How to Get to the Decision Maker

How to Get to the Decision Maker

The best salespeople want to collaborate and partner with clients to push their agenda forward and help them solve problems. However, according to Ben Haines, CIO of Box, the majority of salespeople fail to secure even the first meeting with decision makers. Why? They do not do their homework. Haines: “Ninety-nine percent of sales calls are, ‘I would like to know what your IT strategy is and how we can help you.” * Haines further stated that his IT strategy is on the Internet and if you have to ask him what it is, you have not done your homework.

Kim Stevenson, CIO of Intel, has provided similar advice. Do your homework. Know your customers and what is important to them. Stevenson: “You do not do that by asking for a meeting with the CIO and saying, ‘Please tell me your priorities.’ That tells me right off the bat that you did not do your homework and I do not want to talk to you.” Stevenson’s priorities are also available on the Internet. Both Haines and Stevenson spend little time discussing their  strategy and priorities with sellers because they are obtainable through research.

Whether you are engaging the CIO or other CXO, decision-makers need to be very knowledgeable about their business and solving problems within it. The Internet enables them to do a lot of research themselves. Salespeople can no longer memorize product features, functions and pricing information that can be researched online. Great salespeople do their homework and ask thoughtful questions and listen to connect the dots. They then share how they have helped clients solve similar problems, including the thinking and processes used and outcomes achieved.

For example, the value proposition of cloud infrastructure is very compelling. CIOs can read about AWS, Rackspace and others on the Internet. Great salespeople do not discuss product. They share how they have helped other clients migrate workloads from the datacenter to the public cloud. That is, what was the process for thinking through and creating a plan for determining what applications, servers, etc. were cloud-ready? What workloads should be moved first? How did the client exploit their existing and new technology? Do your homework. Collaborate. Be a partner.

* Ben Haines was the CIO of Pabst Brewing at the time of this quote. He is currently the CIO of Box.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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