How to sell to C-level in B2B: Best tactics and approaches

Josh B.
August 5, 2023
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How to sell to C-level in B2B: Best tactics and approaches

If you’re a salesperson who sells high-ticket products, reaching out to a C-level executive may be your best shot for getting quick deals. C-level executives control budgets, make buying decisions, and initiate purchases with a high annual contract value. Contacting them may also cause shorter sales cycles and make you hit your quota quickly.

But the thing is, before you sell to an executive, you need to pitch to them and set up an appointment. This takes a lot of time and effort. We know this because, at Belkins, we’ve scheduled over 10,000 appointments with C-level executives since 2017. And no, it wasn’t easy! We achieved this through trial and error, research, and dialogue.

In this guide, we’ll share our experiences with generating thousands of appointments with C-level executives.

You’ll learn about the pain points of C-suite, how to prepare before pitching to them, how to win an executive’s attention, and more.

How to sell to C-level in B2B: Best tactics and approaches

Who are C-level executives?

One may wonder, who are these high-level management? These individuals occupy the topmost roles in a company. These are the high ranking directors and administrators. These positions usually begin with the letter C, signifying their elevated roles. They include Chief Executive, Chief Financial and Chief Operating Officers.

Senior administrators and top officials of a corporation own critical and influential jobs. The "C" in C-level stands for "head," and this involves duties like:

The head administrator: Administrator in chief. If the phrases have been employed in a handful of cases, it really is alright to make use of them yet again. The head administrator: Administrator in chief.

"Top technology official: The highest technology official." If the words have been utilized a couple of times, it really is fine to re-employ them.

"The financial leader: Main finance official" The top finance executive: Main money director. The person responsible for the money: The main money person with accountability. The executive accountable for financial aspects: The administrator liable for economic facets.

The highest-ranking marketing administrator or director of a company: the main advertising leader of an organization. If words have been used for a couple of periods, it is okay to repeat them. Variation in sentence structures ought to be there. The meaning of every sentence should stay identical, although they are written in another manner. Rewrite the exact description in the paragraph. The flow of the phrases ought to

"Head of information: The highest-ranking executive in charge of information technology."

"Data manager: The top executive for information assets" No reusing the word "officer" or "CDO". Using the term "manager" instead of officer and "data" instead of "chief". "Information assets" rather than "data".

"Highest-ranking operating executive: Chief executive responsible for running daily operations" The person in charge of overseeing all day-to-day logistical and operational matters is known as the head operating administrator. This managerial post of the individual accountable for overseeing daily functions is called chief operations officer.

"Principal tactic executive" Should the terms happen to be used a couple of occasions, it really is alright to make use of them once more. One who rewrites the section should not generate a tone not usual of a human staying but alternatively people rewriting the section. This implies composing within an all-natural model, without becoming pompous and unnecessarily verbose. You ought to be succ

Those managers do not rise each dawn and wish to acquire a new glittering thing. It is not in their scheme.

When pitching to them, you must ensure that your proposal captures their focus from the very beginning. Every common email says hello to the junk folder or gets a quick erasure. To avoid this being your fate, your messages have to conform with the essential value motivations of top-level bosses.

Who are C-level executives?

Key value drivers of C-level decision-makers:

1. Business Impact:

C-level executives are primarily concerned with the overall impact of a product or service on their business. They want solutions that can drive growth, improve efficiency, and enhance competitiveness.

2. Return on Investment (ROI):

C-level executives are focused on the financial aspects of their decisions. They want to see a clear and measurable ROI on any investment, whether it's in terms of cost savings, revenue generation, or increased productivity.

3. Strategic Alignment:

C-level executives are interested in solutions that align with their strategic goals and long-term vision for the company. They want products or services that fit into their broader business strategy.

Strategic Alignment

4. Innovation and Differentiation:

C-level executives are attracted to innovative solutions that can give their company a competitive edge. They are looking for products or services that are unique and can set them apart from their competitors.

5. Risk Mitigation:

C-level executives want to minimize risks associated with their decisions. They prefer solutions that are reliable, have a proven track record, and come with excellent customer support.

6. Simplified Decision-making:

C-level executives are busy and often have to make complex decisions. They appreciate solutions that make their decision-making process easier by providing clear information and insights.

7. Scalability and Flexibility:

C-level executives are interested in solutions that can scale as their business grows and adapt to changing market conditions. They want products or services that can accommodate their future needs.

