Several of b2b sales people I have worked with over the past few months have asked me about how do you get to the executive level decision makers?
It is encouraging to heard the passion in these questions as these b2b sales people are truly looking for a way to separate themselves from the thundering herd of traditional sales people.
As we discussed and dialogued the best pathways to the executive suite for these b2b sales people we noticed the same four paths were discussed each time. Therefore, it was easy to determine the Four Pathways to the Executive Suite Connection for a b2b sales opportunity.
The Four Pathways to the Executive Office are…
Cold calls, direct emails and direct mail pathways are some of the most frequently used, however, the research shows it is the least effective as executives strongly discount this type of solicitation. This pathway is best used as a follow-up or keep in contact method.
The strength of this pathway is dependent upon the credibility of the referral with the executive group. The stronger their relationship and credibility with an executive the faster you will get a meeting with the executive. The key is not act like a traditional sales person when you get the time with the executive. In fact, a lunch meeting is a better location for the first meeting due to the causal nature of the introduction.
- Sponsor or Coach
This is the mother lode of successful introductions to the executive suite. Executives seldom turn down a request from one their staff who is recommending a meeting for you. The more networking you can do to meet other managers and professionals within an organizations the greater the opportunity to have the door opened to the executive suite for you.
There is a reason you must cultivate a peer like relationship with a gatekeeper. First, they know what is going on in the organization and will share this information with a person they trust. Second, the gatekeeper usually has the ear of the executive for the highest level discussions. Finally, the executives will take any recommendation made by their assistants. Therefore, you can get a meeting with the executive with the assistance of the gatekeeper.
There you have the four major pathways to the executive suite. Think about which one you can utilize most successfully. Create a strategy for networking with the managers in the organization. Think about ways to engage a sponsor or coach who wants what you have to offer for the organization, yet, knows it will take a higher level executive to grant the approval for your project.