In our work, we meet a lot of sales and marketing leaders who are puzzled as to why their salespeople avoid conversations with executives and miss all the potential benefits those conversations might yield. Salespeople may have the ability to get the meeting, but they don’t feel as though they’re equipped with the right strategies to engage executives and provoke responses. PowerPoints are too dull, and interrogations don’t leave a great impression or elicit a positive response.
Executives want insights. They want to be provoked; they want their current approach to be challenged. If your salespeople can point to things happening in the executive’s industry and show them where they’re at risk, where they’re underperforming, and why that’s happening, the executive will be ready to be led through a conversation about how your company can help them overcome those challenges.
An effective way our customers work toward having better executive conversations is by developing a sales playbook that captures the insights, provocations, and customer stories that salespeople can deploy in conversations. It combines all of your company’s best ideas and strategies into a conversation guide.
A compelling sales tool we recommend is the whiteboard. In the midst of an executive conversation, your salespeople can stand up in front of a whiteboard and lead the conversation by building a visual model of the customer’s future and a framework to solve their problems. This approach affords the executive the opportunity to become engaged in that framework and to work with you and your salespeople.
Having this level of engagement with the executive gives your company time and attention with which to collaborate and further build the solution framework that the executive wants. That time and attention can lead to bigger deals, and your salespeople’s newfound confidence and access to the executive can lead to shorter sales cycles.