Have you ever tried to set up a meeting with a senior-level executive? If so, you know how tough it is to connect with busy executives who are never in their office, rarely answer their phones, and seldom reply to voicemail or e-mail.

To add insult to injury, executive-level assistants are trained to be gatekeepers. They are paid to protect the C-level from unnecessary interruptions— meaning, if you don’t reach your intended target directly, your message might never make it to them.

Thankfully, B2B sales expert Jill Konrath has solved this problem in her book SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers. 

Keep reading if you’re ready to start meeting with and selling to C-level executives.

SNAP—a B2B sales framework aimed at selling to the modern buyer—is a loose acronym explained below:

S– Keep it simple. Every step of the buying process should be easy. If the decision-making and adoption processes are simple, you’ll be more successful.

N– Be invaluable. Today’s buyers are overwhelmed with similar products and services. As a B2B salesperson, it’s your job to highlight the unique value of what you’re selling.

A– Always align. Stay relevant to what your prospects do, need, and hope to achieve.

P– Raise Priorities. Position your product or service as an urgent need or else your prospect will continue to put off buying.

Now, here’s the challenge. As a sales rep, you might find yourself needing to convey all of the aforementioned points in a brief email or voicemail—not once or twice, but up to 14 times if you even want to get your foot in the door (source). It can be a lot to handle if you’re not equipped with the right sales tactics.

Fortunately, we’re here to help! If you’re ready to improve your chances of meeting with C-level executives, we recommend the following strategies:

Pay the price of admission

Did you know that if you increase your direct dial phone number percentage by 1% your sales reps would set 100 more meetings each year (source)? To gain access to the C-suite, sometimes you need to pay to play. Work with a B2B data provider like ZoomInfo to access the contact information you need to bypass gatekeepers, increase connect rates, and close more deals.

Leverage trigger events

Identify occurrences (e.g. new facilities, legislation changes, third-quarter earnings) that create opportunities for lead generation or otherwise indicate a person or company has a need for your product. For example, if you sell compliance training products, new corporate legislation might increase a company’s need for your products.

Stay up-to-date on changes by using automated alert systems and refer to this event when you initiate contact with a new prospect. Dow Jones, Google Alerts, InsideView, and SalesFuel are a few valuable resources for identifying important trigger events.

Ready for the next step on the ladder? Read our guide on landing your dream B2B sales job.

Talk Strategic Value

Executives only involve themselves in key decisions that move their company towards their desired future and revenue goals. Unless you can clearly articulate the unique business value you provide in these key areas, they won’t have time for you. Make sure to clearly address this in your communications.

It’s important that you try not to mention your product, service or company too early on in the conversation. Those details are irrelevant to a C-level executive. If you bring them up in your initial communication, it will sound too much like a sales pitch and you’ll lose the sale before it begins.

Instead, start by explaining the particular pain point you intend to solve. This will show your product you understand their goals and pain points— not to mention, it will grab their attention right away. Once they express an interest in solving that particular paint point, you can move on to talk solutions.

Key Takeaways About Selling to the C-Level

Dealing with senior executives requires lots of preliminary effort and planning. ZoomInfo’s B2B contact database can make your job easier. Contact us today to learn more.

About the author

Molly Clarke

Molly Clarke was the Director of Digital Marketing at ZoomInfo, the leading data intelligence platform for sales and go-to-market organizations.

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