Our Senior Strategist – Americas, Sara Macauley, suggests that whatever your sales strategy was before, there’s no doubt it will have changed – perhaps considerably – since the events of last year.
For many companies their ‘normal’ approaches to sales are no longer an option. Most trade shows and events have been cancelled, or at best postponed. The informal, personal customer meetings been replaced with Zoom calls where it’s much harder to ‘read the room’ and respond to the subtle signals of the clients.
So sales strategies have been revised. But one area often overlooked or discounted is the positive ‘star power’ of bringing in one of the C Suite to regular customer meetings.
In these ongoing times of uncertainty, showing up to your sales meeting with your CEO can have numerous benefits.
Bringing your senior staff shows you’re invested in your client for the long term. It projects confidence and reassurance. Senior execs can also be useful in building relationships with the higher levels of client management, those with the strategic focus and veto power. And in tough negotiations, CEOs can commit your firm’s resources and get the deal signed, fast.
But it’s not as easy as just sending your CEO a meeting invite. Involving your senior team in sales requires the same careful approach as any aspect of your sales strategy.
Firstly, you need to choose the right person for the job. Assigning the right exec to the right account is critical. Not all execs have the same skillset. Consider what would be best for each client and each situation. What is most important factor for your account; building relationships or generating revenue? Who is best placed to help you achieve that?
Your senior team don’t need to be involved in every meeting, but once brought in there should be a degree of continuity.
Make sure that you get a commitment to invest in your account before you make the introductions.
Secondly, brief well. This will only work if everyone understands the client and their current challenges. What are customer’s pain points and how can you help them? What are the barriers you face in this account, how could your senior partner help you break through them?
Next, set the boundaries. Be clear on what you want from the meeting. Agree your objectives upfront. Everyone needs clear roles and responsibilities. The more thorough the pre-meeting planning, the more successful the meeting will be.
Finally, set time aside for a debriefing following the visit. Bringing in senior execs means your customer’s expectations will be high. You need to ensure you follow through on all of the actions to reap the rewards of your new strategy.
We believe that involving senior members of your company in your sales meetings has the potential to unlock amazing growth opportunities, but only if managed carefully as part of coherent customer engagement plan.