Good sales reps know that connecting and selling to the C-suite reaps the best rewards, so it’s essential to understand what C-suite executives really think when they are contacted by inside sales employees.
In this article:
- What Is a C-Suite Executive?
- What C-Suite Executives Think
Questions C-Suite Executives Will Be Thinking When You Pitch
It may be daunting to pitch and sell to C-suite executives and top brass clients, but it always pays to aim high. Many B2B companies credit their success at being able to target the C suite, resulting in a shorter sales cycle, larger deal sizes, and more add-on business.
What is a C-Suite Executive?
A C-level executive refers to a high-ranking representative in an organization who usually makes decisions that affect the entire business. They are called such because they typically have “Chief” aka “C” in their job titles. C-suite also refers to the collective.
Examples include: –
- CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
- COO (Chief Operations Officer)
- CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
- CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
- CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)
- CIO (Chief Information Officer)
- CSO (Chief Strategy Officer)
Chiefs set company strategy, make higher-stake decisions, and ensure that day-to-day operations support the organization’s tactical goals.
Cold calling any CEO is difficult, but not impossible — if you know how to structure your pitch and how to get past gatekeepers. Such powerful and influential people might be put on a pedestal, but they are human just like us, all with their own priorities. If you can understand how they operate and think, then you will find them much more approachable.
Contrary to belief, C-suite executives don’t sit in their ivory tower all day, making decisions that are accepted by all. In fact, they work hard with leadership teams, constituencies, and shareholders to make sound business decisions.
C-suite executives will always strive to develop new ideas and concepts. They are problem solvers by nature and rely on data when making decisions. They have strong people skills and communicate well with their leadership team, who help spread the burden of decision making.
What C-Suite Executives Think
What Are You Promoting?
All C-suite execs will want to know concise, accurate, data-backed product or service information that is specifically geared to their business.
How Will My Business Improve?
C-suite execs usually haven’t been given their golden titles without making business improvements along their career paths. Getting fantastic business results is one of their key goals, so any product or service that can benefit their organization will always be considered. How you get that message across is a different matter. It would help if you conveyed how your product will help them from the start and the likely changes. If you can show the C-suite how their business will improve with data-backed evidence specific to them and their department, the battle is half won. Putting together the pieces to see the big picture is what it’s all about
What ROI Will I See?
Not all inside sales reps include an ROI metric in their pitches, though this is precisely what the C-suite wants to see. If they are to consider any acquisition, they need to know cost versus gain.
How Long Will This Take?
Although any busy C-suite executive will wonder about how much time it will take for you to pitch to them, their main concern is about their organization and how long your solution will take to implement. Their focus is on business results and how quickly they can see the positive changes.
If your product is as good as another but takes longer to install, taking precious time away from the workforce, you’ll likely get pushed away. If you’re unable to evidence immediate changes, consider breaking down the process into smaller steps, and highlight growing success.
How Simple is Your Solution?
Any CEO will want to know how easy your product or service will be to use. This falls back to how long the change will take until the business operations resume as usual. How much staff training needs to be factored in initially as well as considerations around the customer journey.
What Are the Risks?
When understanding what could possibly go wrong doesn’t mean a CEO doubts your product. It’s their job to ensure there is no business downtime, that there is a back-up plan and what costs would be involved.
C-suite executives will want to ask questions about risks or any problems that might occur and how and when they will be resolved. They would think about the repercussions of signing a contract if things went wrong.
How Will Customer Experience Improve
An IBM study conducted with over twelve thousand C-suite executives from numerous countries reported that over two-thirds expected businesses to highlight customer experience over the product specifics.
The main issue and defining factor for C-suite executives have become customer trust i.e., using data-backed statements has reshaped business offerings.
Decisions will undoubtedly be influenced by finances, but C-suite execs expect personalization, underpinned by data.
Each different C-level role has with it their own priorities. Each “chief” will think slightly differently to another because of their department goals.
Ultimately, busy C-suite executives will want to know precisely what you have that they might want, how they will benefit, how you will solve their problems, at what risk, and at what price.
We’d love to hear your stories about connecting with the C-suite. Or are you a CEO who can tell us what you really think? Share your comments in the section below.