We’re avid readers of earnings transcripts.
We know how odd that sounds. Even the savviest business leaders would prefer the Wall Street Journal version of the latest quarterly updates to the full-length, verbatim recap.
But the thing is, there’s a lot of valuable information embedded in those earnings reports, and reading them thoroughly, even obsessively, gives us insight into how the biggest companies in the country are doing business.
Case in point: Those earnings transcripts are showing us that more and more CEOs are talking about — and recognizing the value of — selling to the C-suite.
That used to be strictly Salesforce territory. Marc Benioff was among the first to publicly tout the benefits of C-suite selling. He’s praised the strategy for bringing in bigger deals — like 9 figures big — faster than at any time in the company’s history.
But as we read the latest earnings reports, we’re seeing Salesforce is no longer C-suite selling’s biggest fan. Citrix CEO David Henshall, for instance, highlighted the strategy as part of the company’s overall transformation in a recent earnings call.
“We’re moving from being what I would describe as more of a project-based or bottoms-up sale to much more of a strategic, top-down sale, engaging with the C-level,” Henshall said. “Along with that, we’re able to do a larger transaction size. So we closed a record number of $1 million-plus deals last year — over 300 of them — [as well as] a record number of 8-figure deals and also, the largest transaction in the company’s history.”
Numbers don’t lie. C-suite selling works, provided you take the time to do it right.
Both Citrix and Salesforce understand that when you sell to the C-suite, the expectations are as high as the stakes. You have the potential to close a massive deal, but you have to come prepared.
This requires doing a great deal of homework--such as pouring over earnings reports, and also researching into the background, personal interests and business strategies of each executive so you walk into your C-level meetings prepared.
If you don’t understand the value, consider this story from Jeffrey Hayzlett, a business world celebrity and the former CMO of Eastman Kodak. In an interview with Forbes focused on selling to the C-suite, he lamented the classic mistake most sales reps made when reaching out to him for a meeting.
“Don’t invite me for coffee. I don’t drink coffee,” Hayzlett said. “It’s obvious in the first five minutes if a vendor is unprepared. I can hear it in the chit chat. Don’t talk about the weather or traffic. Don’t waste my time.”
We’d argue you shouldn’t waste your time, either. Don’t spend hours on research when there’s a service out there that will do it for you — and do it very, very well.
Our advice: Let us pour over those earnings transcripts. Then you can take the information and run.