I get a lot of phone calls from companies asking me if I can get them meetings with “The President” or “The CEO”.  My first question to them is this:  Why are you trying to sell to the  CEO to begin with?  We’ve heard sales gurus say for years that you should try to penetrate an account at the top and work our way down.  I don’t agree with this strategy.  I recommend that clients choose points of entry within an organization who have a large amount of influence over the decision to purchase and who will be affected the most on a daily basis by the purchase.  Whose life does it make easier?  Whose numbers go through the roof?  Whose budget will it shave thousands of dollars off of?  Start there!  You’ve just increased your targets and your opportunity to penetrate an account by four or five per company.  If your only target is the CEO, your campaign will be short, sweet, and ineffective.

There are a lot of variables for creating effective outbound campaigns.  Usually I start by figuring out how much educating will be required for the campaign, and go from there.  For the following suggestion, I’m assuming that you’re selling a product or service that is reasonably well understood by your prospect, and you’re representing a company that isn’t yet well-known by your prospect.  (Like, for example,  website redesign to a company that has already purchased a website.  They see the value, they understand the product/service, and you want them to buy their next one from you.)  So you’re explaining who YOU are and why YOU are different and wonderful, but you’re not trying to introduce them to a brand new concept.

Start by creating a feature and benefit matrix by department.  Who does it benefit?  How does it benefit them directly?  Using website design again as my example, I would go through it like this:

1.  Human Resources would use the website as a recruiting tool.  Saves time, saves money.

2.  Marketing would use the website for marketing.  Saves time, makes money.

3.  Sales benefits from the new leads marketing is generating from the website. Makes money.

4.  Finance benefits because the new website costs less long-term to maintain than the current website. Saves money.

A pretty simplistic overview, but you get the idea?  Calling the president or the CEO is a wasted phone call – and probably seven or ten or fifteen wasted phone calls.  You can use those fifteen phone calls to map the target company and begin building rapport with the people who are going to benefit from and use your service and champion the purchase.   I think five requests going up work far better than a bump down. 

So “think outside the box” for your next outbound push. Think of a story that new ears will find interesting – then get on the phone and tell it to as many people as you can, every day!

Happy Selling!