The Key to the C-Suite
What You Need to Know to Sell Successfully to Top Executives
Author: Michael J. Nick
Pub Date: June 2011
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814438947
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417317
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I N T R O D U C T I O N
Several years ago, Kurt M. Koenig and I published a book called ROI
Selling (Kaplan Publishing, 2004), in which we covered in detail how to
create sales tools focused around return on investment (ROI). Back then,
ROI was a key tool that was required in most complex sales environments.
We had just come out of the dot-com era, and there was a lot of skepticism
about the value that companies could offer. Most organizations were
forced to create some sort of sales tool that performed complex math projecting
positive ROI. This trend lasted for several years until the economy
took another turn for the worse in 2008.
ROI models are still used today in many sales opportunities, with limited
success. However, in the past few years, we have seen economic
changes like never before. Budgets have become even more stringent, decisions
to buy any asset have been put off indefinitely, and important purchasing
decisions have been moved up the ladder into the C-Suite. My
research indicates that most major buying decisions will now include a
financial executive on the team. Once again we are faced with a new era of
selling that will require better sales tools and a new approach. This book is
about creating the tools you will need if you are to interact with, communicate
with, and sell to C-Suite executives.
The Key to the C-Suite introduces many new concepts for selling to
senior executives. These concepts will help you better understand how to
match your value proposition to your prospects’ desire and financial ability
to buy from you. This process requires that you learn about the financial
impact your products and services will have on a prospect’s financial status.
After reading this book, you will be able to recognize key information
about your prospects that will help you determine their financial stability. In
addition, we identify a series of financial metrics that C-level executives use
to make strategic buying decisions. The Key to the C-Suite will teach you how
to discuss the value of your product or service as it relates to these defined
financial metrics. Conveying your value to a prospect must begin the first
time you meet. If you are able to identify your prospect’s issues, pains, and
goals and articulate your value as it relates to the impact on the prospect’s
most widely used financial metrics, then you are one step closer to communicating
with the C-Suite at a different level from your competition.
The first eight chapters each cover a concept that ultimately is used in
building sales tools, leading up to the development of your C-Suite business
case.As you move from chapter to chapter, you will realize the importance
of learning the concepts in one chapter before moving on to the
next. These chapters are laid out to explain the issue, discuss the solutions,
provide examples, and then summarize the ideas for you to use as you
build your own sales tools.
In Chapter 9,we put our concepts to the test in the real world.We asked
some of the best sales trainers, customers, and colleagues to answer one
simple question: “What is it that you were not taught in sales training?” (In
other words, what did you have to learn on your own?) Bryan Flanagan,
Mike Bosworth, Jill Konrath, Keith Rosen, and others tell us what they had
to learn on their own. By applying the principles presented in The Key to the
C-Suite to their comments, we give you some real-world understanding of
how to use the concepts you’ve learned throughout the book.
Our research for this book extends over the past five years and includes
participation from dozens of companies worldwide.We interviewed hundreds
of sales professionals, midlevel managers, and C-level executives from
organizations like Hewlett-Packard, Rockwell Automation, TSYS, Fiserv,
S1, GE, and Emerson Process Controls to develop the concepts and principles
used throughout the book.
Remember, work through each chapter, mastering one chapter at a
time, and you will soon be in the C-Suite successfully selling your products
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