Watch Selling To The CIO

Mark your Calendar for June 27th at 11am! Click on to watch David Silverstein, Regional V.P. of ePlus and Author on “That Sales Show with Donna V.”  Donna is a Sales Performance and Leadership Coach at Enterprise Sales Institute.

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Respect the CIO….


Are you kidding me?

How would you seek to do business with the CEO? Would you have a different approach for the CEO of one million dollar per year firm, how about for a start-up, versus a 100 million dollar one, versus 500 million plus? How about one billion and up?

In any of these cases, would you consider calling the CEO’s office and leaving a message on voicemail that you will be “in the area” and want to stop by to introduce yourself?

Perhaps instead you would have an inside sales rep or call on behalf of “person X, our vice president” or “director” and state that they “are going to be in your area next Tuesday and would like to stop by for a few minutes to discuss our offering.”

Of course not. It is a ridiculous approach. So why on earth do you do this with CIOs?

This is a technique that is reminiscent of the copier salesperson in the 1980s. I suspect this was probably once taught as an official approach by one copier pioneer and migrated to other organizations.

Do you really see this as a model that will work for the CIO? What if you stratified organizations in the same way that I noted above, would you use the same tactic for every one? This approach demonstrates a real ignorance, a lack of any sophistication into understanding the operations of your prospect organization.

There are so many things that are fundamentally wrong with this approach and for know, I’ll express that it shows that you do not understand how others use their time. This is a very immature approach and it does not even factor in the concept of decision structures and entry points, which I’ll tackle in future blogs.

Every single day, in the pursuit of sales, there is an assault on me by 25-30 organizations. These messages, if thought to be polite, targeted approaches to the top of the IT food chain are instead futile.

This particular message was left at my office this week. (with names and numbers changed to protect the guilty).

Not only is this the wrong approach, in hearing the message it was obvious that is was scripted and the person reading the script had poor delivery, simply by the fact that his word flow did not match any natural speaking pace, with pauses and starts lining up more with the carriage return than they did with the intended message and sentence structure.

Here is the message translated to text:

“Hello, this is Chip S. form ABC Consulting. We are an IT staffing and consulting company and I was going to be in your area next Tuesday and Thursday and wanted to know if I can stop by and introduce myself and see what possible needs you may have in the coming month. Please give me a call when you have the opportunity. 555-1212 extension 270, 555-1212 extension 270. Thanks in advance for your time.”

Chip did not receive a call back.

-Mr. CIO Talks
Mr. CIO Talks has spent the last 20+ years working with information technology. He has been a start-up entrepreneur; worked in a consulting and sales capacity, led IT organizations, along with other responsibilities in addition to CIO. He has held IT leadership responsibility across several industries and in global geographies. He has served in an executive officer role in both times of market growth and contraction. He has served on the boards of several organizations, from board chair to committee chair, to board member; from the publicly traded firm to the not-for-profit, to government appointed. He currently spends his time as a CIO,  board member,  volunteer, and an advisor.

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Sell Me Nothing, Gain Everything

My biggest “pain point” many days is aggressive sales people.  Let’s be serious, we both know you are not really trying to solve my problem or enable my success, you are merely trying to make a sale. You clog my inbox, seek to waste my time in increments of “just 15 minutes” and feel the need to call to make sure I got the email I am ignoring.

So, you have a choice of two paths: the low return activity of forcefully attempting to close a single sale or the high return activity of developing a relationship and expanding your network.  Many of you will choose to pursue path 1 and chase the outcome that is less likely to succeed.  The results will, unsurprisingly, be less than you desired and more painful than you hoped.  Is the prospect of bull-rushing your way into one possible transaction really more exciting and rewarding than the prospect of expanding your network and the possibilities that come with a wider set of connections?

The two paths are pretty simple:

Path 1:
–    establish a relationship
–    gain my trust
–    gain access to my network
–    sell nothing to me
–    expand your audience and influence

Path 2:
–    sell hard to me
–    annoy me
–    lose potential access to my network
–    get poor reviews when I am asked
–    go do the same hard sell to everyone in my network and get the same results

We (yes, you and I both) want to do business with people we like and trust.  Why not treat me like you would want to be treated?  Today, try something different and seek to build relationships, make connections and develop a network.  The network will “do the work for you” by increasing your reputation, your referrals and ultimately your business.  It all starts with the focus on the relationship above the transaction.
Happy Connecting!

by Mr. CMIO

Mr. CMIO is a 20 year veteran in IT who has done almost every role in applications, infrastructure, and management.   Most of his adult working life has been in the financial services industry where he does constant battle to keep regulators and auditors from making things harder and worse.  After dealing with regulators and auditors, sales people don’t scare him and he’d really like them to actually help him.

Mr. CMIO has twice created the CIO role for public companies and is known as a mentor and coach who has developed other senior IT executives.  He is active in industry and community organizations developing the next generation of leaders.   In the last 5 years, he has taken on the additional roles of running business process improvement, new business launches, and chief marketing officer (CMO).  He is part of the new breed of cross-functional IT executive.  Don’t try to trick him or go around him, it only makes you look bad and he tells his friends about you.  Work with him and he will work with you.

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