Are any of your customers involved in corporate spinoffs? Sales and marketing people are always advised to keep an eye on potential mergers and acquisitions among their customers, but we don’t usually talk about spinoffs.
Is CXO engagement a priority at your company? If so, you are probably having discussions about how to scale.
Successful CXO engagement programs are like drip irrigation. The goal is to deliver small, but highly relevant doses of insight to targeted CXOs based on what you know about them and their business. Over time, you build credibility and trust and earn the right to a deeper conversation, and, if all goes well, trusted advisor relationship status.
Every day we hear from sales leaders about how their sales teams are overwhelmed and under prepared when it comes to selling to C-suite decision makers. Given the vague directive to “do their homework,” many salespeople—and the sales enablement and field marketing teams that support them—tend to focus on things like contact information, org charts, and social media links. While these things are helpful and important, they are not adequate for preparing to have a business conversation with a CXO.
There’s no escaping the fact that we live and conduct business in a social world. Harnessing social technology is clearly now a mandate for sales. The consumer sales ecosystem has known this for years. But how are B2B, and in particular enterprise B2B sales teams succeeding with social selling? While companies like Oracle and IBM are implementing social selling programs with great success, social selling evangelist Jill Rowley, in an article in ZDNet, says that most companies are actually in the infant stages of social selling as a concept, with the majority of firms only leveraging social media in random bouts and not training their sales staff to effectively exploit the network.
Enterprise sales teams struggling with CXO selling should take a page out of the management consultant’s playbook. Because of the transformational nature of most management consulting engagements, management consultants have always been visible and relevant to the C-suite.
We preach a lot about the value of knowing as much as possible about your customer. Having deep insight into their goals and concerns is powerful. It helps you determine how your solutions can fit their business needs and how you can become their trusted partner. And, it doesn’t hurt if you can connect with the people themselves on a personal level.
That’s why we research and prepare executive profiles in such depth. It’s our goal to provide sales and marketing teams with as much solid, relevant information about each individual as is publicly available. Since we often get questions from our customers about how we do it, we thought it was time to show you how the sausage is made.
Day in and day out we conduct deep research on CXOs so you don’t have to. We look for insight that helps sales and marketing teams better understand their prospects and customers—what they’re thinking, their goals, challenges and what keeps them up at night. We also seek out nuggets that reveal something about their personality and key quotes that strike at the heart of what they and their organization are all about. When it comes to selling to CXOs, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can position yourself as being relevant, credible and a worthy potential business partner.
In a recent post we outlined how Salesforce is closing bigger deals faster by engaging CXO decision makers—all the way up to the CEO.
Many companies are trying to emulate this CXO engagement strategy, but few are successful.
Why is this the case?
We have consulted with hundreds of companies on CXO engagement and have observed that there are five critical success factors that come into play when it comes to CXO selling. They are:
So, you’ve landed a meeting with a long sought-after customer. Chances are you’ve already done some research to get your foot in the door, but are you able to articulately connect the dots between their business objectives and your product or service? Do you even know what their business objectives are?
On a February 2016 earnings call, Salesforce execs crowed about having “the absolute best quarter we have ever had,” capping off “a breakthrough year.” Management attributed this “amazing” success" to "an all-time high in the number of large transactions” including a net-new nine-figure deal, a nine-figure renewal and more than 600, seven-figure plus transactions.