The very best way, whether it is an existing customer or a prospect, is asking your day-to-day contact within the organization. This step should occur early in your sales process. Referrals are, by far, the best opportunity to gain access to an executive sponsor.
Many people think the risk in talking with your day-to-day contact about approaching their executives is too large. For example, will your contact discourage your efforts, putting you in an awkward position to move forward?
If you are confident in yourself and can explain the benefits to your day-to-day contact, they will become an ally. Some of the benefits to your current contact can include:
- Endorsement and forward movement of their important project(s)
- Access to company resources who can help them achieve their goals
- Career enhancement opportunities through exposure
- Recognition of their efforts, accomplishments and successes
A top leader will generally set aside their precious time if the request comes from inside their organization, in other words someone they know and trust.
Note: During your meeting with the C-suite, be sure to say something nice about your contact who endorsed you and paved the way!