Do you know the top 3 priorities of the executives you’re calling into? I don’t mean in a general way as in “CFOs care about budget,” I mean, do you actually know what they really are? For example, what are the top three priorities of CIOs in the Manufacturing industry? Unfortunately most of us in Sales have a very general understanding of the priorities of the executives we’re trying to get in touch with and we rarely dig much deeper. In order for us to be relevant to the people we’re calling and therefore increase the chances of them responding we really should have a better understanding of the issues they face so we can map our solutions and messaging to their specific needs.
One of the exercises I go through at least once a year is to sit down and identify the main targets I want to go after: CEO, COO, CMO and VP of Sales. I then take a look at the major industries I want to target. Once I have those I do research to find out what the actual priorities of those executives are in those industries. It’s actually not that hard. There’s a really cool new tool out there that I’m using called Google. Have you heard of it? Anyway, all you have to do is type in “CIOs priorities 2014 Manufacturing” and see what comes up. Sometimes you will find directly relevant studies done by Gartner or whoever and other times you’ll just find interesting articles written by people in the field. Here’s an example of an awesome one I came across recently about CIOs: http://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2014/01/10/the-top-10-strategic-cio-issues-for-2014/. Here’s another good one about CMOs: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101543016.
Another thing you can do is go check out the job boards. Do a search on the www.theladders.com or www.careerbuilder.com for the role (CIO) and industry (Retail) that you’re calling into. Everything in that job description are KPIs. If any of your solutions align with those KPIs you can align a message and start making some phone calls.
Once you identify the specific priorities of the people you are targeting and can speak their language then you need to look at your product/service/solution and find the components of it that can add value to those priorities. Ideally, you can find a case study in your marketing materials that speaks to them. I recommend we all take one case study a week and get to know it so we can tell the story. Then, we develop a short and sweet message that talks about a result we were able to achieve for someone like who we’re targeting and aligns with one of their priorities. It can start something like this: “We show CIOs in the Manufacturing industry how to….” One last thing to think about, make sure you only go after one priority at a time and/or you only talk about one component of your solution at a time so you can have multiple reasons to reach out to them in case they don’t respond to the first one. Good luck and happy selling.