How B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite is a question most organizations selling six or seven digit deals ask themselves. Here are three ways B2B sales reps have effectively sold the C-suite, regardless of their background in finance.
Selling to decision makers is not the easiest objective to accomplish—you must be able to understand the language they use to communicate, collaborate, and make strategic buying decisions with. Finance professionals go to school for years to learn the language—no one expects a sales rep to be a “finance guy.” But every business runs on financial data—if your sales reps can’t have the basic conversation on how your offering impacts the economics and financial health of a company, you will always be left out of the important conversation.
B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite – Using the Income Statement to add Value to the Sale
Utilizing and understanding how an income statement works can shift the paradigm from simple sales rep to trusted advisor. In short, the income statement tells you if the company is making or losing money. Also, you have a direct look at the profit margin which your offering will most likely affect. For example, if you’re selling SaaS and the goal is to reduce costs or increase revenues—profit margin is a metric you will want to understand and have a conversation about.
If you can become aware of your offerings value proposition and know the economic impact, then you have just added a key factor in your final presentation. Your job is to help companies increase their profits by becoming more efficient and having better execution. When your presentation can use financial metrics to prove a company’s profit margin can be more in line or even exceed the average in the market—more C-level executives will want to meet with you.
“The products and services offered in a value proposition have no intrinsic financial value to the customer. Their value comes from their impact on changing the business processes.”
-David Robinson, MD at Robinson Sloan & Associates
B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite – Using the Balance Sheet to Help Structure Your Offering
The balance sheet is by far the most difficult statement to read—its intimidating with dozens of line items. The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the company’s financial condition at a certain point in time—it recognizes the assets (how much they actually own), the liabilities (how much they owe), and the equity (book value). The balance sheet will tell you two crucial points—the liquidity and solvency of the company.
Liquidity is important to know because it can give you insight into how much the company must spend. As a sales rep, if you know the company has cash—you can structure your offering more aggressively and bring to the company’s attention that they have the money to invest. If the company is more illiquid—you can offer a leasing or financing deal that would allow them to use your product without having to spend most of the cash up front.
Knowing a company’s solvency or its ability to sustain operations over an extended period, can save your sales team months of work. If you can tell from the balance sheet that your target company has no solvency and most likely couldn’t buy from you, why waste the time to develop a sales strategy on them?
Time is crucial in each sale—focusing on a target company with no chance of buying your products is a waste of resources. On the other hand, if the target company has solvency and no debt—this is a great opportunity because they have the capacity to work larger deals.
B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite – Using the Cash Flow Statement to Drive More Sales
The most underutilized of the three—the cash flow statement does exactly as it sounds, it analyses the company’s cash flow. This gives you insight into the company’s change in cash year-over-year due to operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities. Your target company can be making a profit but not turning those profits into cash. For your sales team, you will want to know if the company is profitable, making money, and what exactly they do with the money they earn.
Furthermore, the company budgets coincide with the cash coming into and going out of the business. If the cash is tight—the company is less likely to be spending money on new products. But, if there is excess cash then the budgets will be bigger—something to keep in mind for your next offering.
For example, if your SaaS is going to affect the company’s inventory, cash collection period, or added revenue you have a narrative that affects the cash flow statement and will peak the interest of C-level executives. Most companies who turn profits but are losing cash have troubles with collecting on their accounts receivables. If your product can resolve this and you can comprehensively talk about its effect on the cash flow statement—you are miles ahead of your competition.
“The idea may be great, but if it’s not communicated well, it won’t get any traction,”
-Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte, Inc.
It is important to pay attention to the investing activities section of the cash flow statement. This is where you see the company either selling off old equipment or investing into new equipment. The ‘Notes to Consolidated Financial Statement’ in the 10K will give you the exact description of what is being sold or bought. If you can utilize this information and find that your target company is selling off product from your rival vendor—you just found an opportunity to step in and replace them.
B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite – Bottom Line
All three financial statements offer different perspectives as to a company’s financial performance and financial health. They can help you develop a strong list of potential prospects and then guide you into the front and back end of the sale. Knowing your products economic impact on the company and whether they can afford to purchase your products and service can save your team money and resources. The great thing about it, all this information is publicly available and sitting right in front of every sales team. It is on you to act on this information and find an accessible way to interpret all the data.
There are thousands of sales reps across thousands of vendor companies all trying to sell to the same Fortune 1000 of 500 companies. Since they are all competing for a single target company, why not give yourself a differentiated and hard to come by edge?
B2B Sales Reps Successfully Sell the C-Suite say financial analysis before, during and after the deal delivers huge rewards in the sales process for a relatively small amount of effort.
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