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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Selling at C-Level has always been the “holy grail” of selling.

Many people say they do it, but few achieve it.

I recall sitting in a meeting, in a previous company, where a senior manager said that we would run a telesales campaign, to launch a new SaaS based product and we would do it at C-Level.

The notion that every Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (in this case) or in fact any C-Level person is sitting at their desk waiting to be cold called by somebody they don’t know, be pitched to and then will agree to a 30-minute meeting (with or without coffee) is utter, utter fantasy.

Of course, the campaign bombed and the senior manager very soon left to go and work at a competitor.  Phew.

So how do we unlock this?  In fact, it’s very simple.

Think back to the days of multi-level selling.  Salespeople sold to people of the same rank and our managers, the sales directors, were introduced to sales to meet their peers.

The other trick was that as a salesperson you called yourself a director on your business card, hoping this wouldn’t get noticed by a senior business leader.

In the world of social media, hierarchies have reduced.  In fact, C-Level people will talk with people, that can, by definition, offer insight or tell them something they don’t know.  Such as a thought leader, or expert in a given field.

What I’m saying here is that if you take a personal brand to the next level, C-Level people will come to you.

In my previous company, I was getting asked to speak at the board of one of the top five banks in the UK. Where the account team was, I have no idea, but they were not at board level.

Still not convinced?

In the few times I need to do cold outreach, I contacted the managing director of a multi-billion-dollar company on a Thursday. The next Tuesday, I had a meeting with him, his marketing director and his head of public relations (PR).

He reminded me of this, when he mentioned our meeting at the kick off to the social selling / employee advocacy program he is rolling out across his organisation.

Where this goes wrong.

What I have seen is “senior people” in companies with no social presence who are suddenly declared “thought leaders”.  Sorry but they are not.

I often tell people that The Queen of England never introduces herself.  Anybody that has to tell you they are a thought leader isn’t.

My challenge to you is this!

Think about all the resources and budget you are wasting to get cold outreach to middle-ranking and senior people.  How many times can you get through?  Maybe the budget needs to be realigned to meet the needs of the modern buyer?

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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