3 Sales Tips to get response from C-suite executives
Getting a meeting from a C-suite executive of a mid or large corporation is one of the most daunting task for a sales person. This is because unlike other prospects who are in the lower hierarchy of an organization where sales person can pitch in multiple times and try out different ways to approach the prospect, with a C-suite executive, the sales person stands just one shot.


That's the reason why sales professionals should have a fool proof strategy while approaching a C-suite executive while trying to get him for a sales meeting.

Here are 3 tips from my experience which can help you get a reply from CXOs while trying to get their response for a sales meeting:



1. Try asking for a referral within the organization.

Most of the time, top level executives especially CEO, CMO, CFO or COO would be involved with multiple internal tasks that they would hardly get any time for an external sales person which is you. Even if they find your short sales pitch to be interesting, they would hardly have bandwidth for a meeting. This is the reason they would try to defer it. But most of the time, CXOs would be ready to delegate it to their Subordinates or Executive Assistants. 

A few of the executives would refer you to another person in their organization on their own, but not the case with everyone until you ask them for that. So, next time you send a cold email, try asking them for a referral in their organization whom you can talk for discovery interviews or sales meetings.



2. KISS - Keep It Short & Simple

Almost every CXO of an organization is a busy person hardly having any time even for self. During these moments, if you get a chance to talk to him on phone, don't waste his time asking long discovery questions which you can ask others within the same organization. Try to keep your talk short, crisp and to the point instead of trying to blabber round and round about a concept just to gain his attention. Instead of getting his attention, chances are there that you would lose his interest which is lethal in sales.

Hence, the next time you get to talk to a C level executive, try presenting key benefits for him which you can offer via your products, instead of asking him his 5 year vision of his organization and asking generic time consuming questions as to what are their challenges. Ideally you should ask these questions, only if you have a longer meeting planned with the executive especially for discovery interview.



3. Follow Up

Following up is the key to sales success. But it takes a key precedence if you are trying to sell to busy C-suite executives. Often CXOs would be travelling a lot, meeting people around the world. This means he would stay away from his base office often. Chances are there that in his run up to catch up his own work, he would forget about your last meeting. This necessitates that you follow up with the executive by cut-off date before any competitor pitch in and grab the deal.

So, the next time you finish off a meeting with an executive, make sure you ask him when he shall be available for a next meeting and make sure to add that date to your CRM so that it can remind you for another meet up.


I hope you enjoyed reading the post. Do let me know your thoughts on this.

5 features to look before buying a Sales CRM
Very often CEOs and CMOs of startups who are searching for a CRM for their Sales Team find themselves in a confused state. With numerous CRM applications available in the market, they are in a dilemma to choose from various available options.

To decide which CRM is the best for you, you need to list down the functionalities you expect from a CRM system. After my interaction with multiple people in sales on LinkedIn, I found a number of things which are being expected from a CRM.

Sales Manager [Image Credits]
In short, modern sales teams consider following 5 things to be must have functionalities in a CRM without which a CEO or CMO should never purchase a CRM from any vendor.

1. Deals or Leads tracker.

A Good CRM should have a Deals or Leads tracker within it as a primary functionality. With this functionality, your sales team members should be able to add Deals or Leads into your CRM system so that it can be tracked as it traverses through various stages of the sales process which might be analogous to sales stages of New, Contact Made, Meeting Scheduled, Presentation Made, Negotiation, Won or Lost Deals stage, etc. 

  • This gives a transparent view to the sales manager who can visualize as to which deal is stuck at a particular stage for long and need attention or follow ups. 
  • It also helps forecast the sales for upcoming months based on the number of deals or Leads which are present in the sales pipeline based on the conversion ratio of each stage. 
  • This helps you plan the number of deals required at each stage of sales process to have a steady flow of revenue every month.
  • This also helps Sales Managers prioritize the Deals based on multiple parameters like Deal size or Winning probability, etc.


2. Contact Management Functionality

Your CRM should have a Contact Management functionality which helps you organize the contact information of your clients whom you need to interact with regards to the various deals in your sales pipeline. A good Contact Management feature should allow the sales team members to not only add contacts of people but also contact details of a company with which the deal is in sales pipeline. 

  • Most importantly, the contact management functionality should have a sync with your Deals or Leads tracker rather than acting as a separate functionality in silos. 
  • This feature should allow you to visualize the relationship with contacts and deals. Hence, if you view a contact, your CRM should be in a position to give you information on which all deals you are interacting with that contact, the past conversations you had with the concerned contact and other information about the contact which can help you crack the concerned deal.


3. Sales Reporting & Analytics

Your CRM contains lots of data entered into the system about deals, contacts and associated activities happening on each of them. But as a Sales Manager or a CMO or a CEO, what you need to know is the status in terms of numbers. Hence your CRM should give a bird eye view of where do your sales team stand in terms of sales status. 

  • It can be in terms of numbers of upcoming deals in the pipeline, Deals Won or Lost in a specified time period, Reason for winning or losing the deals, Revenue forecast, Deviation of actual revenue from the forecast or sales goal, etc.
  • This helps Sales Managers act instantaneously as and when they observe any anomaly in the Real Time Reports & Analytics 


4. Multi User functionality

Since CRM is to be used by your sales team it should have functionality to support multiple users. Unlike shared spreadsheets shared among multiple users which has no logs of which user updated the excel file, your CRM should track activities of each individual user. 

  • It should enable the team members to stay accountable for their activities and not avoid accountability while entering status trackers which might happen when people are just editing a single excel file shared at a common location as it happens in a conventional companies which are yet to go Digital.


5. Flexibility in designing Sales Processes

Every business is different both in terms of the way they manage their sales process. Hence your sales CRM shouldn't force you to follow a rigid sales process which is difficult for your business due to complexities involved. 

