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Want To Win Large Deals? Follow the RAMP Method

Prospecting

We all want to get access and sell higher, yet it’s difficult. CXO’s are busy, and often protected by a gatekeeper.

But the payoff is larger deals, more strategic relationships, longer term relationships and the ability to insulate yourself from the competition. 

The question is, how do you get the meeting, and what do you do when you get there?

 

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Today's topic has to do with connecting and selling to senior executives. We've all been told as sales professionals that we should get access higher in the organization, and we should sell at the highest level, yet it's complicated.
 
CXOs are busy, they're often protected by gatekeepers, and they probably don't have a reason to meet with you. The payoff, if we can do this, is we can close more large deals, engage in more strategic relationships, develop longer-term account relationships, and can insulate ourselves from the competition.
 
The question is, how do we get that meeting, and what do we do when we get there?
 
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, CEOs consider only one-fifth of meetings with sales professionals to be of value. This is because the sales professionals who show up to meet with them aren't prepared for the meeting, aren't bringing insights, or aren't clear about the objective and what they're trying to accomplish.
 
Here are four simple steps that can help you sell higher in the organization, and you can think of this as the RAMP Method.
 
 

Research

 The first step, R, is research. You want to identify targets that you are going after by industry, by size, geography. In other words, you're identifying the ideal client profile and the individuals within that account that you would like to sell to.
 
The next step within that research is to map the organization. Who is it that we want to meet with, and what do they care about?
 
This is where we can use LinkedIn, outside resources, you know, things like LeadIQ or DiscoverOrg, as well as coaches and partners we may be working with to find out as much as we can about the individuals within that organization. As we get into our research, we want to look at LinkedIn, we want to look at their annual report. We want to look at their investor presentations to see what insights we can bring to them.
 
Look for account triggers, like changes in leadership, funding, new product launch, and expansion into a new marketplace. How do you think what you're proposing can address their initiatives? The CFO might be interested in cost-cutting or efficiency. The chief sales officer might be ramping up a new sales team or scaling the organization. The VP of product development might be in a new product launch while the CEO might be most concerned about the company image or expanding into a new market.
 
These initiatives may all be spelled out in the 10-K or the investor presentation, and all we have to do is find those two or three things that are most important to the executives we're calling on and then align our solution and talking points accordingly.
 
 

Access 

Once we've done our research, we want to consider how we're going to get access, develop an access strategy. This is where we'll brainstorm how we're going to get that meeting.
 
First off, is there somebody that can give us a referral or an introduction? LinkedIn is invaluable in this case. Who do you know that's connected to that person? Can somebody actually make an introduction? You could also use networking events, trade shows, and other events where you can determine where that individual might be going, or they're speaking at a conference that you can attend.
 
You can also leverage coaches who can provide you valuable insights into what's going on in that organization and what they care about. And then you might leverage your own senior executives. A peer-to-peer invite can sometimes be very useful in getting a response. And then finally think about the value-added services. The extra things you can do without a specific return but in exchange for getting a meeting and getting more visibility.
 
We think of things like sending content in advance, a report, a white paper, something that might be interesting, you know, show up with a gift of content. It might help get that meeting.
 
 

Meeting 

The third step then is to meet and prepare for the meeting. Start by defining a clear objective, what do you hope to accomplish in the meeting? And why is it a good use of their time to spend a few minutes with you learning about your offerings?
 
You'll want to rehearse that meeting and play out the conversation, meet with somebody on your team or your manager, and have them ask the root questions, have them role-play that scenario, and be prepared for how you're going to kick off and conduct the meeting. Next, bring some insights with you. Back to the Harvard study, executives want us to show up and have a point of view, opinion, and some information to bring.
 
So, research and bring those insights with you and be prepared to share them. And then be concise. In general, cut to the chase and be more direct with executives. Be able to support your information with facts and data if necessary and don't spend too much time building rapport over small talk. Executives' time is at a premium and is worth hundreds of dollars an hour. And you want to respect that time and make sure we're very concise in what we're meeting.
 
 

Propose 

The final step is to propose, so what can you do for them and the organization? What would be most valuable for him or her that you've researched, and you can provide? And then what is your ask? If you're going to offer data, services, consulting, what do you want in return for that?
 
Are you looking for an introduction, a chance to propose a future meeting? What is it that you're hoping to get out of that specific meeting? And then what are the next steps? You'll want to summarize. Who's going to do what, and by what time frame? Can you book a follow-up meeting right there? Can you get their commitment?
 
And speaking of follow up, you'll want to send a simple summary and a thank you note outlining what you discussed in the meeting and what the next steps are. Don't forget to thank your referral or the administrative assistant who helped set up the meeting. That will be valuable in the future. And consider a handwritten card or a note. The final step in accessing and selling to executives is to do what you say you're going to do.
 
You've earned that right to be in the meeting to engage with them, and you've outlined a few next steps. Now, follow up on that. Follow up on your commitments and ensure that you're doing what you said during the meeting. By following the RAMP Method, you'll be well-positioned to both access and have a positive meeting with key executives.

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About Ray Makela

Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.