The Key to the C-suite: What You Need to Know to Sell Successfully to Top Executives

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American Management Association, 2011 - Business & Economics - 188 pages

With budgets more stringent than ever, important purchasing decisions have moved up the ladder to the C-suite. These days, it is crucial for sales professionals to understand the financial metrics senior level executives use to make strategic buying decisions and be able to communicate the positive effect their products or services will have on a company's financial statements.

This book shows readers how to build a convincing business case and present it to C-level executives. Readers will discover how to:

- Find key financial information on a prospect

- Determine a corporation's financial stability

- Clearly define the value of the product or service they are selling

- Calculate the value impact of their offerings in financial metrics

Clarifying how sales packages fit into metrics such as return on asset, return on equity, operating costs, net profit, and earnings, this book reveals how readers can determine their product's value as perceived by an organization's ultimate decision makers, and unlock the door to greater sales.


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CHAPTER 1 The CSuite Effect
CHAPTER 2 Building Your Value Inventory
CHAPTER 3 Identifying Your Prospects Threshold for Pain
CHAPTER 4 Determining Your Value to the CSuite
CHAPTER 5 Collecting Information During Your Sales Process
CHAPTER 6 Creating a Financial Dashboard
CHAPTER 7 Presenting Your CSuite Findings
CHAPTER 8 Building Your Business Case
CHAPTER 9 What They Dont Teach You in Sales Training
CHAPTER 1 0 Assembling the Pieces

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About the author (2011)


Several years ago, Kurt M. Koenig and I published a book called ROI

Selling (Kaplan Publishing, 2004), in which we covered in detail how to

create sales tools focused around return on investment (ROI). Back then,

ROI was a key tool that was required in most complex sales environments.

We had just come out of the dot-com era, and there was a lot of skepticism

about the value that companies could offer. Most organizations were

forced to create some sort of sales tool that performed complex math projecting

positive ROI. This trend lasted for several years until the economy

took another turn for the worse in 2008.

ROI models are still used today in many sales opportunities, with limited

success. However, in the past few years, we have seen economic

changes like never before. Budgets have become even more stringent, decisions

to buy any asset have been put off indefinitely, and important purchasing

decisions have been moved up the ladder into the C-Suite. My

research indicates that most major buying decisions will now include a

financial executive on the team. Once again we are faced with a new era of

selling that will require better sales tools and a new approach. This book is

about creating the tools you will need if you are to interact with, communicate

with, and sell to C-Suite executives.

The Key to the C-Suite introduces many new concepts for selling to

senior executives. These concepts will help you better understand how to

match your value proposition to your prospects’ desire and financial ability

to buy from you. This process requires that you learn about the financial

impact your products and services will have on a prospect’s financial status.

After reading this book, you will be able to recognize key information

about your prospects that will help you determine their financial stability. In

addition, we identify a series of financial metrics that C-level executives use

to make strategic buying decisions. The Key to the C-Suite will teach you how

to discuss the value of your product or service as it relates to these defined

financial metrics. Conveying your value to a prospect must begin the first

time you meet. If you are able to identify your prospect’s issues, pains, and

goals and articulate your value as it relates to the impact on the prospect’s

most widely used financial metrics, then you are one step closer to communicating

with the C-Suite at a different level from your competition.

The first eight chapters each cover a concept that ultimately is used in

building sales tools, leading up to the development of your C-Suite business

case.As you move from chapter to chapter, you will realize the importance

of learning the concepts in one chapter before moving on to the

next. These chapters are laid out to explain the issue, discuss the solutions,

provide examples, and then summarize the ideas for you to use as you

build your own sales tools.

In Chapter 9,we put our concepts to the test in the real world.We asked

some of the best sales trainers, customers, and colleagues to answer one

simple question: “What is it that you were not taught in sales training?” (In

other words, what did you have to learn on your own?) Bryan Flanagan,

Mike Bosworth, Jill Konrath, Keith Rosen, and others tell us what they had

to learn on their own. By applying the principles presented in The Key to the

C-Suite to their comments, we give you some real-world understanding of

how to use the concepts you’ve learned throughout the book.

Our research for this book extends over the past five years and includes

participation from dozens of companies worldwide.We interviewed hundreds

of sales professionals, midlevel managers, and C-level executives from

organizations like Hewlett-Packard, Rockwell Automation, TSYS, Fiserv,

S1, GE, and Emerson Process Controls to develop the concepts and principles

used throughout the book.

Remember, work through each chapter, mastering one chapter at a

time, and you will soon be in the C-Suite successfully selling your products

and services.

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