Pitching product and technology to C-level executives is a bankrupt approach that one industry expert cautions, could have a similar affect on channel companies that don’t quickly evolve their sales strategies beyond it.
Crippled economy aside, members of the “C-uite” are largely disinterested in cool enabling technologies and would far prefer a firm focus on the business benefits associated with products and services.
“Sales people typically get trained on product and become experts on the product side, but find they can’t talk to top execs about they address he business goals and objectives of a company,” said telecom industry veteran Scott Bush, president of Bredison & Associates and the featured speaker for Monday’s session, “Taking Your Pitch to the C-Level.”
“C-level executives could care less about the product,” said Bush. “They want to know how it will make them money, make their company more competitive and improve their brands and image.”
According to Bush, sales people can’t afford to miss the mark with top executives who have precious little time for pitches. “You can’t show up and throw up.” He reminds folks that time is money for both the company pitching the product and the C-level executive.
Bush claims sales people need to become multi-lingual in that they need to speak the language of the CEO, CIO and CFO. Why? “Because upper management has budgetary approval whereas, lower level managers and engineers may only have the ability to recommend purchases.”
Bush knows from whence he speaks. “I learned from making mistakes,” he admitted. The consultancy head started his sales career with carrier Cable & Wireless, before taking a management position with Sprint, which led to a six-year stay with Global Crossing.
He began his sales career when technology was king, and queen, and so on, in the sales process and changed his strategy before the industry moved beyond selling cool product capabilities. Now, Bush urges channel partners to do the same.
“People need to start learning the language of C-level executives and [the change] has to be part of the company’s culture so that sales people don’t default to what they know and talk product speeds and feeds,” advises Bush.
To help channel companies, Bush said he will cover five areas where they can go beyond technology and create value for the products they wish to sell to top execs. Each will be accompanied by an anecdote.
The five areas he will help attendees focus on for target customers are: ROI; reducing the cost of time; risk; pain points and image.
In addition, Bush plans to detail five or six tools and techniques that sales people pitching top executives can employ depending upon the problem(s) they have encountered.
Bredison & Associates describes itself as “a global training and coaching company specializing in maximizing performance, increasing productivity, and establishing an effective sales process.” Its client list includes: Home Depot, Hewlett Packard, Nissan, Southwestern Bell Company, PacifiCare, American Management Association, HealthNet and Siemens, among many others.