It’s been two weeks since my last post, and that’s quite a bit longer than usual for me. I’ve been on the road visiting existing TAS Group customers and new prospects. While I never look forward to spending so much time on planes, it’s always worthwhile. I always get to learn a lot.
I started this trip with a few thoughts percolating in my mind about challenges facing executives today, and the knock-on challenges that presents for anyone selling to executives. My meetings over the last two weeks have confirmed and further informed my thinking.
My first premise is that executives are busier than ever before. Because of the fluctuating economy, lots of resources were cut during the end of 2008 and all through 2009. Now things are coming back, and there is more activity in the economy generally, but the resources have not necessarily been restored, and we know that employment is certainly not back to where it was. The watchword now is productivity. More is being done with less, and unless you can help your customers with something that is number 1,2, or 3 on their urgent and important list, you’re probably not going to get an audience.
The second thought that I had, which is really just an extension of the first, is that to gain access, or even to get attention, your offer – for the meeting – needs to be really compelling. Before you get a chance to tell your story, you need have figured out a way to make it really attractive for the executive to even take the meeting.
We also know that budget authorization levels require higher sign-off, and even when budgets are allocated, when it gets to the point when a purchase order has to be signed off, the signing pen must once again be wielded by the senior executive, and given the two points above, that will inevitably lead to delays, and in some cases will scupper the deal.
Increasing revenue has always been a combination of identifying more opportunities in your existing accounts, finding new accounts with new opportunities, and maximizing your conversion rate. The input that I’m getting from our customers is that it has never been more important to have a structured way to address each one of these (and thankfully we can help with that).
Each of the senior executives I met with over the past two weeks confirmed this perspective. They’re all really busy. They don’t want extra meetings, and when you do get there – you better have brought your A game.
In short, you better nail it – each step of the way.
Hmmm, just when you thought it might be getting a little easier.