The person with the ultimate authority to decide whether to choose you and your solution may not be a member of executive management, but if your deal is large enough, complex enough, or strategic enough, it’s likely that someone in an executive management will have to approve the deal. These are the people with the formal authority to bind your dream client to a deal, even though they may not be the people that actually made the decision (they have been persuaded by and trusted the decision to the people with the real power).
Who They Are
The executive management, or C-Level executives are the people responsible for leading the company and ensuring that they reach their strategic goals and visions.
Executive management is responsible for the firm’s execution, but in a very different way than management stakeholders and end-users. They aren’t as concerned with the transactions, the activities that produce the results. The methods don’t matter as much to them as the result that is produced. If the same result can be produced in a way that improves revenue and profits or reduces costs, executive managers are interested in learning about it.
The executive management is concerned with the bigger picture. They are concerned with their strategy. They are concerned with gaining a competitive advantage that they can sustain for some period of time.
How You Create Value for Executive Management
You create value for executive management by helping them see around corners. They need to know what the future holds, and they need to avoid negative surprises. You create value for them helping them to see the future and by helping them to build a bridge to that future.
To do this, you need to be a leader in your industry. You don’t need to be the leader in the way of company size or revenue, you need to be a leader by being someone that studies their own industry and knows how to use what they know to make a difference for their clients. You can do this in a low weight class. You need the business acumen and situational knowledge this requires, and you create value by aggressively working to gain more and more of it.
Those in executive management don’t benefit from salespeople who are weak and subservient. They want to work with people who are their intellectual equals. They need a partner with ideas that are going to push them beyond where they are presently. They value people that push for growth and that are themselves growing.
The people that are their equals bring them ideas that make a difference. They need new ideas that help propel their company forward.
They need strategic partners who can and will own the outcomes that they sell. You create value for executive management by being someone who can produce results, learn their business, and act as part of their management team. You create value by being someone who can help them to grow and that can grow with them.
How do you create value for the executive management stakeholders of your dream clients?
What do they need from you in order to decide to give you an opportunity?
Who do you have to be to develop the high value, strategic relationships that build lifetime clients?
How are the factors that would cause an executive to choose you different from another stakeholder within their organization?