Ten crucial questions you should ask to make your training successful
If digitization has the power to disruptively change the ways in which businesses are run tomorrow, then it is of essential importance that the best ideas of how to benefit from and how to lead these changes are clearly proposed to the C-Suite.
Your organization’s skill of successfully selling and consulting to the C-Suite is vital in growing your business. In a digitizing world where C-Suite, executives and consultants manage new and often foreign value propositions C-Suite selling is more important than ever.
C-Suite executives rely significantly on the quality, preparation and advise of their direct reports or external consultants. However, C-Suite executives often don’t feel
• they receive the relevant information,
• that they are influenced positively and
• that reports and consultants truly understand their pain points and speak to their needs at eye level.
These feelings by the C-Suite audience become increasingly serious when a topic is new and unfamiliar as they may hinder good and rational decision-making. In times of digitization where C-Suite members decide about digitization proposals from their senior managers or external consultants this plays an increasingly important role. If digitization has the power to disruptively change the ways in which businesses are run tomorrow, then it is of essential importance that the best ideas of how to benefit from and how to lead these changes are clearly proposed to the C-Suite.
To minimize the risk that your organization miss the next big opportunity that can change your business model and sustain your competitive advantage in the long run, it is vital that your managers have the skills to convincingly sell their ideas to the C-Suite. Trainings around consulting to and establishing trusted relationship with the C-Suite must be a standard element in developing your high-potential managers and senior professionals. But what are the key questions to consider when choosing an appropriate training format and provider? How can your Business Development department and KPIs help you in choosing a training that has a direct impact on your business performance and the skills of your managers and senior professionals?
Consider the following ten crucial questions:
1. Do your senior professionals get your internal key strategic cases closed and moved forward on time?
If not, why not? What hinders them in closing these cases? What challenges do they face? What are the inventory of reasons that your great cases don’t move forward?
2. Do your top managers get your key strategic cases sold at their clients?
If not, why not? What are the challenges they face? Again is there an inventory, perhaps gained from your CRM system that helps establish which cases should and could have been closed successfully?
3. Are your managers effective in influencing and selling to C-Suite?
Is there a clear process in place that help managers efficiently prepare their specific cases for their respective target clients? How much time do they invest in gaining a comprehensive picture of the target client’s situation? Are they aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and what impact they will have on the relationship with their target client?
4. Can your senior managers pitch?
Are your senior managers ready to pitch their cases in a 2-minute, 5-minute or 30-minute encounter with a senior C-Suite member or Board? In fact, can they boil their value proposition into the famous elevator pitch of max 30 seconds?
5. Can your senior managers adapt their pitches and influencing to varying target groups?
Can they translate complex issues into clear advice that considers their counterpart’s different thinking, decision making style, preferences and concepts of value creation?
6. Do your managers feel at eye level with your C-Suite?
Are your open about the personal discomfort and anxiety we may all feel and that can be created by conflicting interests, by being caught by surprise or by unpredictable behavior or simply by dealing with the C-Suite? Do you test that you equip your managers with the tools and instruments that help them moving your most important cases forward?
7. Are your key Business Developers ready to create trusting relationships with your most important customers?
How do you define “trusting relationships”? Is there a common understanding on behaviors that are fundamental for creating trusting relationships with your customers? Are your key business developers aware of the obvious and hidden aspects that can have an influence on trust?
8. Can the training provider show the ROI of training?
A successful training on C-Suite Consulting & Influencing must have a direct business impact. You will not want to send your most crucial people on 2-3 days off-site focusing only on theory. Participants must be able to apply their learnings directly to the actual cases they are working on. Only then can you guarantee that there's a direct ROI of the training. ROI obviously vary greatly but should be at least 10 fold compared to the cost of training.
9. Does the training receive a minimum Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +85%?
You as the final decision maker want to see a direct impact of the training. But the participants will also need to experience that the training helps them applying new skill sets that support them in successfully running their daily business. If they feel that they can successfully apply what they have learned, they will grow confident in testing the newly acquired skills on a regular basis and it will eventually result in adopted behavior that leads to better performance. Participants will recommend the training if they feel that it is properly addressing their needs and challenges as a group and individually.
10. Do you challenge your HR function to answer all the questions above before buying a training on C-Suite Consulting & Influencing?
Deciding on a training that has a direct impact on business results and appropriately addresses the challenges participants face daily requires a solid assessment by HR. The 10 questions can serve as a guideline for providing the answers that are crucial before deciding on a training around communicating to and with the C-Suite.