I believe CRM should empower the sales teams rather than creating difficulties for your sales personnel. This means your CRM should be flexible enough to fit in your sales team within it rather than your sales team trying to fit their already established processes as per the CRM.

  • Hence your CRM should allow you to design and re-design your Sales Stages. 
  • Some Organizations might follow sales stages as New Deal, Contacted, Presentation, Negotiation, Won. 
  • While at the same time another Organization might want to design sales stages as New, Contacted via Phone, Proposal Made, Presentation, Demo,  Negotiation, Contract Preparation, Contract Approval etc. 
  • At the same time, some startup Sales Manager would like to experiment with different sales processes until they hit across a process which works out right for them.

Hence a good CRM should empower the sales managers with the flexibility to design their sales processes as and when they require.


Hence before buying your first CRM, do checkout these 5 must have functionalities for your CRM.
Why newbies should focus on Vertical Selling instead of Horizontal Selling
Are you a Newbie just delving into your Sales Career?
or
Are you a Sales Manager looking for assigning a territory to a newbie in your team?

or
Are you a Newbie startup looking to start with Selling your Product or Solution?


If answer to any of these questions is "Yes", 
Then you should focus on Vertical Selling instead of Horizontal Selling!


Surprised? In this post, I would tell you why is that so!


7 Must Have Data Fields in your Sales Deal Tracker
While dealing with multiple activities associated with a sales process like Prospecting, Suspecting, Meeting, Closing, etc, you might have came across a situation where you have a lot of sales deals in your pipeline. A few of these deals would be in its initial stages while a few would be somewhere in the middle of the sales process which is just about to complete. 

SPANCO - 6 Stages of a Sales Cycle for Successful Selling
Hey Fellas,

I was just going through my last year's Sales training workshop notes and just came across the term SPANCO. Being in Sales, you might be hearing this term often. But in case you haven't yet heard about this, Don't worry, we have got you covered!

Go ahead! let's check out SPANCO! Cheers!

SPANCO


SPANCO is an abbreviation of 6 stages of a typical sales cycle which usually occurs during every sales process. This framework was given to the sales community by Xerox. Even though the stages of Sales Cycle in each industry would differ but the basic framework for most of the sales process would typically fit within SPANCO, with minor differences in the case of businesses dealing with specialised products & related consulting.

SPANCO stands for:
S - Suspect
P - Prospect
A - Approach
N - Negotiate
C - Close
O - Order

Let's go through each stage in detail...

Stage 1: SUSPECT

In this stage, a list of leads are idenfied who are suspected to be potential customers. But at this stage of Sales Cycle, it is not confirmed whether they are interested to buy the product offered by the Salesperson or not. It is just a list of leads which has been gathered from multiple sources like Directories, Mail Opt-in lists, Networking platforms, Referrals, etc


Stage 2: PROSPECT

During this stage, a few prospects are identified out of the huge list of Suspects. These prospects are the potential customers who express their interest during the previous Suspecting stage. For. E.g. Consider that you are selling Softwares to a B2B firm. You have been cold calling every lead you had during Suspecting Stage. Let us suppose, out of 100 calls made, 20 leads were found to be interested and would like to meet further. Then those 20 leads are said to be your Prospects.


Stage 3: APPROACH

During this stage, you go on to meet the clients identified during the Prospecting stage. This meeting can happen either Virtually using phone & video calls or Physically by meeting in person. In this stage, the sales person tries to identify the client's requirements, analyse them, perform lead qualification and based on that, tries to present a solution from their  offerings. This happens over several days with multiple meetings each for Need Identification, Sales Presentations, etc


Stage 4: NEGOTIATE

This is one of the most crucial stage of the sales cycle since this can either make or break sales deal. This stage would decide whether the client would buy from you or not. This stage involves negotiation with the clients on the pricing aspect of the deal and its associated terms & conditions. During this stage, you should demonstrate the value of your product to be more than what the customer is going to pay. This is usually done using many techniques like "Balance Sheet Comparison method" for comparing the pricing with respect to your competitor; "TCO" method, wherein you tend to explain the Total Cost of Ownership of your product over a given time period to the client and explain how it would benefit more than the cost he would pay at present.


Stage 5: CLOSE


At this point of sales cycle, the Client would agree to the terms & conditions of the deal or contract. The Deal would be considered to be "Close", when the customer would sign on the contract and would complete all the necessary formalities for issuing a purchase order to you.



Stage 6: ORDER


This is the last stage of the sales cycle, wherein the Client would issue the purchase order and Order fulfilment is done. Once a Purchase Order (PO) is issued, the salesperson has to hand over the PO to the concerned Operations Department or Fulfilment or Delivery Team which would carry it forward. The client's responsibility is transferred to the Delivery Team. This marks the end of the sales cycle for that particular deal.


Moreover, this does not ends here. Successful Sales teams go beyond these stages and maintain a better customer relationship even after the "Order" stage of the sales process. Maintaining a long term relationship with the client equips the sales team with Upsell and Cross-sell opportunity, thus increasing the Customer Life Time Value (CLTV) of that particular client. This is extremely important considering the fact that:
Acquiring a New Client is 10x times more expensive than Retaining them
I hope this article helped you gain a good insight into the various stages of a sales process...

Stay tuned for more such posts to help you boost your Sales!


SPIN Selling method to accelerate your Sales towards Closure
If you have been doing B2B Sales, then SPIN selling must be a familiar term for you. If it is not, then its high time you adopt SPIN selling methodology within your sales process.

SPIN Selling is a sales methodology practiced globally by many major corporates for their Enterprise Sales. This methodology comes from the infamous book titled "SPIN Selling" by Neil Rackham which was developed from the studies done over 35,000 Sales calls over many years.