Why Selling to Top Executives Matters

It’s really important for people who sell things to talk to the big bosses in a company. As buying things gets more complicated, it’s super helpful for salespeople to get to know the top leaders, like CEOs and other “C” titles.

In the past, you could sell things to a manager who wasn’t too high up. But now, big buys usually need a bunch of important people to agree, and these groups often include the top bosses, or the C-suite.

These senior leaders have the power over money, they make the big plans, and they can say yes to big projects in their company. When you talk to these bosses, you can show them how your thing is really helpful and not just something anyone can sell.

Understanding C-Level Decision Makers

A C-level decision maker is someone really high up in a company. They usually have a job title that starts with “C,” like chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or chief financial officer (CFO).

These jobs can be different in every company. In smaller places, the president or the person who started the company might be the top boss. In big companies, there are more C-level jobs, like chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief information officer (CIO).

Sometimes, vice presidents (VPs) or senior vice presidents (SVPs) are also big bosses who make important decisions.

These top bosses have a lot of power to decide on big things, like how to spend money and what direction the company should go. If you want to sell something big or important, you need these bosses to say yes.

Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Top Executives

If you only talk to people who aren’t very high up, you might get stuck talking about small details and not the big picture. And if these people can’t say yes to spending money, your sale might not happen.

Without knowing the big bosses, it’s hard to show how your thing is really special. Other sellers might come in and offer a lower price.

There can be different ideas and problems inside the company you’re selling to. If a top boss isn’t helping your sale, it might get stuck.

If you do make a sale but don’t know the big bosses, it’s hard to sell more things to the company later. You’ll only have a little bit of power.

When salespeople don’t talk to the big bosses, they might miss out on bigger and more important sales. The sales might end up being small and all about the price.

The lesson is: Talking to the big bosses early on is key for salespeople to make bigger sales and handle complicated buys. If they don’t, they could lose a lot of money.

How to Sell to High-Level Executives

When a salesperson wants to sell to a big boss, they need to think big and strategic. But getting to talk to these bosses isn’t easy. They’re really busy, have full schedules, and are often protected by people who keep others away.

Big bosses want to talk to salespeople they see as helpful experts. So, salespeople should work on being known for their skills and success.

Before trying to talk to a big boss, do your research. Know what the company wants to do, what problems they have, and who the important bosses are for what you’re selling.

Big bosses like to see numbers that show how something can make money, save money, or help the company grow.

They also like working with people who give good advice and can make things that fit just right for their company.

The best way to meet a big boss is if someone they trust introduces you. Find people you know who might be able to help you meet the boss.

Busy bosses will make time if you have fresh ideas and helpful info that matches what they want to do. Start with these ideas, not just trying to sell your product.

When talking to big bosses, focus on how what you’re selling can help the whole company, not just the little things it does.

Big bosses care about things that help the whole business. Have people on your team who know about different parts of a business, like money, how things work, and selling stuff.

Buying things usually involves a lot of people and takes time. Keep in touch with the bosses, always giving them new and helpful info.

Decisions in a company happen on three levels: big strategy decisions by top bosses, day-to-day decisions by managers, and everyday choices by regular workers.

Here’s what salespeople might face when selling:

To see if your sales team can sell to a big boss, ask yourself some questions:

The answers will help you know if your team needs to learn how to sell to big bosses.

Many salespeople start selling at a lower level because it’s easier. But if they start too low, they might be talking to someone who can’t really buy anything.

Salespeople might do this because that’s what they were taught, or they feel less important than the big bosses, or they’re not good at finding the right people to talk to.

Being known in your industry helps salespeople get the attention of big bosses.

Sales leaders should help their teams sell smarter, which means talking to the right people right from the start.

Understanding where your thing fits in the customer’s big plan is important for knowing where to start selling.

If you’re selling something common, you might be talking to the right level. But what if your competitor talks to someone with more power? That’s why it’s better to start as high as you can.

Selling to the top level means your thing is part of the big plan. This makes it harder for others to beat you with a lower price.

Starting high up is hard, but it makes everything else easier. After learning how to do this, your team should be better at getting into accounts, keeping clients, and not having to lower prices.

It’s tough but super important to be able to sell to the big bosses. By doing this, you won’t just be another seller, and you can build strong relationships that last a long time.

Learn More About Selling to Top Executives

Find out how our training can help your team get better at selling to the top bosses.

We asked leaders who sell to businesses in different industries about what makes a sales team great.

In our report, “Best Practices of High-Performing Sales Teams,” we share the secrets of the best sales teams.

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