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Selling to the CIO – How to Get to the CIO:
Next time you send a CIO (or IT Director) an unsolicited email, recognize that you are competing with thousands of hardware, software, cloud solutions, and telecommunications suppliers.
Why is it learning how to get to the CIO difficult?
The CIO job has become increasingly more complex and pressurized as they face implications of cloud strategy and deployment, cybersecurity, machine learning, edge computing, Internet of Things, regulatory compliance, and cost pressures.
Meanwhile, business user needs for Cloud and mobile applications continue to grow – particularly among marketing, sales, and IT teams. With so many stakeholders and influencers contributing to the overall strategy and buying process, IT is struggling to onboard a never-ending list of tools and platforms.
As new IT solutions are deployed, IT is faced with data everywhere, which means it’s hard to discover, cleanse, normalize, aggregate, and use it to help the business.
No wonder that it’ difficult to get the CIO’s attention in this kind of environment.
Best Practice: How To Get To The CIO
Modern IT leaders and their organizations are focused on helping their company accelerate growth in revenue and profit, as well as improvements in customer service and employee productivity.
If you want to break through the clutter, you need to amplify and focus on the business impact of your solution. To accomplish that, the best approach often does not start with the CIO.
If you understand how your solutions drive business impact for clients, there are likely multiple business owners that have a vested interest in the benefits your solution can provide.
The right client research and discovery activities can uncover stakeholders and functions that influence the solution buying and prioritization process. Getting to the business owners is typically easier than the CIO. However, you’ll need to be skilled in helping the stakeholders develop and socialize the business case.
Here are three simple, but not easy tactics to to develop a winning client relationship with business owners that will help answer how to get to the CIO:
Embark On A Studious and Comprehensive Understanding of the Client’s Industry
A drive-by of the Hoover’s or ZoomInfo industry summaries won’t cut it. Cultivating deep insight into areas such as the marketplace, competitive pressures, business needs, regulatory and compliance requirements, and culture takes time. Success in gaining access to stakeholders dramatically increases when you are exceptionally well-prepared to demonstrate your understanding of these areas.
Understand How Decisions are Made
CIOs need to involve other IT leaders – such as infrastructure strategy, development, telecommunications, and security – and leaders across the business. Depending on the initiative supported by your solution, the CEO may even need to be involved. Understand the Culture – Who influences or drives buying decisions, who are the key stakeholders, and the internal politics that sway discussions and decisions. If a salesperson is well prepared, they can help stakeholders navigate the process as a trusted advisor. Getting to the CIO is dependent on getting to the business owners.
Get Smart On Where Your Solution Interlocks With Other Solutions.
Help the CIO, IT leaders, and business owners foster alignment and goals.
For example, if you are selling a Cloud IT solution, the client should evaluate its Connectivity solution, which will connect users to the Cloud to ensure that your Cloud IT solution delivers the promised performance and business benefits. You don’t need to be a Connectivity expert, but you need to understand enough about Connectivity to help stakeholders navigate the considerations.
As you build a robust perspective of your client’s organization, you’ll be in a position to bring clarity on needs and how your solution can boost business performance.
Even if you have a relationship with your client’s CIO, our suggested approach works! Building consensus and the business case for your solution needs to happen with or without you. If you are able to start with the business owners, you’ll be in a position to build the business cases and get to the CIO faster.
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