. 

Yared also cautions salespeople to not try and bypass IT, saying, "Treating the IT department like a speedbump signals that the vendor does not value what IT thinks. Lines of business typically partner with IT, and a deal takes agreement between the two."

Boardroom Insiders provides an easy shortcut for enterprise sales pros looking to follow Yared's advice. Our executive profiles directly address points 1 and 2 above--the who and the why--of your account-based sales plan.

Want to learn more? Read how Citrix is using Boardroom Insiders to support their enterprise sales efforts and take advantage of our offer, below.


 Executive Profile Executive Recruiter

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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.

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