Hubert John D’Mello in conversation with Mr. Girish Bhat with
Could you define a CXO call, please?
A call at the CXO level is an extremely important activity that every company might need to go through. The most important thing to understand here is that a sales call at the CXO level will happen maybe just once or twice. In order for that to be really effective, and for the CXO to call you back, there should be an extremely good level of understanding of the customer and the person that you are going to meet. Most of the CXO calls are to the point and may not last 15 to 30 minutes. Depending on that call, there is an opportunity for a second, third or fourth meeting or call to happen.
Why is a CXO call important?
It could be a brand building exercise, or if there are certain products or services that you sell which could have the mindshare of only a CXO, not necessarily the entire organization. Hence a CXO call becomes very important. Or it might be a deal closure. When you map an organization, you take note of the people who might have a certain responsibility. In some organizations, a million dollar deal would need a CEO’s approval, whereas in some companies, the same could be signed off be an IT director. Thus you need to be aware of who signs the PO in a customer’s organization.
Who can make a CXO call?
Anybody can make a CXO call, technically. But in some organizations, it’s very hierarchical. In that case, you will designate an executive from your company with similar credentials or title to meet with the CXO.
How would you prepare for a CXO call?
There is a lot of background research that one needs to perform. In today’s world, the internet is a good tool to conduct research on the company that a CXO works for. Using tools like LinkedIn, gives you a good connect of the CXO’s profile, to see which companies he or she has worked for, what are his areas of interest, accomplishments etc. Using these, a salesperson can put together a script in place before a CXO meeting.
What approach should one use?
There are 2 different sales approaches one can use. One is called a bottoms up, and the other one is a top down. A bottoms up approach is one where you start at the ground level and work your way to the top. In the top down approach, you start the call with the CXO, draw his attention and articulate that you can solve his problem and use that to move down into the organization. Each approach has it’s own benefits. Though I’ve also done a few bottoms up cases, I prefer the top down approach for most of my cases.
Any real life examples?
I can give you an example from own experience. When I was going to meet a CXO a few years ago, this was a TelCo, and I was scheduled to meet the Customer Care Executive. All I did was, I went to the operator’s website, and looked at how easy or difficult it was for me to recharge my mobile and I realized that to recharge my mobile, I needed a South African ID, which was ridiculous. How is a visitor supposed to get his phone recharged? This gave me an idea on preparing my thoughts ahead of the meeting. And I picked this topic up in my chat with the Customer Executive and told him how difficult it was to perform a simple operation. This, then ended up becoming the talking point of our conversation.
Any closing thoughts?
I think everyone who has to go for a CXO meeting, has to remember one thing. That this is the only meeting he would get to create a lasting impression. So, it’s extremely important to prepare for a meeting, get your notes handy, do the due diligence on the customer’s business, on the CXO profile, and try and see if there are enough and more articles available which talk about any specific ‘pain points’.
The other thing we need to do more of is, to listen more and talk less. Ask limited questions and let the CXO elaborate. Also, take notes, so that if there are any ‘action points’ that come out, then it should be a very prompt response to the CXO, clearly articulating how we can alleviate his ‘pain points’.
25+ Sales experience
Ex VP TehMahindra (ME, Africa, India)