Did you know your CEO is a great sales tool?
One of your best sales tools is your CEO or senior executive to move a sales-forward or help close a sale.
Business-to-business (B2B) enterprises typically experience longer sale cycles, resulting in a higher cost per sales cycle.
CRM and marketing automation help B2B businesses tie their ROI to those marketing operational costs, so they can identify trends in managing long sales process more efficiently and close more deals.
Pair this with sales enablement tools like SharpSpring’s marketing automation software, and you will see more leads, better sales conversions, and a reduction in operation costs. Matrix Technology Hub, a Denver, Colorado software company, helps B2B business with industry models and technology to drive predictable revenue models.
Selling in today’s market requires a complex, planned process where IT and professional services salespeople need to use every sales technique and sales approach to close business.
One sales tool not used enough, or sometimes incorrectly, is the deployment of your CEO or your senior management team (i.e., CFO, COO, SVP, General Managers) during the sales cycle.
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The Future of Sales Tools and the CEO
In the future, small and mid-sized companies will face increased challenges in maintaining a positive company image, but the benefits of having such an image will also increase. Those companies were energetically favorable image is likely to have an advantage over those that do not.
CEOs and corporate management increasingly realize that relevant target audiences can no longer be treated merely as communication targets; they must be treated as partners in the sales process.
This positive change in objectives has significant consequences for the sales team, who must analyze, understand, and approach their prospects with meaningful and clearly understood arguments.
CEOs in the future are likely to play a more active role in setting sales goals and marketing objectives for their firms. They insist on measurable programs to achieve those goals attaining the best reputation for the company will be an asset prized by senior management.
More chief executives, assuming the responsibility of communing a clear vision and strong values, set aggressive benchmarks on which to build their company reputation and sales goals.
Correctly used, your CEO or senior management can be a successful sales tool that can help you move frozen sales opportunities forward, jumpstart complex negotiations, or mitigate political issues.
Incorrectly deployed, management can end your sales cycle before it starts. To increase your sales success, including the use of management as a tool in your toolbox, but use them sparingly.
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15 Guidelines For Using CEO and Senior Management
- When bringing in senior management during a sales cycle, always give them typed talking points to focus on your sales cycle needs.
- Never use senior management with a prospect who has a title less than Vice President – the goal is to establish a peer-to-peer relationship.
- Communicate to the senior executive the action step you seek to accomplish with this meeting (e.g., proposal, be placed on a shortlist, etc.).
- Don’t let senior management meet your prospects without your approval – the goal is to manage the meeting.
- Prepare a typed prospect overview for your firm’s executive that provides background on the prospect BEFORE they meet with them.
- Don’t invite your CEO or senior executive if he/she is a loose cannon. Their presence is supposed to help you move your deal forward, not backward.
- Keep the executive meeting to LESS THAN one hour. Short, specific, and to the point is the operating model for management.
- Take detailed notes based on all conversations; don’t expect your CEO to remember everything.
- Plot the follow-up steps for your CEO to complete after the meeting (e.g., phone call, email, etc.).
- Only use CEO and senior executives for important or stalled sales cycle issues. Prospects always play to the senior management title in the room. As soon as you bring management, you lose some control.
- Try to make your CEO look good. If they look good — you look good.
- Create a business decision consequence list for your CEO that helps them describe the business consequences that can happen to the buyer if they don’t buy from you, don’t buy at all, or buy from the wrong company. This is called consequence management. Create a typed list for your CEO (and yourself) of the sales objections you expect to hear when you are with the prospect.
- If your CEO is the company founder and helped write the software code, don’t bring them. Often author’s pride in development can overcome them when talking about their IT and get in the way of negotiating. The goal for CEO-to-CEO interaction that it has no emotion — and is all business.
- Accept that CEOs who sell may believe they are the best salespeople in your company (and sometimes they are), so when they “close” your deal, you should expect to hear the process described in detail in your next sales meeting. But if you lose the deal after your CEO’s participation, also remember that they may develop “executive amnesia” about how their contribution affected your sales success.
- Remember, CEO’s of IT companies can give away as much software, maintenance, unique modifications, training or requested services as the prospect would like without asking for anyone’s permission, so if your CEO closes the deal by giving away the store, accept it, collect the commission, and say nothing.
Selling IT is a premeditated sport. Use management as a planned sales step process. One of your best sales tools is your CEO or senior executive to move a sales-forward or help close a sale.
Wrap up on how to use your CEO (or Senior Executives) as a sales tool!
A company’s reputation– and sometimes it’s very survival– depends on how well it communicates with your key target audience, including prospects, stakeholders, the financial community, business groups and partners, suppliers, the media, the general public, and others. The CEO is one of the best sales tools.
This is especially true at the time when businesses are under increased public scrutiny. Strange as it may sound, it is no longer good enough for a company to be ethically and forthright and its sales dealings, it must be perceived as such.
As a result, many sales organizations invest in communication efforts, which ensure that their good deeds are communicated to the right audience. And that’s where the CEO plays a significant role.
Have something to say about your thoughts on using a CEO for your sales tool?
Sales tool categories include customer relationship management (CRM), the CEO, senior management, sales intelligence, sales acceleration, sales gamification, sales analytics, video conferencing, e-signature, account-based marketing, marketing automation, and customer service software.
What is the CEO role?
A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company, whose primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors (the board).
What is the sales cycle?
Sales Cycle. The sales cycle is the process that companies undergo when selling a product to a customer. It encompasses all activities associated with closing sales. Many companies have different steps and activities in their sales cycle, depending on how they define it.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is the strategic, ongoing process of equipping sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to engage buyers effectively.
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