The CEO Sales Trap

The foundation of relationship selling is the ability to establish a connection with decision-makers at a prospective customer.


Who better to champion your product or service than the CEO? They refer you to one of their lieutenants with a positive reference and you are well on your way to securing a new client. Right?

Not so
fast, explains Dave Stein of sales consultancy ES Research Group ( In an informative post on Oracle’s The Customer
Collective Web-based community for sales and marketing professionals, Stein
overviews his exchange with the VP of Information Technology at J.R. Simplot
Company – a $3B agribusiness company based in Boise, Idaho.


In Sales:
Calling on the CEO

I have a
couple of take-aways from Stein’s post. It’s
critical for sales executives promoting an enterprise-level product or service
to understand the structure and workings of a prospect company, and to then
develop a strategy to identify and build relationships with decision-makers and
influencers. This notion seems
elementary, yet I suspect many sales organizations fall into the CEO trap at

For marketers
and corporate communications professionals, we have to align our public
relations, social media and lead generation programs to address the information
requirements of multiple target audiences.
This most likely means different tactics for different targets, as well
as close interaction with sales to measure effectiveness.