Scalability and Flexibility

8. Reputation and Trustworthiness:

C-level executives value relationships with reputable and trustworthy vendors. They are more likely to consider solutions from companies with a strong track record and positive customer feedback.

9. Thought Leadership:

C-level executives appreciate vendors who can demonstrate thought leadership and industry expertise. They want to work with partners who can provide valuable insights and strategic guidance.

10. Team Buy-in:

C-level executives want products or services that their teams will embrace and find easy to use. They are more likely to invest in solutions that have a high adoption rate among their employees.

By understanding these key value drivers, sales professionals can tailor their approach and messaging to resonate with C-level decision-makers. Highlighting how your product or service addresses these drivers can significantly increase your chances of winning over C-level executives and closing deals successfully.

In what way could a convincing sales argument to a highest-level executive be achieved?

Brokers persistently vie for the focus of the top brass. Jonathan Brodsky, creator of Hospara, affirms:

"I receive nearly seventy emails on an average day. If I only focus on the five laboring days of the week, we are speaking approximately one hundred for every single day."

Individuals for example Jonathan couldn't react to all electronic mails, but he certainly replies to some. Why? What makes one revenue proposition work so well when others fall short?

2. Effective sales pitches show the strategic value of a product

The introductory part should reveal you conducted investigation. Initial sentences should indicate you learned specifics regarding the company and issue. The number two, standing alone, seems inadequate to properly convey meaning. Illustrate your understanding of the issue by describing complications and opportunities. Subsequent sentences should demonstrate that you appreciate challenges and achievable solutions. Ignoring the other guidelines provided, here is a revised 7-word sentence: The third point is that three follows two. Use individual instances to sustain statements. It is important to provide examples to support the following crucial claims. The number represented in digit form was four. End by summarizing the main factors.

The process of meticulous examination is challenging, but it raises your chances of receiving feedbacks. As an example , the piece in the email below illustrates our understanding of the possible customer’s difficulty.

This volume of specialization can do the top-level director captivated in listening to you out.

Effective sales pitches show the strategic value of a product

3.Effective sales conversations consist of shared confirmation.

 "Successful sales conversations involve shared proof." "Competent sales talks include public validation." "Efficient sales talks contain communal substantiation." "Effective sales conversations require joint endorsement."

An upper-level administrator may attach more value if they witness evidence. If you received excellent feedback on G2, bring it up. Did you receive recognition from Gartner? Say so. Do you own customer assessments? Summarize and insert them into your proposal.

10 Best Practices for Selling to the C-suite

1. Identify the Right Decision-Maker:

 Target the C-level executive directly responsible for your product or service. Seek referrals from your network to gain credibility.Prior to initiating any outreach attempts, you have to pinpoint your target clientele. And that's not necessarily the chief executive. In some smaller companies with less than one hundred employees, the top executives may personally be responsible for all the crucial choices.Nonetheless, if your goal involves businesses with 200+ members, it is preferable to connect with the top-level executive straightaway liable for the item you are marketing. They may possibly often be your key to initiating a more wide-ranging conversation. Likewise, as they have more to both achieve or forfeit from your product, they are more likely to pay attention to what you need to say.

Following locating the fitting top-level, it’s recommended exercise to get in touch with your firm and industry meshwork to request if anybody has knowledge of the individual. If a person does, that mention may possibly give you trustworthiness, help gain the top-level’s faith, and get you into a discussion with the high-level team.

Identify the Right Decision-Maker

2. Start at the Bottom:

 Engage with lower-level titles and managers first to understand how your offer aligns with their needs before approaching C-level executives.High-ranking decision makers often have the final word in purchase choices. Yet, the ideas of their personnel regarding the deal impact their view on more occasions than not -- afterward, skilled leaders concentrate on their team members before creating a choice.

For that reason, prior to involving the C-suite, connect with other ranks in the company and see how the advantages of your product or service relate to their necessities.

At times, we get in touch with lower-level administrators or administrators like vice presidents, leaders, administrators, and administrators of our goal section . Why? They have a much higher response rate since they are often less occupied and distracted. That mentioned, mid-level administrators might not often link you to their higher-ups, but they could assist you get the scoop regarding what's happening in the company. This information is helpful when connecting with a chief-level executive.

3. Cc the Assistant:

 Show respect to the gatekeeper or assistant by introducing yourself to them before contacting the executive directly.High-ranking company officials aren't unknown to receiving sales emails from suppliers. Since moments are valuable, they see these electronic mails as an interruption. To avoid this interruption, they regularly have gatekeepers or assistants who monitor their electronic mails and organize the routine.

