What metrics support the success of engaging with Executives?
Does it, in fact result in higher sales?
This question is what we call a ‘magic bullet question’. Of course, engaging CXOs is not the magic bullet that, by itself will quickly result in jumps in sales and solve a sales person’s problems hitting quarterly sales goals.
Having said that, there are four ways that sales people and their organizations can quantitatively measure the impact of engaging with Executives, all of which can be directly linked to higher sales and margins.
Start by measuring improvements in the breadth and quality of relationships with Executives. This can initially be measured in terms of simple headcount, i.e. how many Executives would take the sales person’s phone call or respond to an email. Likewise the quality of Executive relationships can be measured simply by tracking how frequently the sales person meets with each Executive. It’s obvious that if the sales person never gets a second meeting with an Executive, they failed to establish the quality relationship that would get them invited back. Another relationship metric that can be used as a leading indicator of future sales is the follow-up actions that come out of each Executive meeting. The actions committed to by the Executive and the sales person will eventually lead to new sales opportunities and favorable positioning as a Trusted Business Partner.
Measure improvements in competitive win rates. Many factors can influence competitive win rates. However, it is well known that engaging with the customer’s Executives very early in the decision process – even before the formal buying process starts – is one of the best ways to gain the lead position and influence a competitive buying process. In addition, having a good relationship with Executives often results in getting details about the deal (and even about the competition) that others won’t get.
Measure expansion of your offer portfolio sold into the account. As sales people develop Trusted Business Partner relationships with CXOs, they find more challenges, issues and opportunities that can be addressed through a product or service in their existing portfolio. At the same time, the sales person learns more about what is in his own offer portfolio and the experts within his own company who can best present those products and services to the CXO.
Track new opportunities identified and sold. When sales people focus on the CXO’s challenges and how to help address them, they learn that the CXO starts thinking more in terms of investing the money to address his issue and less about the cost of buying a product or service. This new way of thinking leads to new opportunities to provide products and services that directly address the Executive’s issue. Sometimes, the supplier can even create new value-added services by turning an existing capability into a commercial offer.