Preparing to Sell at the C-Level

Most C-Level decision makers are sick of educating sales people about his or her business. This explains why breaking into that level of an organization can be difficult. In order to sell at the C-Level, you have to fully understand the world of the typical CEO, CIO or CFO. Knowing their world involves knowing the business model in which they operate daily. This module will help you understand that model and how that knowledge can help you gain access to the C-Level decision maker.

The business model typically includes the Values, Vision, Strategy, Culture, Challenges and the Competition they face. The business plan takes into account the needs of their Customers.

Each C-Level decision maker operating within the model is evaluated against a series of Critical Success Factors. By understanding what those factors are and directing your efforts to helping the C-Level decision maker achieve them, will go a long way to helping you gain the access you need.

Finances are the only reason a business exists. All too often we aren’t familiar enough with the financial aspects of the C-Level decision maker’s business. This lack of knowledge limits our ability to address the real issues facing his or her business. In this section we will cover how to review an annual report, website and 10K for the information you will need.

Finally this section will bring it all together by implementing a three-step process for developing an account penetration plan.

Preparing to Sell at the C-Level: Your Customer’s Business Model


What the Company Stands For: Integrity; Hiring and Training the Best People; Customer Focus


The Company’s goal for the future.


How the Company Will Achieve the Vision: Develop Our Infrastructure; Leverage Alliances; Expand the Product Line; Build Organizational Synergy Between Departments


How the Company: Evaluates Strategies; Makes Decisions; Considers Risk Taking


What is Holding the Company Back: Internal Issues; Marketplace Changes; Economic Conditions; Technology Changes


The Impact of their Competitor’s: Products; Strategies; Alliances; Growth into New Markets


The Impact of their Customer’s: Buying Habits; Marketplace; Customer’s

Critical Success Factors

How the C-Level Decision Makers are Evaluated: Profitability; Growth; Shareholder Value; ROI


How the Company Keeps Score: Revenue; Cost of Goods; Operating Income; Net Income; Overall Profitability

Information Sources

Where to find valuable information: Website; Annual Report; 10 K Report; Interviews With Sub C-Level Decision Makers

Reading the Annual Report

What to look for in the annual report: Chairman’s Letter; Management Discussion of Results

Financial Statements

Important financial statements to review: Income Statement; Balance Sheet; Statement of Changes in Financial Condition

Supporting Information

Other importanct documents to read: Notes to Financial Statements; Auditor’s Letter; Other Corporate Info

What the Numbers Mean — Pulling It All Together

Developing Your Account Penetration Plan

1) Identify the C-Level Target:

Who has the most at stake?

Who can most benefit from your solution?

Who can influence the most Power Brokers?

Who can best relate to your Critical Case Reference?

2. Define the Circle of Support

3. Select the Delivery Method

4. Create the Message

Critical Success Factors

Current Strategies

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.