This means that if your email does not obtain the gatekeeper's agreement consent, the high-ranking chief executive could miss it.

Thus what must be done? Show regard to the guardian.

At the time of presenting yourself, fulfill and welcome the prospects' assistants first. Make them your acquaintances by getting in touch with them on a professional network like LinkedIn. This protects you from being a stranger when your messages reach their inboxes.

Cc the Assistant

4. Keep Your Pitch Brief:

 Craft a concise and personalized pitch, showcasing outcomes and benefits rather than focusing on features.Your sales presentation must go right to the core. A leader who has many things planned won't abandon what's on the agenda to check out a long presentation. As is often the case, you would aim to develop a specialized presentation for every leader.

Look at their internet site, take a peek into their social media feeds, understand what they do, and learn what they enjoy and dislike.Go farther to become familiar with developments and trends in the executive's industry.This information helps you become a specialist on the executive and create a pitch that coordinates with their goals and top priorities.

5. Focus on Outcomes: 

C-suite executives care about results, so demonstrate how your product or service can deliver significant outcomes for their company.This good habit is value repeating. Big bosses care not about traits. They care about results. So rework your sales talk and ensure it persuasively clarifies the benefits of your goods.

Did you have some instances of well-known firms who have utilized your product? Such facts touch a nerve with C-level executives, so include them in your proposition. Whichever result would make a top manager wish to speak with you, incorporate it in your presentation.

6. Address Objections:

 Be prepared for objections and provide logical rebuttals that address their concerns and align with their business goals.Leading company officers are experts at sales objections - and with good cause. Since they need to take on accountability for all the great and bad things that come about to the business, they must be very careful and say "no" more often than "yes." The purpose here is not to move back, not to push, but to supply a sensible response that would handle their matters and appeal to their commercial aims.

7. Persevere:

 Don't give up after one attempt; be prepared to send multiple follow-up messages to gain the executive's interest.Arranging revenue meetings with an executive from the most senior management requires patience. So when you first get in touch, be prepared to send a minimum of 6 statements.

In our time with clients, one part that chooses how shortly management replies relies on how much they are keen on your proposition. Our preliminary revenue divisions have achieved instant bookings with top-level executives after sending one email. For what reason? The client had an excellent and fascinating benefit suggestion.

The chiefs together with different top management officers, it tends to endure from 14 days to 21 days. You are likely to get results from your second or third electronic mail. That is what we get at Belkins.


8. Create a Follow-Up Strategy:

 Have a well-thought-out follow-up plan to keep the conversation going and find alternative contacts if needed.Longing to carry on is insufficient. What happens if the high-ranking executive scans your message yet does not answer?

At Belkins, the approach we normally take is to send some reminders helping us get a status revised from top management. If there is no response, we search for extra persons to make contact with, and we also generate a special benefit statement regarding each person.

9. Try Social Selling:

 Utilize LinkedIn and other social platforms to engage with C-suite executives through thought leadership content and direct messages."When electronic mail fails and you are confident an executive in a high-level corporate position continues to warrant the effort, take into account selling through social media on networks like LinkedIn."

"Press the message bell within the manager's profile so you are able to see and remark on their material. The phenomena continues beyond that point. Enter the immediate communication of the most important executives and build a bond with them. While you're at it, realize that timeworn sales practices might not work with them.See how Ash Bhoopathy places it:"

Try Social Selling

10. Consider Hiring an Appointment Setting Agency: 

Outsourcing appointment setting can be beneficial if you lack resources, time, or experience in contacting the C-suite.Having outside help arranging meetings with top executives works if you confront these hardships:

  • The company currently lacks an ample labor force of sales representatives assigned to the role of soliciting orders by convincing clients.
  • "There isn't enough time for you to concentrate on finishing offers."
  • The sales staff lacks experience interacting with chief executive officers.
  • You made an effort to communicate with upper management by electronic mail and through networking platforms but without results.

"In handing over the scheduling to an arrangement fixing firm, one has to take into thought many things:"

  • "Does the company focus on scheduling appointments?"
  • Does the business conduct itself in an open manner regarding its activities?
  • Does evidence show they possess undeniable social confirmation?
  • Does the group feature business know-how?
  • Does a distinct procedure exist? Is there a specific protocol in place? Is there an ordered sequence for carrying out the necessary steps? Does an organized arrangement prevail?
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Josh B.

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