The Boardroom Perspective

If you don’t have much experience selling to the C-Suite (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.), it can seem like a daunting task. In reality, it’s only daunting if you’re not prepared – both in terms of what you plan to say and what you expect your audience to care about.

We carefully address C-Suite selling at every Efficiency Sales Professional Boot Camp because far too many salespeople still get nervous in the boardroom environment. Today, I’d like to share a paper that was published in 2011 by the International Energy Agency and the Institute for Industrial Productivity called, “The Boardroom Perspective: How Does Energy Efficiency Policy Influence Decision Making in Industry.”

While this paper focuses primarily on the influence of energy efficiency policy on C-Suite decision-making, it provides some great insight into the types of questions C-level execs are inclined to ask, and the core values that each one is responsible for upholding. With this knowledge, you as a sales professional are better equipped to approach the boardroom with confidence…and to close the sale! Flip through this paper and see what new insights you might add to your toolkit:

A few additional thoughts before closing…
  1. This paper is set in an international context, so you’ll need to adjust its findings a bit to reflect C-level decision-making in the US market. 
  2. The financial measures mentioned throughout the paper suggest that “Challenger Selling” is in order – if for no other reason than migrating the discussion from SPP/ROI/IRR to more proper metrics when evaluating projects for funding approval. 
  3. Finally, as you walk into any C-level office, ask yourself what that particular officer does for a living and what yardstick is used to measure his/her own success at the company.  For example, the board hires a CEO to manage an enterprise and to grow its valuation.  It should be no surprise that you need to answer the following two questions during your concise presentation:  How will what you are proposing make his/her enterprise easier to manage?  How will what you are proposing make his/her enterprise more valuable?  If you are unwilling to think through the answers to those two questions – connecting the dots between what your offering provides and what this prospect actually seeks – then you risk wasting both your time and your prospect’s.

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