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The Secret to Breaking Through Underpenetrated Accounts

Sharon Gillenwater
by Sharon Gillenwater on Oct 19, 2015 4:35:35 PM

In many cases, the bigger deals elude you because you’re not selling to the people who hold the purse strings when it comes to multi-million dollar sales- (1).png

We all have them: accounts we’d love to penetrate more. Accounts that, no matter how hard we try, just never grow beyond a few sales here and there.

Why not? In many cases, the bigger deals elude you because you’re not selling to the people who hold the purse strings when it comes to multi-million dollar sales: we’re talking about the men and women of the C-suite.

Build Relationships in the C-Suite, Receive the Keys to the Kingdom

Having personal relationships in the C-suite is a powerful thing. These relationships open doors and enable you to close bigger deals, faster. Once you have earned their trust and respect, C-suiters can and will:

Create a budget right before your eyes that includes your product/service
Green light a sale that has been blocked by a lower-level manager
Open doors to their peers at other companies, providing you entrée to a very powerful--and difficult to access--group of decision makers

Yet, reaching and engaging CXOs is very difficult and unlikely to happen with a phone call – or even a “warm” e-mail referral. It takes finesse, chutzpah, a lot of courage – and in-depth knowledge of the executive background, business and current focus and key challenges.

How to Attack Underpenetrated Accounts via the C-Suite

1. Target the right person.
Don’t take a scattershot approach. Find out which individuals in the executive suite are most likely able to make a decision regarding your product/service. Basic research should help you determine which executive ultimately owns the area having to do with your products and services: e.g., marketing analytics, supply chain solutions, accounting software, etc.

2. Know your targets. As in, really know them.
Corporate bios tell you what the company wants you to know about their executives. LinkedIn tells you (in the best case) what the executive wants you to know. In many cases if you dig a little deeper, you can find out a lot more and uncover potential hooks that will enable you to get their attention and maybe even a return phone call. Our recommendation is always to use their own words when contacting them, so if you can find an interview they have given with an industry publication, or something they said on a quarterly earnings call, this greatly increases your chances of breaking through the noise.

Boardroom Insider’s executive profiles can help you here. We search all of these types of sources and our profiles are chock full of “in their own words” content, when we can find it.

3. Don’t be afraid to challenge them.
Everyone wants to pal around with CXOs. But they don’t need more friends – they need business partners who add value and speak the truth, even when it is tough to hear. Give them the facts, but also share your credible opinion and ask provocative questions based on your experience with other companies in their industry. This builds trust and credibility.

Knowledge, Credibility and Trust: Your Three Pillars

In-depth knowledge about your prospect allows you to establish a relationship that’s deeper than most, just as your in-depth knowledge about the prospect’s industry and how your product/service adds value to that industry allows you to build credibility with your prospect. Your willingness to speak the truth, no matter how ugly, builds trust.

Use these three as you build a relationship with C-level executives and you’ll undoubtedly see steady progress toward becoming a trusted partner within her company, leading to much larger deals.

Boardroom Insiders offers sales professionals detailed profiles of C-suite executives and other leaders within firms across the country. Browse through our free sample profiles to check out the depth and specificity these reports provide you.

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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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