Prep for the Executive Conversation

by Britton Manasco | Mar 22, 2011 | Sales Messaging

What's your executive outreach strategy?

Too many companies are excessively reliant on passive mechanisms to generate new leads, appointments, opportunities, and deals. They are leaving money on the table. Lots and lots of it.

They are:

  • Relying on Inbound Marketing: Right now, there's an extraordinary amount of attention focused on "inbound marketing" approaches to generate leads. What this typically means is that you are using email, search engines, or social media to reach your prospects. You put messages and offers out there in the ether and then wait to see who responds. This is great as far as it goes. But it will take more to consistently engage the executive decision makers you want to reach -- assuming you know who they are.
  • Relying on Referrals: It's great to get referrals. It means your customers and partners have confidence in you. But you aren't necessarily getting the business you sought out. You may not get the clients that are most appropriate for your strategy. In fact, you may have to adapt quite a bit to address the needs of referred buyers. Their challenges may not be fully aligned with your company's core strengths.
  • Relying on RFPs: When you respond to an RFP, you are immediately thrust into a dog-eat-dog, race to the bottom situation. You are battling it out in an arena where the criteria for the deal have been set by someone other than you. You are not the trusted advisor, you are just another participant.

If you are engaged in a high dollar, high impact sale and decisions around your solution are made at an executive level, you may want to put some thought into expanding your client development repertoire.

You can begin by formulating your business development strategy around targeted executive outreach. In other words, you'll want to identify and profile  potential buyers –- seeking out the ones who resemble your most profitable and promising existing clients.

This is an "account-driven" approach. You will reach out to specific decision makers with messages and value propositions that are specifically designed for them.

To do so, you'll need provocative messages and value-rich, sales enablement tools. If you challenge your prospect's current thinking and offer a new perspective on their situation, you can earn trust and set the stage for a profitable deal.

Through conversation design, you can ensure your business development people are engaged in executive conversations that help buyers buy, identify pain, and recognize business value.

This may involve some research – some analysis. But the payoffs on this upfront work can be considerable, particularly if you are pursuing large deal sizes.

Deal margins will increase even as the length of your deal cycles decreases. Most importantly, you'll win more deals because you'll be having credible and compelling conversations with the key decision makers.

So don't simply rely on passive marketing. By actively focusing on executive outreach and positioning your people for the executive conversation, you can produce more deals, more profitably.

You can win the clients you want to win.