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02.08.07


Sales Challenges That Prevent Executive Level Access

By Jeff Thull

With the complexity of today's business solutions and their far-reaching affects, more often than not senior level executives are actively involved in the process of assessing the issues and their options.

Yet many companies are finding their best sales and marketing strategies are highly diluted by the time they reach their customers, and their sales professionals are not connecting to the power in the executive suite.

Gaining access and connecting to executive decision makers is one challenge that most sales professionals continue to seek a better solution to. There are seven common challenges that sales professionals need to resolve in order to effectively engage the executive suite. Consider the following situations, how often they occur within your team and how you currently are approaching each.

  1.When was the last time you couldn't connect to the executive's critical business issues and were delegated down to a support level?

Brilliant ideas and valuable products and services fall to indifference if you can't immediately establish credibility and connect to the executive's most pressing issues. Your credibility comes via the relevancy you establish in your introduction by connecting your solutions or capabilities to the business drivers of the executive. By referencing challenges the industry is facing or objectives this company has stated in their public records, the executive will recognize you've thought this through and you couldn't have this conversation with anyone else.

  2.You realized that your strongest contact in your customer's organization no longer held the power to make the buying decision.

In today's highly competitive and volatile marketplace, globalization, consolidation, and centralization are some of the causes of decisions moving to higher levels of power and influence. This movement is forcing even the most experienced sales professionals to expand their expertise and compete at levels not required before. Expecting that a single contact in your customer's organization can and will carry your message effectively is hanging on to thin threads of hope. It is critical that we translate the value we can create at the technical, operational or clinical level to the impact it has on the performance drivers on the executive's dashboard and have those conversations with each executive. By recognizing the dials they are watching and being able to discuss their current measurements and how your solution will impact those measurements is a conversation most executives will be open to discuss.

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  3.Your competition was in the executive suite and you weren't.

Can the competition get to the executive suite and take your account while you believe your relationship is strong at the operations level? Absolutely! Let's face it; your competition would have the advantage. People typically spend more time preparing for a prospect visit than they do for a customer visit. Don't let over-familiarity lull you into understanding less about your customer than your competitor would prepare for. Gain advantage and pull ahead of competitive threats by establishing a broad base of relationships that will preempt and neutralize competitive moves.

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
Jeff Thull, CEO of Prime Resource Group, is a leading edge sales and marketing strategist. He has designed programs for companies like Shell Global Solutions, Seimens, Microsoft, and Georgia-Pacific. Jeff is author of best selling books Mastering the Complex Sale and The Prime Solution, and his latest book Exceptional Selling: How the Best Connect and Win in High Stakes Sales. To download Chapter One visit http://www.primeresource.com, 1.800.876.0378.

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