C-level: what do they do, who are they and how to sell to them?
C-level is one of the many nomenclatures that involve the corporate universe and that are not always readily understood.
Their positions may be many, but the truth is: each professional has a strategic and leadership role within their companies.
They are people responsible for making strategic decisions that will decisively affect the progress of the business. C-level executives are also responsible for leading their teams in each area.
And, when it comes to buying a solution that the company needs, they obviously have to choose between A or B.
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Therefore, a question arises – and you are certainly interested in the answer: how to sell to great executives?
You want to impact as many companies as possible, so you need to aim high.
In this article, we’ll better explain who c-levels are and how you can generate value and impact them to buy your solution.
Come on? Good reading!
What is c-level?
You’ve certainly heard of CEO, CSO, CFO, among other terms, right? These are the c-level positions, also called c-suite.
The letter “c” means “chief”. Which, in Portuguese translation, means “boss”. They are, therefore, leadership positions within organizations.
It is the term, therefore, used to designate the senior executives with the highest hierarchy in any company.
It is common for these decision-making positions to be partners and/or founders of the business. Of course, this is not always the rule.
Many companies may opt for more experienced (even more prepared) professionals to perform this function.
The crucial thing in these cases is to be positive and inspiring within the types of leadership possible within a company.
Understanding the acronyms
Among the main c-level positions, we can mention some of the best known as:
- CEO – It is certainly the most famous acronym. It is the highest hierarchical position in a company, responsible for the entire operation and for keeping the strategic planning in execution ;
- COO – Acts as the CEO’s right hand man. He ensures that the business vision is materialized in actions within the company, taking care of the flows and routine.
- CFO – He is responsible for the financial sector and the possibility of achieving the proposed goals and objectives will pass through it. The finance director is the one who will take care of the capital of the entire business;
- CSO – The sales director is an essential part of success. It will include assertive sales management and business growth;
- CMO – The marketing director is equally important. After all, without efficient brand management it will not be possible to sell or grow;
- CTO – Common in technology companies, especially, the technical director is responsible for the design and quality of the product or service offered.
The qualities a c-level needs to have
To be a c-level executive, you have to combine a number of factors and obviously qualifications.
The factors meet what the company needs and also the context in which it operates. Qualifications, on the other hand, are obviously the skills and knowledge of the person who is looking for the job.
But rest assured that organizations highly value previous experiences and also the places where they worked.
More than that, it is necessary to be a person with good values, who likes people, knows how to lead and, of course, adds to the environment.
Technical skills are clearly crucial, but because this is a management position, again: you have to know how to be a leader.
It is necessary to fit within the company
Behave within the company’s organizational culture and have an attitude of constant leadership and motivation.
That’s why it’s so important to fit into what organizations ask for and act within their mission, vision and values.
But, of course, be sure to qualify, never. So, to be a successful c-level:
- Specialize! Improve your knowledge in the area with postgraduate degrees, MBA, coaching … Also invest in skills to be an immediate leader and know how to extract the most from your teams;
- Update yourself! The market changes and technology impacts our day every day. Therefore, be aware and ahead of innovations and know the best practices immediately within the position you are seeking;
- Promote yourself! Establish your individual brand and be identified by it. Invest i\qn a strong digital presence on LinkedIn and mark your presence at business events. Networking is critical.
- How to sell to c-level? Check out 5 tips
Understanding what a c-level is, what features and how it works is important to know how to sell to them.
When you understand what he believes, what he’s looking for, and what he needs, it’s easier to generate value for him when they’re in contact.
And if that happens, you can be sure that the impact will be positive and the sale will be easier.
We have separated 5 tips for you who want to sell to top executives and understand that you have a differentiated solution at hand.
Also because, in B2B sales, there is usually more than one decision maker in the negotiation. For this reason, you need to have a greater power of persuasion.
It’s no use, of course, having an amazing product or service if you can’t prove – right away – its value.
The maxim of “time is money” is true, especially for directors who always have a very busy routine.
So, you need to prove yourself as soon as possible to get the attention of these executives and then, yes, sell. Check out the tips we’ve separated:
1 – Get to the point
The impact needs to be immediate, remember? So, nothing better than getting straight to the point – and this needs to happen in the qualifying round.
