E=mc2 and the Physics of Executive-Level Selling


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The Physics of Executive-Level Selling
The Physics of Executive-Level Selling
I am a big fan of Brian Greene, an American theoretical physicist, because he opens my mind and challenges me to think differently about the world of science. I enjoy intellectually immersing myself in his writings, which are designed to popularize theoretical physics, if that aspiration is remotely possible.

And that brings me to Einstein and the world’s most famous equation. Brian Greene has taught me to think about E = mc2 in multiple dimensions of application. In the traditional dimension of theoretical physics Einstein’s formula informs us that all energy (in any form) is equivalent to mass (also known as matter) multiplied by the speed of light (‘c’) squared. Because the speed of light squared is a huge number, Einstein’s formula implies that a small amount of matter contains a VERY large burst of energy.

However, I believe there is another dimension to which E = mc2 can be plausibly applied: the science of executive-level selling. I call this theory the Energy2Change theory and B2B sellers who apply it I call Business Advisors.

The Energy2Change Theory of Executive-Level Selling

As a “buy-side” CXO, I believe executive-level selling is mostly SCIENCE, with a sprinkling of ART. That is good news for B2B sellers since science can be tested, observed, explained, taught and most importantly, replicated over time. Art, on the other hand, is harder to explain, teach and replicate.

I started thinking about the 3 components of Einstein’s equation (energy, matter and speed) and how those terms really captured the essence of why, as a “buy-side” executive, I would sponsor and influence large purchase decisions. I think E = mc2, with some minor modifications, applies to my personal decision-making thought process so let me define the terms of Einstein’s formula in this context.

Energy = Matter x Speed

Energy: Energy is straight-forward: a “buy-side” executive MUST exhibit energy (such as a willingness to meet B2B sellers, consider propositions, sponsor, socialize, justify, decide and implement) if the organization is going to change anything, especially shifts in technology platforms and service providers. So the physics question for B2B sellers is “What is the catalyst that will produce positive ‘do-something’ energy?” The answer lies on the other side of the equation from energy: matter and speed.

Matter: Here I’m taking the liberty to expand the term ‘matter’ to ‘what matters’ to a customer executive; in other words what are their PRIORITIES. To simplify the math, I believe PRIORITIES can be broken into 3 buckets: (1) Key Business Initiatives (KBIs), (2) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and (3) Critical Success Factors (CSFs). In my view the physics of executive-level selling proves that if you can tap into a “buy-side” executive’s PRIORITIES (both organizationally and personally), you will unleash a massive energy source to support change (and hopefully your solution, which enables this change). Remember, Einstein’s formula implies (in the presence of enormous speed) that a very small amount of matter contains a VERY large amount of energy. I think this absolutely applies to the science of executive-level selling.

Speed: In the context of executive-level selling, ‘execution speed’ is a Critical Success Factor to achieving organizational PRIORITIES (KBIs and KPIs) and personal PRIORITIES. Speed is a massive buying influence to a “buy-side” executives implementing and managing change. As we know from Einstein’s formula, speed is squared, which produces a HUGE thrust of energy to change the status quo or “do-nothing” scenario. Implementation speed is important to “buy-side” executives because today’s competitive pressures demand it. Executives don’t want to simply implement KBIs and achieve KPI targets; rather, they want to accelerate implementation of KBIs and achievement of KPIs. Execution speed is an under-emphasized element of the value proposition. B2B sellers need to recognize speeds outsized affect on Einstein’s formula and its application to the Energy2Change theory of executive-level selling.

Business Advisors Apply Physics to Executive-Level Selling

“Buy-side” executives are seeking trusted Business Advisor relationships. They seek B2B sales people who understand the scientific laws of gaining executive-level relevance and credibility. Implicitly, Business Advisors know how to leverage the Energy2Change theory when selling at the executive-level. They know how to uncover and validate ‘what matters’. They know how to demonstrate hard solution impact on KBIs, KPIs and ‘execution speed’. And when they get the physics right, amazing sponsorship energy is created behind their solutions. In a slow-growth world where many B2B sales people say that “do nothing” is their biggest competitor, the Energy2Change theory offers an alternative framework for approaching executive-selling situations.

What Do You Think?

1. Do you believe executive-level is more SCIENCE than ART?
2. Is “do nothing” your biggest competitor?

Image Source: Thinkstock

Jack Dean
As co-founder of FASTpartners LLC, Jack brings extensive technology buying experience as a Fortune500 Chief Financial Officer to the B2B technology sales training industry.He has facilitated client-sponsored business acumen training for 15,000 B2B technology sellers representing 150 global technology companies.Participants in Jack’s business acumen training have produced directly-attributed revenue of over $1 billion (in the 3 months after training) and training engagement ROIs averaging 500%.