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How to nurture relationships with C-Levels as an SDR

Surely it’s an impossible task? An SDR in their first job talking as equals with someone with C at the start of their title? Think again. Felix Dandrea explains more.

Back in October, we staged another of our exclusive SDR-only events, in partnership with Venatrix. Every talk at this event was aimed at helping SDRs be as good as they can be, bringing value to the 100+ SDRs in the audience. Based on these talks, we’ve put together some articles. Even if you couldn’t be with us at the event, you can still get inspired.

Felix Dandrea

Felix Dandrea is Senior Business Intelligence Manager at Matrixx Software, providing next-generation, cloud-native digital commerce solutions, transforming how communications and digital service providers do business.

Matrixx’s core target audience is telecoms companies and the people Felix is trying to speak to every day are the top men and women in the industry, the C-level executives. You’d think that as an SDR, fresh out of university, it might be intimidating to sell to customers at this level. But Felix has a system.

‘I want these industry leaders to come to me if they want to know anything about Matrixx. Not my Sales Director, me. I can initiate that conversation.’

Fantastic. Did I also mention that Felix went to the same school as me (albeit a few years later)?

Let’s find out Felix Dandrea’s 3 tips for nurturing relationships with C-levels.

1 — Build your network

LinkedIn is a hugely powerful tool for building relationships and it’s all yours. Use it! The first thing Felix did was become a connector on LinkedIn.

Connect with all the C-Levels in your target industry in LinkedIn. Then, leverage your connections. Start by sharing and commenting whenever C-levels post or publish articles. Show that you speak their language.

The next step is to analyse everything they do on LinkedIn to find opportunities to provide value. Something they post could alert you to a pain point where you could be the solution. Understand where they’re coming from and what they’re missing.

Finally, get out of your comfort zone and become a thought leader. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to shine.

‘When I started this job, I had about 400 connections on LinkedIn. Now I’ve got 2500 and they’re all C-levels in the telco industry!’

2 — Get personal

As your profile rises, you’ll get to have more conversations with C-level executives. This is where you have to raise yourself to their level and provide value at every stage of the conversation.

In Felix’s experience, C-levels are mostly interested in two things when it comes to tech solutions:

· How will it make me money?

· How will it make a difference for me in the market?

If you can answer those questions, you’re well on the way.

Another thing to remember is that C-levels don’t want to see your generic sales pitch. They want something that speaks to them and the issues they face. Use personas to make sure every piece of marketing you send is tailored to them.

‘You don’t need to talk about your company or sales. Just share market intelligence.’

3 — Don’t be afraid to go lower down

Many salespeople struggle when faced with a gatekeeper, but if you’re calling up C-levels, it’s a problem you’ll meet regularly.

Rather than try to get around the gatekeeper, use them to help you sell instead.

‘Every single lead is important. Go lower down to gather intelligence. It will help you when you have the conversation with the C-level. It’s a puzzle and you need to put the pieces together.’

Keep on nurturing each C-level lead. It’s hard work, but it will pay off. Even if they don’t buy from you straight away, your position as a thought leader who always provides value will keep you front of mind.

Over to you

Thanks to Felix for that brilliant talk. Now, we want to know what you think.

What are your tips for selling to C-level executives?

Leave us a comment below and share your insights with the Sales Confidence community.

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