When asked why leadership changes matter to the sales team, our Senior VP of Revenue, Patrick Purvis, likes to tell this story:
“In 2012, Salesforce closed a legendary estimated $140 million deal with State Farm. At the time, it was one of the largest single sales in Salesforce history.
“Word in sales circles was, the relationship between Salesforce and State Farm had languished under the watch of a sales rep who, for years, couldn’t find a way in.
“As the story goes, a new rep started working on the account, and quickly managed to secure a deal that has now taken its rightful place in the annals of modern sales.
“How did he do it? He found an inflection point: A new CIO came in at State Farm who was cloud-friendly. That made all the difference.”
New executives spend approximately 70% of their annual budget in the first three months on the job.
Seventy percent of their budget! That’s why leadership changes are important.
If you know when a new executive takes a new position, you can take advantage of this early momentum. And this is exactly what the new Salesforce sales rep did.
Management changes are one the most obvious but least utilized inflection points in your sales strategy arsenal.
New C-suite executives make it rain
A DiscoverOrg study revealed that 71% of newly-hired or recently promoted decision-makers lead 3+ initiatives within their first 3 months in a new position.
In fact, 75% of these decision-makers spent at least $50,000 on new initiatives, and many spent much more: 30% reported spending at least $500,000, and 17% spent over $1 million.
Copious purchasing in the early weeks and months of a decision-maker’s new role represents a significant sales opportunity, says Purvis. And very few salespeople take advantage of this information!
Deal IQ took advantage of this information right away: “It felt too good to be true. DiscoverOrg alerts us to possible purchases and negotiations, so we always know when it’s time to strike,” says Aaron Kotick, Managing Director at DealIQ. “We were able to reach out to companies we’d never even heard of at exactly the right moment, and win their business.”
New decision-makers want to show early success to gain the trust of superiors. The desire to demonstrate value and establish stability in a new role or organization cannot be understated.
Leadership changes can open doors … IF you know where and when they occur.
But you have to know when this window of opportunity is open, and move on it before it closes.
The ability to respond quickly is critical.
By targeting a prospect in that crucial three-month window, you can focus your time, energy and effort where there’s a higher chance for a win.
More downstream opportunities thanks to executive moves
Your c-level prospect with the brand-new job came from somewhere.
If you know the company or position they vacated in order to take the new role – that’s another downstream opportunity, because there will be a new-hire for the previous role.
Smart salespeople can follow the trail of executive movement on down the chain. This is a smart strategy because the executive is likely moving within the same industry, and likely to similar roles. This means your solution may be a great fit for most people in that particular role – and you already have the talking points nailed down!
So now you know why this information is so valuable: Executive leadership changes suggest new purchases are imminent.
But how can salespeople use these newfound insights?
The job change is an excuse to reach out. It shouldn’t be the subject of the conversation.
Prioritizing sales outreach based on organizational changes in your target accounts gives you a significant advantage over your competitors.
You have to make the approach the right way, or you’ll sound like a stalker.
Identifying pain points specific to new leadership gets you past “congratulations” and helps you make a real connection.
“Greetings, New CIO. Whether you know it or not, statistics say that you’re going to blow through most of your budget within the next few months. Would you like to give some of that money to me?”
OK… maybe not the best approach.
Senior Sales Manager Brandon Battey suggests using the information as a hook. “I don’t dive into it too deeply without getting right to the value. I use it to get attention in the subject and first sentence or so, like this:”
Subject: “John – congrats on your new role”
“Hey John, congratulations on taking on the CRO position over there at Widgetcorp. Must be night and day compared to ABC Company.
I’m sure as ABC company is growing it’s sales team you’re facing constraints around prospecting intelligence. I won’t waste your time – in short, DiscoverOrg is […]”
A well-wishing “congratulations on the new job!” is an obvious point of entry – but it’s rarely enough.
Purvis suggests tweaking the universal script framework:
“Hi – I’ve been following and researching for quite some time, I’m impressed with the way you ____ (have grown / think about X / etc.). I saw you’re the newly hired/promoted [TITLE], congratulations on the new role! I’m reaching out because we’ve found as companies do, they encounter challenges around [pain point your solution helps solve related to X]. I could imagine you were brought in to help think about that, is that a key item on your priority list in this new role or are there other challenges you’re trying to tackle first?”
You’ll also want to consider the circumstances under which the new executive was hired.
Consider the context of the job change
Was turnover prompted by a security breach? Did growth make more headcount necessary? Does a surprise CEO ouster indicate a displeased board ? Or did an internal promotion reward a job well done?
Personalize your outreach with nuances like these, and you’re a lot more likely to stand out from generic pitches.
After tuning your tone to match the circumstances of the executive move, focus on pain points of the new role.
Being specific about the solutions and relief that your product brings goes a long way toward alleviating the fear that drives early-stage executive spending in the first place!
And if the pain point you’ve identified really is an issue for your prospect – well, it’s likely they’ve been hired, at least in part, to tackle that very problem. (And that makes your timing even more perfect!)
The reason for the leadership change might be positive, or it might negative, but it’s likely the result of a problem. And your new prospect has budget to solve it. Go get them!
Because when it comes to sales, timing is everything. And the timing of some events is more important than others.
DiscoverOrg’s “Scoops” deliver 100,000+ newly hired leaders per year. Users can set up email alerts just on the roles and territories they care about. These insider Scoops alert you to buyer behavior that suggests a purchase will happen soon – plus a lot more insights about purchase intent of your target buyers.