If your company is like most, more than ever, its success depends on whether your sales team can lead business outcome conversations with C-level and line-of-business executives.
This is especially true if your company sells any kind of technology. Need proof? Consider these facts:
- By the end of the decade, more than 90 percent of technology spending will come from outside of IT organizations, up from 20 percent in 2000. (Source: Gartner1)
- C-level and line-of-business executives are currently spending the same amount of time in “IT pre-purchase” activities as their IT staffs. (Source: IDC2)
If your sales team isn't prepared to confront this new reality and interact successfully with executives, you'll likely lose opportunities to grow your pipeline, shorten sales cycles, and increase deal size.
What's the biggest challenge when selling to executives?
Unlike technical staff buyers, line-of-business executives don’t want to discuss the features and benefits of your technology — often the things salespeople are most comfortable talking about.
Instead, executives want to engage in thought-provoking conversations about how to address the business challenges that keep them awake at night.
Ask yourself, "Can my sales team engage executive-level buyers in compelling business conversations?"
Can they connect your company’s solutions with executive-level concerns? Concerns like how to...
- Reduce costs while managing risks
- Repair or streamline critical business processes
- Develop a defendable competitive advantage
- Improve cash flow and returns on fixed assets
If you want your sales team to close larger deals more quickly, you'll need to equip them with the skills and tools to lead business-focused — rather than product-focused — conversations with executives.
Traditional sales training often fails to prepare people to make the “executive connection.”
Too often, sales training focuses on persuasion, rather than conversation. It emphasizes the formal presentation of products and solutions, rather than how to lead two-way conversations about business outcomes.
Most of the sales organizations Mandel has worked with decided that their sales teams needed a better approach to capturing the attention of executive buyers.
Imagine if your organization, too, were able to radically improve its approach to sales training and focus on readying sales reps to achieve the following:
- Win an executive's attention within the first two minutes of any “Moment of Truth” interaction
- Build credibility and trust through observable executive presence
- Ask thought-provoking, business outcome-oriented questions
- Respond in-the-moment to tough questions from executive buyers
- Plan for and lead business outcome conversations that motivate line-of-business executives to support your proposals
Interested in learning more about how to better connect with executives?
Watch this 3-minute Harvard ManageMentor® video featuring Mandel's Brad Holst: Three Principles to Win Executive Approval.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
Sales professionals need a mix of soft skills to be successful. While rapport building is often considered the top sales skill, listening is the most critical skill for closing sales, and building long-term client relationships.
Learn 3 crucial tips to closing sales, and why listening is the top sales skill of 2021.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
What inspires and motivates people to action? Here’s a hint: it’s not a PowerPoint deck filled with data points and analytics. Learning how to share a powerful story can positively influence others and help your ideas become memorable. Perhaps you need to promote a new idea or close that crucial sale. Learn how some of the most successful business ventures today got their start from sharing a powerful story and how you can make your own narrative work for you.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
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- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
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- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!