by Tracey Wik / March 5, 2019
When it comes to pitching to the C-Suite, we need to get past some preconceived notions.
In the past, many salespeople got eager with excitement at the idea of pitching a senior executive team. The idea was that pitching to the executive team was “important” and perhaps even better than pitching to other people within the organization.
Think about it. The last time you heard someone excitedly talk about their upcoming pitch to a CEO, they felt a sense of greatness and perhaps a more significant sense of purpose.
The Sales Activities Are the Same Across the Board
Everyone wants to pitch to the senior executive team. And the reality is, that it doesn’t matter who you’re pitching to–the sales activities are the same.
The obsession that people seem to have regardless of the business is “getting to” the C-Suite. There’s a perception that getting to the C-suite means you’re getting to the top. But the person at the top isn’t necessarily the one who’s writing the check or who understands the specific need they’re looking to fill.
The goal in any sales interaction is to get to the right decision maker–the one who understands the business need and can write the check. And it doesn’t matter what the nameplate on the door says.
What Happens When You Pitch to the C-Suite
The leader, functional head, or executive is often detached from the business itself. Sure, they’re leaders. But they’re leaders in the company, not in the day-to-day of the business operations. These leaders aren’t a part of the execution of a digital strategy, talent acquisition strategy or new software implementation.
If your salespeople find themselves working on a pitch to someone in the C-Suite, you may want to have them take a few steps back first to make sure that this company leader is a decision maker, understands the business problem and how it affects others within their business.
This is a perfect time to refocus the sales team’s efforts to make sure they’re interacting with the right people and all the right parties will be in the room when it’s time to pitch.
The Halo Effect
What happens when a COO, CMO, or even the CEO recommends a salesperson or a specific company? Sure, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a relationship with executives, and this will happen naturally as we grow into our sales careers. People climb the ladder, move up, and get promoted.
If you’re invited to the table for a sales conversation by someone in the C-Suite, you’ll want to do a little digging first.
Find out who else will be in the room or on the call. If you’re meeting with a senior executive and they don’t plan on bringing anyone else to the meeting, start asking some questions around who needs to make the buying decision, and what department(s) will your solution touch? It might be best to meet with both someone in the C-Suite and the functional head.
The C-Suite will rarely mandate that their functional head’s work with someone in particular. Most often, the functional head’s are usually the buyer because they’re closer to the decision-making of the activities.
Rather than focusing on who you’re selling to, instead focus on the sales activities.
And if you need help with focusing on the sales activities that happen at varying stages of the sales process, get in touch! We understand what happens at each stage regardless of who’s in front of you.