First off, how do you get the initial foot in the door? I’ve found that many executives are more open to meetings and conversations before or after a sales cycle.
At the beginning stage, they want to know what problems could be fixed to support their goals or priorities. Conversations at this point are usually well received because they aren’t about sales. It’s about trying to get on the same page and understand the problems. Of course executives are also interested in how much it’s going to cost, but the dollars are not the sole determining factor. Discuss what they’re really concerned about — resources, investments, ROI, impact, change management — from the outset. Knowing the impact is the first step on the road to consideration.
After that, the executive is going to delegate the project and the sale to someone else. Going through the sales process, you may not have much contact. But in that early meeting, be sure to ask if it would be appropriate to contact them with updates. And they’ll tell you if they will rely on updates from their managers or if you can email a brief update at times. Don’t worry — they will definitely be forthright in what they want to hear and from whom.
The end of the sale offers a second window of opportunity for access. Share the results and the impact of the project. There’s also an opportunity to recognize the employees who have done a really good job implementing or executing on it. They might not get that kind of exposure any other way, and it gives executives an insight on their team they might not have otherwise.