Selling to the c-level? Senior executives are not equally engaged throughout the buying cycle. In general, they are involved early and late and delegate most decisions in middle part of the buying cycle to others.
The early part of the buying cycle warrants senior executive attention because the overall priority and strategy for the project is defined.
In the middle of the buying cycle attention turns to evaluating competitive options and that is a job for those who will be directly engaged in and are impacted by the project – not the senior executive.
Although the greatest involvement by senior executives is early in the buying cycle, they also become engaged late in the buying process because they have an interest in how the work will be implemented and the results will be measured
If salespeople want to build effective relationships with senior executives they must be engaged with the senior executives early in the buying process. If the contact is first made during the middle phase of the buying cycle when competitive options are being evaluated, then the sales person is reduced to playing a “solution presenter” role. The likely outcome will be a short meeting with a referral to someone lower in the organization. The salesperson is simply too late!
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