Q&A with VK: Creative Strategies for Selling into the C-Suite
Last month, Prolifiq CEO Vrahram Kadkhodaian (aka VK) joined John Barrows, CEO of JB Sales, to discuss creative ways to sell into the C-Suite in 2021. At the end of the webinar, there were a few unanswered questions left behind. We’ve compiled them here along with Vrahram’s answers to give you more strategies and insight for selling into the C-Suite this year.
Connecting with the C-Suite
What is your go-to approach to C-Suite – cold calling, email, or is there a specific method to your outreach process?
Leveraging your network to connect with the C-Suite is the best approach in my opinion. Traditional methods are still important, but if you can use your network to make an introduction via email, call, video message, etc. will be much more effective.
How do we get the C-Suite to understand the challenges their employees are facing to bring everyone together to see how we can help understand and solve the problem?
A bottom-up approach is so valuable in this situation. Interviewing the company and doing “discovery” across the board, with the intangibles along with quantifiable data points, will always resonate with the C-Suite. For example, if you are selling data: cold-calling the C-Suite will not be valuable alone. Much more effective to talk about how the employees are struggling to hit growth targets because the data that they have is outdated, there’s no data-cleansing strategy in place and that our new opportunity growth is suffering because the intended recipient isn’t receiving the data they need.
For the smaller commercial level accounts, reaching out to a CTO or CEO might be the only shot to catch them and turn over a deal. What is the best way to land that conversation knowing you need this person and without them, there is no deal?
Use the broader team to get access and at this point, speak metrics and dollars. That leader is responsible for something that is tied to metrics. If you can get others to help you with an intro that would be my first suggestion, but taking specific metrics that are applicable to them and how you’ve invested “x” with all of these people to turn a reasonable solution that will do ‘y” is typically the best way to get in front of them. Once again, also use your network!
How much time should be spent per C-Suite prospect on average?
Tough question to answer. I don’t know if there is a set time. Rather, ask yourself: are you doing the right things with the time you are spending?
How do you start conversation to C-Suite when your business is quite new without social proof or clients to vouch for you?
Be yourself, be honest, be genuine and talk about what you believe your company can do for them. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’ll be surprised how being genuine with a new company/product can go a long way. Focus on them and their problems.
Would you do a video intro with the connection request, or after connecting?
I’d try both, but prefer to do it upfront because it really drives impact and value out of the gates.
Thoughts on having a backdrop that has the company’s logo that your prospecting to on the video?
Never thought about it – try it, but it might catch people off-guard. And it doesn’t add the aspect of being genuine because the person isn’t getting to know you in your remote environment.
Does it make sense to use video as a first touch? If so, is via email or LinkedIn a better way?
I think it is, but more impactful after an intro. I’d do Linkedin because of their scrubbing capabilities that don’t spoof people by clicking on a link.
Messaging Your Prospects
How do you define a genuine message?
- Don’t send the exact same message to every executive.
- Have humility and speak “normal”
- Discuss the pros and balance it with the cons – there are always cons and it’s up to you to cut to the chase
- Be brief and earn the right to spend “more” time with them after you’ve established a basis of trust
How do you get a prospect’s attention when they don’t have LinkedIn activity and you don’t have a common connection?
Use people in their network to get to them. Leverage others in their company. Establish a baseline with them and see if they can make an introduction for you.