How are you effectively reaching out to high level IT contacts (CIO,CTO)to give far enough in the sales process to schedule a needs assessment?
Cold emailing prospects is going the way of cold calling did after wealth of contact information LinkedIn, Data.com, RainKing, and DiscoverOrg presented. Networking through websites such as LinkedIn and referral business are the only two legitimate sources I am getting penetration beyond 1%. I would like to know who else is having success using other avenues.
Reaching the C Suite is part process, and part product.
The process can be tweaked with the right prospecting techniques. I have been able to elevate my prospecting hit rate from the 1-2 % average to 5-10% using a variety of approaches. If you want to learn more about this let me know.
Additionally, if your goal is to get a "needs assessment meeting", then your approach isn't going to work. The C-Suite won't spend their time telling you what they need. They want you to know it already and meet with them to discuss how you are going to help them solve their business issues.
The product part is what Matt Hill mentions below. If you do not have a product/service whose solution is P&L influencing, then the C-Suite isn't going to give it the time of day. You need to focus on selling to the highest level that your product/solution can benefit. In that case, meeting with a senior direction or VP, who has decision making authority will be all you need to get the sales process humming.
I agree that LinkedIn and referrals are the best ways to warm up cold calls, especially to the C Suite. My advice would be to get really good at those tactics. Find someone or something on LinkedIn that will warm up your call and give you and them a reason to speak. If you have a common connection, I always call them first to see if they are willing to do the referral or introduction.
However, don't snooze on the old school tactics of just walking in and talking to someone, or even mailing a direct letter. No one does it any more so it makes you stand out from the crowd, and there is no better way to communicate than face-to-face. That being said, nerds do like interruptions and are not as out going, so lower than the C-Level that might be a challenge. Yes, I said nerds. I am one, so I know of which I speak...
Great question we're all always struggling with Dale!
Regardless of the "channel", making initial contact and getting engagement is all about the messaging you choose. Here's a video that lays out a simple process to follow: http://www.salesnexus.com/blog/sales-ready-starter-kit-video-series
Hi Sir, If you want to reach the good prospects, the solution is quite easy, you need to hire a company exerienced in leads generation and survey to have a good result. However, you'll have to replace quality by quantity, if you can't reach only your targets, you'll have to contact an important number of prospects to expect to reach the good ones.
My two cents - Divide your sales process into three stages. What are you selling ? How are you delivering ? and Why are you trying to sell this to xyz?. Now while connecting with C-levels, you must answer the WHY part before going into How and What (the need assessment).
Do you really want to contact them? Are they highly qualified? Are they the true decision-maker(s)?
Three ways to connect...
1) Call them on the phone, live or voicemail, you say "Here are the top three problems we solve for our existing clients 1, 2, 3." Then ask "Which one is your biggest concern?"
2) Get to a conference where they invest their time. So you'll speak there or take a booth. Now you get time with them, nose to nose. Speaking to show-off your expertise and success stories with their peers. Exhibiting to get a shot at your perfect target market, all in one place (and with one investment).
3) Write an article in a trade magazine they read. You could run an ad, but an article has stronger credibility. Make an offer of something unique or powerful, which means you need a call to action at the end.
I'm coaching sales pros constantly to stop being lazy, hoping social media will win the day at finding buyers. A recent article by Entrepreneur Magazine statistically wrecks the value of lead generation by social media.
Serious about prospecting? Pick one of these three, then add the other two until you gain a presence in your target audience's mind. After that, life becomes easier as you sell.
Unless you are selling an enterprise-changing product or service (and typically 95% of all products and services are not enterprise-changing) you are wasting your time trying to call on the C-level. Calling on the level in an organization that will actually use and benefit from your product and service is a much more productive way to spend your time.
Before I call someone for a needs assessment, I determine that they need what I am selling. One way of doing that is to call them and do a survey or cross-sell via another provider who might know those answers.
BTW, what are you selling?