Selling to the C-suite is a whole different ballgame compared to selling to other prospects. They’ve seen it all and heard it all, and they’re not easily impressed. They have gatekeepers, and to get on their calendar, you need to have a compelling message. You also need to be able to speak their language. C-level executives want to talk about their KPIs and ROI, not hear about your sales team’s accolades.

How should you approach selling to the C-suite? To answer this question, Dan Shewan, the senior content manager at ZoomInfo, checked in with some of ZoomInfo’s top salespeople. We share what he learned in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

  1. Make your CTA easy for C-level execs. Instead of trying to pin down a meeting with the CEO, get them to first refer you to the appropriate senior executive. Make it clear how you can help and make it easy for them to refer you to the CEO.
  2. Adapt your pitch accordingly. Not all executive roles are created equally, Shewan says. What works well in one vertical may not work well in another, so tailor your approach for your audience.
  3. Know when to shoot your shot. When should you reach out to a C-suite executive instead of a more junior stakeholder? According to Shewan, you should be crystal-clear on your value proposition. You always need a compelling reason to reach out.
  4. Recognize true objections. When you land a C-suite meeting, it’s more important than ever to recognize and expertly handle objections. Disengagement is a death knell with the C-suite, Shewan says. If they’re tuning you out, he recommends going hard at the biggest value you provide and regaining their attention with your knowledge of their business.
  5. Tactically engage your champions. Selling to the C-suite is easier with outspoken allies on your side, Shewan says. Get to know the middle managers at your prospect’s company. Strive to build in-person relationships with them.
  6. Speak their language. In other words, do your homework before ever reaching out to C-level execs. Make sure you understand who’s in their vertical and subvertical so you can speak intelligently about their business and challenges they’re currently facing.
  7. Don’t waste their time. Shewan recommends being brief, being right and then being gone. Get their attention quickly and maintain control of the conversation. They appreciate it when someone can efficiently manage the discussion and maximize their time.
  8. Leverage the power of networks. Good old-fashioned networking still matters. According to Shewan, a CEO’s connections can help you make inroads with them or move stalled deals forward. When possible, try to go into these meetings with some type of connection to someone on the executive team.

Selling to C-level executives takes practice and patience. Keep showing up and adding value, and eventually you’ll be closing those big deals like a pro.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Dan Shewan is the senior content manager at ZoomInfo, a software and data company.