Today’s post is by Matt Conway, an advisor, executive coach and speaker on go-to-market strategy and sales acceleration. Clients who work with him say they dramatically accelerate their time-to-market, revenue, and sales cycles; and improve their win rates.
In today’s hyper-competitive market, what are your new business sales hunters doing differently to accelerate your sales cycle and improve your win rates?
If they’re anything like the growth leaders I work with, they’re making sure their salespeople are prospecting to and speaking with the person who can say yes to what you sell – the ultimate decision maker: the CEO or their designated senior executive.
Most salespeople claim they’re proficient at getting meetings with C-level executives. If I had a dollar for every CV I’ve read that makes this claim…
If that were true, CEOs and other senior executives would do nothing but be in meetings with salespeople. Clearly, this isn’t the case.
So, for those sales leaders who focus their team on getting meetings and having conversations at the highest level, there is an opportunity for significant competitive advantage.
And, if most sales leaders were being candid, they’d admit they’re probably not proficient at getting meetings at this level either – and that’s why most of their salespeople spend their time prospecting to mid-level executives, because they model what their leaders know, do, and expect.
Getting meetings with C-level execs or their senior designate isn’t hard. In fact, it’s often much, much quicker to get an appointment with (or referral from) the CEO than getting a meeting with a mid-ranking exec who is vested in the status quo. This applies in all B2B sales – even if the CEO isn’t the main buyer for the product, service, or solution you sell.
It just takes a mindset tweak and some new skills. Even first-time salespeople can get amazing results very quickly when they know how.
“My first CEO response was under one minute after sending my message!” Nate, Sales Development Representative
“My Senior Enterprise Director has been trying to get into this account for years. I just got a meeting with the VP Operations in six minutes.” Cody, Business Development Associate
So can more experienced sales reps.
“I secured a meeting with a hard-to-reach CEO in 26 minutes and had a meaningful pitch to another client I was trying to engage for 18 months!” Kevin, Sr. Manager, Business Development
“I spent two years with one of my prospects without any response using the old mindset of approaching mid-level managers. After the session, the result was amazing: CEO meeting in nine hours after one email with no follow-up.” Samer, Client Partner
There are three things you can do so your new business sales team gets results like these.
#1: Make sure your value proposition focuses on the outcomes and impact your client can expect – and that other clients get – because of working with you. Rather than saying, “We help companies to…” (which is how most value props start, and why they sound the same) demonstrate immediate credibility and social proof by saying, “Clients like ABC and XYZ say they get (results/outcome/impact) because they choose to work with [name of your company].” “Choose to work with [name of your company]” is actually an embedded suggestion that pre-conditions your potential customer to choose to work with you.
#2: Go high! Once your messaging is more client focused, just switching your attention on getting meetings with more senior executives will mean you get meetings with more senior executives – as senior executives are always on the lookout for new initiatives that will accelerate time to market, increase revenue, decrease costs, improve efficiencies, and more. They’re wired that way. And research shows they appreciate salespeople who bring new ideas to them.
#3: Teach your salespeople to write well or share messages that work. Ask your sales team to send you the prospecting emails/letters that generate the most meetings for them. Tweak them to appeal to senior execs’ motivations and share the best ones with everyone so they’re not reinventing the wheel every day (otherwise, you’re paying your expensive salespeople to be copywriters).
Doing these three things has helped new business salespeople increase the number of appointments they get by 23-53 percent. Even more importantly, appointment to opportunity conversion improves by as much as 94 percent and pipeline increases by as much as 166 percent. And, because these are conversations with true decision makers, salespeople sell more in less time.
If you want to cut through the clutter and fill your sales pipeline with quality opportunities, you must approach prospecting differently than you may be doing today. In the words of Mark Twain: “Whenever you find that you’re on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
And, if you want to accelerate the process, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 647/402-2096. I’ll be happy to share some additional ideas and insights.