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How are you engaging senior customer stakeholders - executives - during the pandemic?

I'm always trying to maximize the size of any potential deal and to do that, engaging customer executives is key. It's been challenging getting executive attention during the pandemic for most sellers. I have a few thoughts to share but would really like to hear from the community on what is working.

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    • Hi @jamalreimer! You’re right, getting exec’s attention has been harder and mostly I think that’s been because they’ve been on fire-fighting mode most of the year, and they have also been hit by tons of more sales people trying to sell to them.

      That being said, I focused on existing customers, you know, a “defense” move more than just going after new business. Those relationships I had with existing buyers were key to actually keeping my business running. I only started focusing on new business a few months ago, and I’ve leveraged my existing connections rather than going after a classical marketing move.

      That’s helped me for sure!

    • I made the experiece that during covid is was good and important to keep contact with key decision makers in the existing accounts. To protect them as during a crisis more competitors are adressing them. But not to sell agressively right away, rather to update one another on crisis management and simply ask how is the other one is doing during these times. Business came automatically in many cases when making good offers.

      With new customers I believe it is more than ever key to address topics of real and specific value for c-people during the pandemic. For instance securing top line growth, digitalization or reducing cost.

    • @jamalreimer – for any executive, net-new or existing customer, you need to lead with insights. Demonstrate a clear understanding of their business challenges (lead with insight) and shape a value propositions that will appeal to their personal and business drivers.

      We actually seen great engagement with executives as they are looking for strategic direction, and where best to deploy resources and budgets to cope with a changing landscape.

    • Personalized video. I have a really good response rate with this —- targeting Senior VPs and CMOs.

      I know video isn’t a “magic” secret sales tool or anything, but when it comes to breaking through the noise in an executive’s cluttered inbox (or trying to reach a company that doesn’t really have a phone line anymore because everyone working remote), this is the way to go for reaching a high-value prospect.

      I keep the videos short and offer valuable tips—it’s about reciprocity. Gets my foot in the door and makes me stand out.

    • @jamal I have tried Loom video with some success, Product updates etc can be easily shared with a great consumption experience.

    • I’ve also been trying to understand this as well. One thing that seems to be working is talking to them about what their peers are doing and how they’re managing their teams through this. That all being said, this has been more challenging than in the past. A short attention span just got shorter!

    • There are several “plays” to get attention. First, I always try to find a personal item, e.g. a quote from an article, speech, presentation and reflect on the importance of the quote that can segway into why they should talk with you. The second option is to appeal to FOMO and share competitive insights. The third option is to ask a question that starts with “what if…” so you can share your vision of what outcomes are possible from your product/service. The hardest part is to keep your communications short and end with an “ask” – a specific next step. Last, try sending your emails after 6 PM…lately I seem to get more responses from these than ones sent during the workday (9-5).
      Hope this helps.
      Leslie
      P.S. I just joined Sales Hacker and this is my first time to comment!

    • You get pushed down to the level that you sound, so speak strategically and solve problems.

      There are only so many initiatives that one can work on at a time, so figure out a way to get them to realize that your product/service is a strategic initiative for right now.

      Use all channels to get their attention with a curiosity statement with a short value prop (7x execution, 60% savings) and focus on reduced risk & cost saving

    • I think it has to have been harder at the beginning of trying to find everyones accurate contact info. With so many execs going to work from home, it was challenging reaching them on their normal work line. I think one of the best ways to be different is to be extremely thoughtful and find ways to show as much value as possible. I think there are many ways to still shmooze execs too, like in home virtual wine tastings, etc.

    • It’s about high-level business issues. (BI’s) – and the understanding of connecting the dots.
      In the essence only two types from my perspective: $$$ or Regulatory (license to play)
      From insights and inside information of the prospect organization I usually research (thru reach-outs and references) for underlying problems or challenges that are directly linked to one of those two BI’s.
      The more obvious those problems – very often based in people (personal) or processes (doing right things) or technology (capabilities) – will be preventing the executives from fully realizing their strategy.
      Cause $$$ and/or Regulatory are issues are ultimate nominators for realizing a strategy.
      They both need to be there, but in their wrong state they shouldn’t.

    • So far the responses to my question are:

      – stick with existing customers
      – lead with insights
      – leverage personalized videos (like Loom) or articles
      – have business conversations about what industry peers are doing

      These are all great!

      One thing I would add that I am working on is to hold very small (5 people max) executive round table via web conference. I have a customer SVP who is a raving fan. He loves us so much, he has committed to sharing what his global organization has done with our product with five other SVP’s. The smallness and eliteness of the event is attracting other very senior players from other global accounts. We leveraged our CEO and an advisory board member to facilitate the invites and pull it off. I will report back as to how many oppty’s come out of the event next month.

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