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September 22 2019.
Your CEO is a valuable marketing resource.

I have come across many sales engineers & managers, who hesitate to take help of their CEO's * (or CEO level executives) to gain access to key decisions makers. Despite the fact that, no organisation I have come across penalizes its sales guys for using this rich & valuable resource!

With the growing competition & market opportunities, suppliers are expected to provide “more & more value”. So when a salesperson positions his own senior management team as a resource with key customers, it gives a strong message on the commitment and experience available for creating value.

During my interactions with CEO's & similar such Senior executives, I asked them, how would they like to be involved in the sales process – Before, During, and After the call. Here's what they say..

Before the Call.

This checklist suggests the actions CEOs expect before the call, to increase their contribution during customer interaction.

  • Target CEO Time and Resources. Where and when does CEO involvement add the most value?
  • Focus the CEO's time & resources on customers that need to hear from the CEO about culture or process.
  • Use group events to improve access to senior executives.
  • Follow your sales process. CEO's availaibuility doesnt mean you can abandon your normal sales process. His greatest value in a call is in leveraging the sales process, not replacing it with designation.
  • Use the CEO at the right stage in the sales process.
  • Develop a Formal Strategy. No CEO would like to go on a call with an unprepared salesperson.
  • Are the salesperson and the CEO both clear on the reason for this meeting?
  • Never expect your CEO to handle a preliminary or an unqualified call.”

During the Call

  • Don’t assume, just because two CEOs have met, means the work is over. It is observed that most of the organisations prefer the process over personality in sales management.
  • CEO's involvement should not happen accidentally.
  • Share the process goals. Customers are more interested in buying outcomes than inputs. Discuss the tangible result that the proposal will deliver – and not just the ROI.

After the Call.

  • Methodical follow up. As valuable as your CEO's involvement is before and during the call, the impact of the right kind of note or phone call after the call holds equal meaning for the customer. It is observed that many buying decisions are made after the call. This stage may actually be the best opportunity, CEO can communicate personally & let them know we heard them, without the appearance of a 'salestalk'.
  • CEO can share complimentary business opportunities with the customer.
  • Thank the customer…again.

*Examples of the “CEO” level includes include CFO, COO, CMO, Director, President, Sr G.M, etc depending the size of your organisation.


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