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Why many C-level sales calls fail

Our experience is that many C-level executives refuse meetings because the sales executive knows nothing about the industry, or the company’s needs, wants and pain points. They failed to do their homework and – surprise, surprise – the sales call fails.

Sales executives need to recognise that C-level execs will engage with sales people who demonstrate an understanding of their problems and who respect their time by quickly getting to the point.

Unfortunately, many sales people still start by discussing product features rather than understanding the prospects needs, or trying to clarify their pain points.

The internet has changed buying behaviour; buyers are doing their research online and engaging with suppliers much later in the sales process (a typical buyer will now complete 57%* of their journey before they engage with you).



As a result, sales people are more effective when they educate their prospect about things they don’t already know.


Successful companies make sure their sales people are calling the right people with the right information. They do their homework. This includes (but not limited to) the following:

  • Understanding which audience they should be targeting
  • Why they are targeting that audience
  • The needs/wants/pains for the prospect’s company or industry
  • What are the personal issues for the target prospect
  • Who else is affected by those issues within the prospect company
  • Who are the additional stakeholders that will influence the decision
  • What are the unique value propositions for each of those stakeholders
  • Identify case studies of similar companies that may be of interest to each prospect


This should form part of your sales enablement strategy, helping your sales executives to maximise their effectiveness. Alternatively, outsource your B2B lead generation to an expert, and allow your sales team to concentrate on the ‘ready to buy’ opportunities.

* Source: CEB Report, 2012