Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The CEO Sales Trap

The foundation of relationship selling is the ability to establish a connection with decision-makers at a prospective customer.

Who better to champion your product or service than the CEO? They refer you to one of their lieutenants with a positive reference and you are well on your way to securing a new client. Right?

Not so fast, explains Dave Stein of sales consultancy ES Research Group. In an informative post on Oracle’s The Customer Collective Web-based community for sales and marketing professionals, Stein overviews his exchange with the VP of Information Technology at J.R. Simplot Company – a $3B agribusiness company based in Boise, Idaho. (Image courtesy of

In Sales: Calling on the CEO

I have a couple of take-aways from Stein’s post. It’s critical for sales executives promoting an enterprise-level product or service to understand the structure and workings of a prospect company, and to then develop a strategy to identify and build relationships with decision-makers and influencers. This notion seems elementary, yet I suspect many sales organizations fall into the CEO trap at times.

For marketers and corporate communications professionals, we have to align our public relations, social media and lead generation programs to address the information requirements of multiple target audiences. This most likely means different tactics for different targets, as well as close interaction with sales to measure effectiveness.

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