CxOs really don’t want to hear about your features. Tell them this instead.
Ever bounced into a sales pitch all excited about a new feature or piece of technology, only to realize that the decision makers you’re addressing couldn’t care less?
Nobody likes a narcissist who talks about themselves all the time, yet you’re guilty of doing exactly that when you pitch potential customers based on how great your company is and how cutting-edge your products are.
If you want to really engage your prospects and achieve transformational B2B sales, put aside your own agenda and focus on theirs instead.
What CxOs really want to know
Just as you have your own goals and targets, so does the person you’re pitching to. As their eyes glaze over while you explain the innovation behind your latest product feature, what they’re really thinking is ‘Great – but how is this going to help me deliver in my job?’
As a salesperson, you must first understand the problems your client faces – both at a company level and personally. Then, you need to show how your technology can address these problems and increase their revenue or reduce their costs. Make them visualize the difference you can make to their business. How their job will be easier if they work with you.
The details of how your product actually works can be addressed much later on. Technology is meaningless if not tied to a business need.
So, how do you go about delivering this transformational conversation?
Shifting your focus
The bad news is, a customer-driven approach requires much more research and planning than a one-size-fits-all sales pitch. It’s not enough to just find out who the decision maker is and set up an appointment with them to talk about your product. Instead, you need to dig much deeper into the company objectives, structure, mission and history to gain a thorough understanding of the part you can play in working with them.
The good news is that doing this extra work will put you in a much better position to capture the client’s attention and show that you have something valuable to offer them. They don’t even have to love your ideas that much. Which would you prefer: that they buy into who you are as a company but want to work on your ideas, or that they think your product is great but have no interest in working with you?
Here are some things you should be asking yourself as you prepare to pitch with your prospect in mind:
Who is your prospect accountable to and what are their goals/KPIs?
Can you articulate how your ideas can help your customer help their customer?
What stage is the business at, and where is it going?
What challenges, needs and fears are they facing?
In what ways can you help them succeed?
Can you teach them something new about their customers, industry, spending, etc.?
How have you helped previous clients in a similar way, and what specific benefits did they experience?
How will doing business with you impact their job and company success?
If you’re pitching as a team, make sure everyone involved has this information and understands how to build their part of the pitch around it. Although each person is presenting a different element, the core message should be the same: We understand your business, and we can help you.
A new perspective
This idea should filter through into the way your company markets itself, too.
Instead of your message being ‘We sell X’ or ‘We’re number one at Y’, turn it around to ‘We help businesses do X’ or ‘We’ve helped this many clients in your industry achieve Y’. From the outset, show prospects that your focus is on your customers, not yourself.
New technology and software developments will help you to help your clients achieve their goals, but these things should not be the focus of your pitch. Clients who feel that you really, truly care about them are willing to challenge their thinking, and have their best interests at heart are the ones that are most likely to stick around.
By Patricia Reed, who is a results-driven and strategic technology sales, business development, and sales management professional adept at driving innovative technical solutions, advising C-level executives on business transformation and technology integrations, and developing and mentoring teams to provide exceptional customer outcomes and consistently exceed expectations.
She enjoys helping clients improve business functions to drive revenue growth. With an established record of overseeing large-scale transformation projects, and building and developing high-performance teams, Patricia possesses strong technology, presentation, and leadership skills.
She has lived and worked in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Patricia holds an MBA degree in Business Management from UCLA Anderson School of Management and the National University of Singapore (Joint Program). Patricia is also the Founder of Reed Estate.
Link to her LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pa