Sales people and account managers, as well as their managers have always appreciated that a critical success factor for building a sustainable business is to develop strong relationships with the senior Executives in their accounts. Nevertheless, those same sales people and account managers acknowledge the difficulties in doing this consistently.
In this first in a series of articles on the challenges of engaging with Executives, we present the three challenges identified most often. We also provide some additional tips to overcome the first of these challenges.
COMMON CHALLENGE #1: FOLLOWING AN EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO CONNECTING WITH THE C-SUITE, ESPECIALLY WHEN UNDER TIME AND SALES PRESSURE.
Everyone is under immense pressure to deliver results and it seems as if there are never enough hours in the day. One of the most frequent and most difficult challenges is effectively engaging with CXOs under this kind of pressure. We’ll be frank: successful engagement does require time and preparation. However, if you focus on these time-saving steps, you can make progress and achieve results in the short term.
Tip #1. You don’t need to connect with every CXO. Identify one or two CXOs with whom you do not already have a relationship, people who could significantly impact your short and long-term business goals. And don’t stress about their exact titles; we define a CXO simply as, A) a senior manager responsible for a total business area and accountable for delivering financial results, and B) someone with a strategic, ‘big picture’ view of their business.
Tip #2. Researching these individuals is time-consuming. So, before you dive into that by yourself, send out an internal email to see if anyone in your company is already familiar with them. Find out if any of your current contacts at the CXO’s company could offer insights about urgent challenges they may be facing.
Tip #3. Once you have prioritized the CXOs to develop first and researched their background and likely issues, the next task is to get a meeting with the CXO. Here again, work with the people you already know. Start by connecting with everyone in your company, as well as your existing contacts at the account. Ask if they know other people who could help you connect to the CXO or what topics would grab their attention.
By prioritizing and focusing on just one or two executives, you will see more progress and quicker results. Using information that already exists within your company optimizes preparation time and, best of all, once you have worked through the process with one CXO, you can replicate the same steps with other relevant CXOs. Like anything else, it gets easier the more you do it.
We hope this post has provided you with some insight to help you through your own challenges in engaging CXOs. What other challenges have you faced in building relationships with CXOs? How have you overcome them?