Follow The Lead

Why calling prospects ‘just to touch base’ is the kiss of death


He's not going to help you close the deal.

There’s the “poseur,” the executive with a zippy title who confidently assures b-to-b sellers that, “I can buy anything,” and “I’m your guy,” but when it comes to signing an NDA he suddenly vanishes like the New York Knicks the day after the regular season ends.  

You also have the “fan,” the executive who is really rooting for you, but, like any fan, has little to no bearing on the outcome of the game. Then there’s the “champion,” an executive in the buying compendium who indeed has legitimate ties to the C-suite and can facilitate a purchase with the folks who have budget. Perhaps most important is the “influencer,” who may not have a fancy title but, because he or she is familiar with the company’s purchasing architecture, has the ears of senior managers who matter.  

They’re a typical cast of characters that b-to-b sales reps must contend with (on various levels) if they are to have any success reaching C-level buyers, according to a recent Webinar sponsored by ZoomInfo. The Webinar, titled, “Earning Executive Attention,” was co-hosted by John Barrows, managing partner of Kensei Partners, and Brett Wallace, VP-sales at ZoomInfo.  

With b-to-b purchasing increasingly diffuse these days, sales reps have to understand a company’s entire organizational chart (and infrastructure) and how each of the different functions relate to one another within the buying dynamic, according to Barrows.  “If you’re selling to one person you’re selling a ‘product,’” he said. “If you’re selling to the organization, now you’re selling a solution.”  

Barrows stressed that sales reps have to be able to distinguish between who is above/below the company’s “power line” and focus on communicating with those execs who are above the line. However, as sales reps navigate the organizational chart they have to be careful to respect every single person within the eco system. 

Barrows provides sound advice on how sales reps can find a company’s “watering holes,” where b-to-b buyers are likely to hang out (LinkedIn groups, for example), and also had some tips on conversation starters with buyers (who generally don’t want to hear from you in the first place) and why calling a prospect “just to touch base” is the kiss of death.  Ask for a “meeting” and you’re buried.  

To access the entire Webinar, here’s the link you can use.  

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May 18, 2010 - Posted by | Lead Generation | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] in that rarefied air around selling to the C-level. Earlier this week we discussed a recent a Webinar that tackled myriad ways that b-to-b sales reps can get in front of C-level execs. In a similar […]

    Pingback by The ego that lurks behind every b-to-b purchase « Follow The Lead | May 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi, I observed this blog once, then lost it. Took me forever to come back and discover it. I wanted to find out what comments you got. Great blog by the way.

    Comment by buick car covers | November 24, 2010 | Reply


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