The SDR needs to be consultative and seek to understand the prospect’s reality and listen to the needs that brought them to you.
The issues need to be very well thought out so that they don’t occur in excess. To better understand how to be direct and generate value for those who listen, let’s think about the results that the Going.io survey brings.
The sales conversion rate is directly linked to the number of issues the presales team discovers on the qualifying call.
Teams that uncovered 3-4 issues achieved a sales close rate of up to 85%. The ideal number of questions to be, according to the study, was between 11 and 14.
These findings are essential for the seller to know exactly how to generate value when demonstrating the service or product.
For this reason, it is essential that these discoveries are registered within the sales system so that, within the opportunity, it is easy to find them.
By immediately bringing the solution, the salesperson can be direct, impact and generate value for the c-level executive.
And that will make all the difference to greater persuasiveness, because you will be both didactic and consultative.
2 – Be flexible
As important as it is to have a sales script and follow it, it cannot – ever – be closed. Even more so when it comes to negotiating with high-ranking executives.
Flexibility is crucial, both in speech and timing. The focus on the customer must be the law and, therefore, if you have to reverse the order you are used to working with, do it.
There are basic requirements to meet and you know (or at least you should know) what they are. But when you practice active listening, you realize the lead’s needs, and that’s when you begin to shape the script for him.
The intention is to create a bond of trust and, one of the ways to do that, can be to adopt rapport techniques. At least initially, to make him feel at ease.
Then, ask the relevant questions from the qualification steps and bring the answers at the time of the demo.
3 – Show them you’re a must-see
Your company is unique. Its service has values and differentials that it won’t find in the competition.
You know this, but does the prospect understand the whys or does he remain in doubt? Rest assured that he will also be bidding on the competition, so the race is on full course.
One of the sales methodologies that help you prove yourself to c-level executives is SPIN Selling. You validate the potential customer’s need and go for a deeper look.
Ask about the financial and administrative impacts this has had. Then trigger some mental triggers to create a sense of urgency.
And this can be done by showing a case, in the same area as the prospect, where the client has solved their problems and is scaling up growth.
That is, you will show him how far ahead the competition is and will awaken in him a need to schedule an appointment with your salesperson, for example.
If you are at a more advanced stage of the negotiation, you can make him speed up the decision to close with you.
4 – Add more people to the business
Business-to-business deals are decided more carefully and have a longer sales cycle. But this you already know.
What may be new is that you can add more influencers that can help your business proposal to be successful.
When the seller demonstrates, it is often for more than one person.
At this point, you need to feel which of the c-levels will be more likely to buy, so you can maintain a good relationship with them while the decision-making process is ongoing.
Also, if it’s a big deal, the seller can ask their sales manager to participate in the demo.
This will lend an even greater degree of importance and the prospect will understand this. That your account is important to the company.
Also include in the videoconference someone from the technical area who can clarify any doubts in this area that the client may have.
In short, the more decision makers and influencers in the business, the greater the possibility of the sale being sealed.
5 – Don’t forget to follow up!
The follow up is a vital step in the business process. It’s the moment when you say: “hey, I’m still here!”
And it can happen in multiple steps within the pipeline as it asks for a call to action from the prospect.
When you finish the demo and immediately submit the proposal, you need to be prepared to follow the next steps.
Of course, give the customer time to decide. Understand how complex the business is and know the acceptable waiting margin.
Then go after your answer. Take advantage of email templates that are already configured in your CRM. With that, (again) a sense of urgency is awakened.
You can try to say that the condition is limited (say the deadline), that the products are out of stock.
It’s also a good time to show the competition’s case. And, of course, always be available to clarify any doubts.
Thus, you are able to generate value for c-level executives, show that your solution is efficient and also go towards seeking a more assertive and agile sale.
This is, without a doubt, a very good scenario for any business, isn’t it?
So, how can we help you?
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you gain more opportunities daily.
The first one has some sales techniques for you to put into practice in your business.
The second talks about how the Kanab model helps to organize processes when selling.
C-level is one of the many nomenclatures that involve the corporate universe and that are not always readily understood. Their positions may be many, but the truth is: each professional has a strategic and leadership role within their companies. They are people responsible for making strategic decisions that will decisively affect the progress of the business. C-level…