Navigating the C-Suite

Navigating the C-Suite

April 12, 2015

I was fortunate to be joined on this week’s Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast by Jake Dunlap from Skaled who came in to discuss the challenges that arise when you are trying to get ahold of a C-Suite decision maker. Prior to Skaled, Jake helped build sales teams at Glassdoor and Chartbeat. He now consults with startups to help them think through designing their sales practices. Most sales professionals realize that the first step in any sales process is identifying the appropriate decision maker within an organization. Jake extrapolated on this idea and gave us a couple great tips for sales people trying to connect with C-Suite prospects:

(1) Look Past Job Title – When it comes to prospecting look past demographic and job title. Being CIO can mean a million different things depending on the type of company. Use tools like LinkedIn and Salesloft to identify targets and gauge their potential interest.. How long have they been in their role? Do they have a track record of trying new products? Regardless of what your selling make sure that you are looking for keywords that show you this particular person has a higher propensity to purchase something TODAY!

(2) There Are Only So Many Personal Introductions – Start developing techniques that can be used when an introduction is lukewarm. Starting out as a sales rep, you might benefit initially from some personal introductions that generate quick leads. However, you’re going to have to start making some cold calls in the near fute, so the quicker you can start perfecting your cold pitch the better. Get comfortable researching and following a specific company in advance of reaching out . This will help you think through their potential problems ahead of them asking during an initial pitch, which will in turn make you and the company more credible. At the end of the day your cold call should actually never feel “cold.” You should have done enough research before to make it seem like you’ve done business with them before.

(3) Ask Your Difficult Questions Early in the Meeting – There are going to be many times you think you’ve got the attention of a decision maker and realize quickly that you do not. When this happens you’ve got to ask your difficult questions so that the decision maker is forced to engage (or be called upon). One technique for eliciting this action is to ask questions about org structure or information only answerable by a decision maker.

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