As a salesperson or sales manager, it’s your job to show people value, to solve problems, and to establish and nurture relationships. But what happens when these tasks are focused internally, and not externally? What happens when you’re pitching to senior leadership: your very own bosses!
Believe it or not, there’s not much that changes. Here at CFS we are evangelists that salespeople are in the business of problem solving, not selling. Salespeople provide value, they create solutions.
I’m sure you’ve muttered these words before: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this?” or “How cool would it be if there was ____?” Sounds familiar, right? If you’re a salesperson you’ve probably said it to your peers or your managers. And if you’re a manager, you’ve heard it from your team members.
Listen, it can be tough to grab the attention of senior leadership. If one or two people are coming to them with poorly-planned strategies or ideas once in a blue moon, it’s going to make it pretty difficult. Salespeople and sales managers need to work together to get buy-in from senior leadership.
Check out these five ways to get buy in from Senior Leadership:
1. Use Emotional Intelligence:
When you’re pitching an idea to senior leadership, it will usually be replacing a process, method, or product that’s currently in place. This means that someone (probably the people you’re pitching to) deliberately picked out the thing you’re looking to replace. To get buy-in from senior leadership, you need to pitch your new idea in a way that doesn’t make anyone look like they already made a poor decision for the company. You want to make sure the idea you’re pitching is backed up by strong evidence from companies that are similar to yours. It may also help to bring in an outside expert.
2. Use Senior Leadership’s Own Goals:
When looking for key metrics and data to support your new idea, be strategic. Look at quarterly and yearly goals for your company. Show senior leadership how this idea can help them reach their goals even faster. This not only makes it easier to pitch your idea, it reaffirms the fact that it’s a great idea in the first place.
3. Time it Right:
This is crucial when you’re trying to get buy in from senior leadership. The perfect time to pitch would be during a shift in management, or after a promotion or new hire on the senior leadership team. A not-so-great time would be during a huge resource crunch in your company.
4. Showcase the Problem:
Senior leadership doesn't like to hear things like “there is a massive revenue leak in the sales force.” They will want to fix whatever problem right away. If you frame the issue in the way that it can be solved by your idea or process, they will buy in. Remember: you are directly related to the sales team. You understand the clients, you understand the processes, you understand your company’s products and services. Trust yourself that your idea has the ability to fix the problem at hand. And remember, you wouldn’t have had this idea if there wasn’t room for improvement in the first place.
5. Get Your Team and Coworkers on Board:
This is one of the most important parts of getting senior leadership to buy in. How can you expect them to invest and be interested in your idea if your own coworkers don’t see the value? Rally the troops and make them martyrs for your new way of doing business. If everyone is invested and motivated around a central idea, senior leadership will give it more of a chance. For example, we always tell salespeople that are interested in our training to share our eBooks, blog, webinars, and podcast with their team members and managers. This way, it’s easier to make training happen because everyone is familiar with our company.
Getting senior leadership to buy into your idea is an adventure. Focus on what drives your company. Focus on the emotions of the people in the room. Let them know you’re coming from a place of passion and inspiration.
At the end of the day, the goals of senior leadership are the same as the goals of sales team members and managers.