Friday, February 19, 2010

Sell to C-suite with early engagement and added value

A research project by SellXL involving the alignment between sellers and CXO-level executives indicates that those sales professionals who engage early in the strategic decision making phase of the buying process, and connect as a trusted advisor, are the most successful.

According to Stephen J. Bistritz, founder of SellXL, the independent worldwide survey of 500 CXO-level executives reveals that:

> 80% of executives get involved and make important decisions very early in the buying cycle, therefore salespeople must engage early with executives to set the stage for a solution, versus waiting to address an identified need / respond to an RFP. Engaging early means helping the executive understand current business issues, establish project objectives and set overall project strategy.

> Majority of executives want salespeople who are willing to be held accountable, provide value and deliver results. The more quantified these results can be at driving savings or revenue performance, the better.


The bottom-line: Those sales professionals perceived as trusted advisers are the ones that will have the best Cx-level relationships. According to our studies, sales professionals that connect best with executives have acheived:
> 60% higher competitive win rates - engaging when baseline decisions are made vs. responding to RFPs after the competition has set the stage
> 20% higher deal sizes - selling on strategic problem solving and quantified business value vs. feature / function / price.

This makes the focus on Cx-level engagements, and investment in assessment / benchmarking consultative selling tools one of the highest ROI investments sales enablement can make.

However, consultative selling to executives is easier said than done for even the best sales professionals. One way to make connecting easier is with the use of benchmarking and assessment tools. Assessment tools help sales query the executive prospect on issues, capabilities and maturity, helping the executive understand specific issues, and what these issues mean if not addressed / improved. Benchmarking compares the organization with industry peers and leaders to give the executive a feel for how ahead or behind they are in particular areas. Automating these assessments / benchmarks in tools can help the salesperson proactively present this discovery information, and automatically build a roadmap of practice improvements and solutions to help address the largest deficiencies with the highest priority.

The full article on the Cx-level research can be found at: http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100208/FREE/302029998/1446/FREE

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