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The Key to the C-Suite: What You Need to Know to Sell Successfully to Top Executives Hardcover – June 18, 2011
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With budgets more stringent than ever, important purchasing decisions have moved up the ladder to the C-suite. These days, it is crucial for sales professionals to understand the financial metrics senior level executives use to make strategic buying decisions and be able to communicate the positive effect their products or services will have on a company’s financial statements.
This book shows readers how to build a convincing business case and present it to C-level executives. Readers will discover how to:
• Find key financial information on a prospect
• Determine a corporation’s financial stability
• Clearly define the value of the product or service they are selling
• Calculate the value impact of their offerings in financial metrics
Clarifying how sales packages fit into metrics such as return on asset, return on equity, operating costs, net profit, and earnings, this book reveals how readers can determine their product’s value as perceived by an organization’s ultimate decision makers, and unlock the door to greater sales.
From the Inside Flap
As economic realities press ever more forcefully on business, executives will be keenly aware of the specific financial ramifications of every large buying decision. In fact, they’re unlikely to pull the trigger without the direct and detailed involvement of their own finance teams.
In short, the buy will be tied not just to a general sense of strategy but also to individual, targeted components of a budget or forecast. To sales professionals like you, this means understanding how top executives evaluate and prioritize potential purchases, recognizing the challenges they face, and presenting your product or service as a value proposition.
Packed with real financial knowledge, but geared toward the layman, The Key to the C-Suite identifies and defines ten key financial metrics that C-Suite executives use throughout their buying-decision process and shows you how to build your value proposition and business case to complement theirs. The book also guides you in:
• Defining your value and building a value inventory
• Calculating and communicating your potential value impact on a prospect’s C-Suite metrics
• Discovering and analyzing prospects’ financial information so you can tailor your approach to their financial realities
• Forming and asking the questions that will repeatedly lead your prospect back to your value proposition
• Preparing and delivering the formal presentation to C-level executives
The Key to the C-Suite also provides an array of powerful tools to help you not only redesign your general business approach but also tailor it on a prospect-by-prospect, client-by-client basis. In addition to resource information on where to find financial metrics for corporations in 19 major industries, you will have:
• Clear definitions and examples of the financial metrics used in strategic decision making
• A Value Inventory Matrix tool linking your proposition directly to specific client needs
• Step-by-step instructions for creating the value-focused questions you need to ask
• Presentation tools and strategies, with many real-world examples from the author’s own experience and customer base
• Parallels and links with other major sales methodologies to take advantage of familiarity
• And much more
Each chapter concludes with a detailed summary that neatly encapsulates major concepts and lays the groundwork for your next steps.
Perhaps most important, The Key to the C-Suite helps you understand the financial language and realities that inform and drive every major buying decision. And if that language is the key to the buy, shouldn’t it also be the secret of your sales success?
Michael Nick is the author of ROI Selling, as well as president and founder of ROI4Sales, Inc. He has taught selling techniques, developed sales tools, and implemented sales processes at companies throughout the world, including Hewlett Packard, Microsoft Great Plains, NEC, Emerson, Oracle, S1 Corporation, Rockford Automation, Autodesk, 3E Company, Imation, and TSYS.
Top customer reviews
Nick suggests that you need to know how your product or service impacts these metrics. And understanding your strengths in those areas will help you make a more compelling case to help you sell.
As a former CEO, I have strong opinions of my own on how to sell to CEO's. My top 5 rules include:
1 - Respect the executives' time in all interactions. Most CEOs get hundreds of emails so keep any emails short. Most CEOs get invited to lunch or dinner daily so keep those short. Most CEOs have fairly aggressive schedules so be on time and stick to the time granted.
Anything you can do to save the executive time will help make the sale. I recall one creative sales person who offered to give me a ride to the airport so had my uninterrupted attention for 50 minutes.
2 - Make sure the CEO is the one you need to sell to. Sure it helps if the CEO is onside but many CEOs delegate decisions in many areas to their staff. I recall sitting through a detailed presentation on trucking complete with glossy brochures. After wasting an hour of my time, I simply put a post-it note on the brochure and passed it to my shipping manager "these guys presented to me - call them if you want".
3 - Treat everyone well. How you treat the receptionist, the assistant and the person doing research for the CEO will get back to the CEO. And besides, they are just doing their job and it is lower stress to be nice anyways.
4 - Do your homework. The internet makes it easy to know a lot about the company. Wasting a CEOs time asking questions that are on the web site or that can be readily obtained elsewhere is not a good way to start the sales call.
Use your valuable question time to probe for hot buttons and problems you can help solve.
5 - And after reading The Key to the C-Suite, I do think it is a great idea to know your metrics. This would fall in the category of saving the CEO time. It would also help the CEO make the case for buying from you.
People have the mistaken idea that the CEO makes decisions without having to "sell" anyone themselves. This is not true. CEOs need the buy-in of their staff to ensure good implementation of any purchase.
And finally, like all marketing, there is not only one way to sell to the C-Suite. Situations vary, people make decisions differently, companies are organized differently etc. So use multiple approaches to make the sale.