Gain access to the C-suite and generate new opportunities through strategic conversations
Executive-Level Selling (ELS) is a methodology designed to help sales professionals gain access to high-ranking decision makers and develop lasting trust and credibility with them.
For almost any significant sales opportunity, sellers must be able to gain access to decision-makers with high authority and influence in a buying organization. ELS provides methods and skills for planning the best ways to identify the right executive-level contacts to target, securing access to them, conducting useful and valuable strategic-level conversations with them, and earning return access for future contact. ELS shows sellers how to develop stronger relationships with executive-level buyers.
ELS focuses on helping sellers to develop four essential skills for executive-level selling, each with their own set of useful methods and planning tools.
The Four Essential Executive-Level Selling Skills
ELS is designed for any sales professional who must gain access to and sell effectively to high-ranking buyers – that is, people with high levels of authority and influence in a buying organization.
What is included in the Executive-Level Selling program?
Designed to develop critical skills and methods for selling effectively to executive-level buyers, ELS enables sales professionals to:
Identify the optimal high-ranking decision-makers to contact within a buyer organization
Gain access to executive-level contacts
Collect and process critical information needed for planning effective meetings with executives
Conduct valuable and insightful strategic-level dialogues with executives
Generate new opportunities from strategic-level conversations with executives
Maintain open lines of communications with executive-level buyers
Cultivate long-term, value-based relationships with executives
Multiple Delivery Modality Options
ELS can be learned through live instructor-led training (ILT) workshops, via virtual instructor-led training (vILT) sessions, or online through on-demand eLearning and video-based content. We find that a blended learning approach that incorporates a mix of delivery modalities produces the best results for skill development and method proficiency.
For ILT and vILT delivery, each SPI instructor has been certified to rigorous standards, and they each bring at least 15 years of sales and management experience to ensure their credibility and enhance facilitated discussions. Alternatively, SPI can certify client instructors for in-house delivery and coaching, at the client’s option.
Workshop Topical Agenda
ELS is a modular program, designed to be tailored to the unique requirements of each client. The standard instructor-led ELS workshop is a one-day, highly interactive program, and incorporates online eLearning and in-classroom tools. The standard workshop includes:
Introduction to Executive-Level Selling
Identify why and how executives play a role in strategic buying decisions, and what sellers can do to engage effectively with executive-level buyers
How organizations buy and the importance of the buyer’s planning phase
Why executive involvement varies at different stages of the buying process
Four executive-level selling skills needed to engage effectively with executives
Executive call preparation
Introduce workshop participants and discuss challenges with executive selling
Executive Call Preparation
Identify the information needed to develop an effective business development strategy for contacting a target executive, and how to prepare for that meeting
The three things executives will decide about you and your organization
Where to find key sources of information for executive-level call preparation
How pain drives executive decision-making
How to prepare to deliver a sound executive-level value proposition
Methods for gaining access to executives (sponsors, referrals, direct contact)
Methods for uncovering influencers to help reach executives
Review your pre-workshop assignment research (including an Account Profile)
Executive Call Preparation (Part 1) – Select an opportunity and key players, and identify information gaps and ways to address them
Executive Call Preparation (Part 2) – Identify executive pain, the value of addressing the pain, and the capabilities you can bring to address the pain
Determine your executive business development strategy
Review and practice a conversational model for uncovering and expanding on corporate business initiatives
How to leverage gatekeepers to access executives
How to apply a structured approach for conducting a strategic dialogue with executives aimed at establishing and linking to their core business initiatives
How and when to use email and planning documents to stay engaged with executives after they delegate projects to other customer individuals
Role-Play: Conduct a strategic dialogue with an executive
Develop a dialogue confirmation email and business initiative project plan
Develop methods for helping an executive to initiate new sales opportunities, and then apply techniques for maintaining ongoing contact with the executive
How to further maintain contact with executives during a delegation
How to develop and deliver an executive-level solution presentation
How to handle situations where executives want to stay involved in the execution of a major project
Improve your relationship with the executive by measuring and reporting the value received in a structured manner
How to measure project success and leverage it to improve the relationship
Review the elements of an effective executive business review
Call to Action
Review additional best practices to consider, when applying executive-level selling skills and methods
How to maintain contact with executives
How to improve an executive’s perception (from vendor to “trusted advisor”)
Identify how to apply executive-level selling skills and methods
The ELS workshop is designed with adult learning principles in mind. The program’s instructional materials facilitate participant understanding by using a mix of media to transmit and reinforce key learning points. SPI provides full-color training content in electronic workbooks, for use on participants’ mobile devices or laptop computers, as well as color reference charts, animated presentations, and interactive content, where appropriate.
Participants complete a brief pre-workshop assignment by completing an account profile for a live sales opportunity, which will be used in case study exercises in the workshop.
Useful Sales Tools and Job Aids
The ELS workshop includes a variety of helpful job aids and tools. As participants complete the workshop exercises, they develop proficiency by applying these tools to their live sales opportunities. After the workshop, sellers can use the tools on an ongoing basis for effective execution of executive-level selling skills.
The job aids provided in the ELS program toolkit include:
Account Profile – a document that captures the key criteria for a target company, including the likely challenges they are facing
Pain Chain™ and Value Chain – a graphical depiction of the cause and effect relationship of critical business issues (“pains”) inside an organization, and the value of addressing those issues for a designated opportunity
Executive-Level Business Development Tools – targeted scripts/prompters used to increase a seller’s success rate by stimulating executives’ curiosity and interest
Executive Meeting Agenda – a structure for an effective executive-level strategic sales conversation
Executive-Level Communications – templates for effective post-meeting communications with executive buyers
Executive-Level Presentation Outline – a format for planning effective solution presentations to executives
Success Criteria – a tool for capturing key value metrics of interest to an executive, and for tracking and communicating results
30/60/90-Day Implementation Plan – a planning tool for getting started with opportunity planning principles successfully
Executive-Level Selling provides sales professionals with the skills and methods they need to sell effectively to high-ranking decision-makers. The outcomes of this methodology are higher win rate for sales opportunities, an increase in the number of new sales opportunities created, and a higher level of relationship with and access to executive-level buyers.