Everybody wants to reach the highest level. In terms of appointment setting, it means being able to move on from AB-level decision-makers and start engaging C-level executives. CEO, CIO, CFO, all those delicious titles, capable of accelerating your company’s growth as long as you find the right words and cadence.
We could have said that it takes a long way before you’re able to reach C-suite, but this subject has been mentioned in our previous blog posts, so it’s time to stop discussing the basics and start being more precise about the prospects you want to target with your appointment setting.
Naturally, like all the good things, scoring C-level appointments takes time and effort. To be brutally honest, it’s hard! We built our experience through trial and error, research, and dialogue. However, it’s still possible. Let’s go through each step together and see how you can reach productivity at each stage.
1. Identify the right decision-maker
“But I thought a CEO was supposed to be the ultimate decision-maker. Is it wrong?”
Yes, in some companies a CEO makes all the decisions. However, it’s not the same for other companies. So, don’t go in blindly. Sometimes, you may need another C-level executive, such as CIO, CSO, etc. To know for sure, you must build an account map for the organization you’re targeting.
2. Start at the bottom
C-executives often have the last say in the matter. However, their opinion is affected by their employees’ thoughts about the offer — after all, good leaders listen to their teammates before making a decision. Therefore, before you start engaging the C-suite, you must connect with titles within the company and see how the benefits of your product or service apply to their needs. After this, your C-level appointments will go much smoother.
3. Use LinkedIn to find common connections
After taking a look at Step 2, you might think that you have to send emails to all titles in the organization before you can engage C-level executives. Don’t worry, there is no need for that, not when we have such a wonderful platform as LinkedIn. When you add influencer marketing to the mix, you become able to build up authority and communicate with various titles freely, establishing yourself as an expert everybody wants to work with.
4. CC the assistant
C-level executives aren’t strangers to getting sales emails from vendors. It doesn’t mean they appreciate it. For C-suite, time is of the essence and politeness is everything. So, when they receive a message with a sales offer, they view it as an intrusion - and they’re right.
Respect your C-level prospects’ schedule and routine, act softly and carefully. For example, each C-level executive has an assistant who goes through messages and offers, picking out and greenlighting the most valuable ones. Therefore, if you want to introduce yourself properly, meet, and CC your prospects’ assistants first.
5. Keep your pitch brief
The sales pitch is always supposed to be short. However, a pitch for C-suite must be even shorter. In fact, you even have to mention that your pitch is super brief and won’t take much of your recipients’ time.
6. Swap features for benefits
Keep in mind: C-level executives don’t care about features. It doesn’t matter how your product or service works as long as it drives benefits. This is why you must be very convincing about the advantages your product can provide.
7. Make revenue a part of the conversation
To continue the subject mentioned in the previous step, C-level executives care about benefits because benefits mean revenue. Don’t be greedy about financial details: let your prospects know the ROI and CAC they can expect.
8. Give the executive a chance to talk
When your C-level appointment proceeds to the phone conversation, it’s important to take a pause, hear your prospect out. C-level executives carry a lot on their shoulders, so with the right tone and approach, you’ll be able to understand their pain points and plan your response.
9. Be prepared for "I'm not interested"
C-level executives are absolute champions at sales objections and for a good reason. Since they take responsibility for all the good and bad things that happen to the company, they have to be very careful and say “No” more often than “Yes”. Your goal here is not to back down, not to push, but to provide a logical rebuttal that would address their concerns and appeal to their business goals.
Repeating what we said in the beginning, C-level appointments are hard and time-consuming. Get ready to connect with your C-suite at least 6 times before you can start closing the deal.
11. Work with an appointment-setting company
In addition to time and effort, C-level appointments need experience. So, if you’re only starting to target and engage C-level executives, you better join forces with a reliable acquisition partner who can help you avoid the pitfalls and score deals. At Belkins, we build individual appointment-setting strategies for all kinds of decision-makers, so if you have any further questions, we’re here to hear you out. Additionally, you can check out our case study to see our appointment-setting tactics in action!