4 Tips On How To Sell To A CIO During A Pandemic


Times are incredibly challenging as a professional technology sales executive. Simultaneously, the pressure is also tremendous for technology decision-makers such as the CIO, CTO, VP of technology, and other leaders during a pandemic. I am very empathetic for all industry professionals, and I understand the challenges that sales professionals face in the current climate. Travel bans and decision-makers are not taking any meetings from vendors that they do not have an established relationship with, makes it almost impossible for the vendor community to succeed. Here are some tips to help with sales enablement for the vendor community.


Enterprise-Wide Solution

Vendors must focus on cross-departmental solutions to a problem. Assist the CxO with enterprise solutions to a current issue that they are facing. The solution must exhibit a business solution vs. a technology solution as the CIO is fighting for budget vs. their peers solving business problems. One of the worst questions to ask is, “tell me about your strategic initiative, or what are your upcoming focus in the next fiscal year?” Asking these types of questions shows that the vendor has not done enough research or lacks the industry knowledge about the challenges that the organization is facing.


What Is The Financial Reward

CIOs are evaluating all financial investments like a CFO. Executive decision-makers must prioritize and funds all transformation initiatives to emphasize organization success or patient quality outcomes while improving productivity and driving a positive ROI. These relationships must identify financial value. The solution must allow the organization to showcase their competitive edge. Great vendors/partners will identify new opportunities to transform business functions across every company they target, emphasizing the financial reward.


Spam and Automated Messages

Focus on custom messages versus automated cold emails or Linkedin messages. I have seen many automated messages where they would have the recipient’s incorrect name, which is a bad reflection for the brand and the message sender. Also, emailing the decision-makers’ boss hoping for a discussion will have a negative impact while creating a strain on an existing unestablished relationship.


Warm Reference Introductions

Find a creative way to connect through a trusted mutual contact or at a live event post-pandemic. Today’s internet world allows everyone to find reciprocal relationship contacts that may be willing to make the introduction. Unfortunately, hard-selling does not work.


Sales is a relationship game, and most importantly, the best sales folks are considered trusted advisors. Focus on providing additional insight and dig in to understand the solutions that you are selling. The usage of superficial buzzwords is a turnoff. Trusted advisors with sales responsibilities will be the ideal characteristic of selling to decision-makers during and post-pandemic.


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ABOUT David Chou

David Chou serves as the SVP/CIO for a public academic health system.  Chou has held executive roles with the Cleveland Clinic, Children's Mercy Hospital, University Of Mississippi Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare, and Prime Healthcare.  

David is a dynamic keynote speaker and industry commentator working with clients to transform their business models using technology. He has spoken around the world at healthcare tech-related conference including keynotes for leading industry events and intimate executive settings. Chou is also one of the most mentioned CIOs in the media and well quoted in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare, HIMSS Media, ZDNet, CIO.com, Huffington Post, and Becker's Healthcare.  David is an active member of both ACHE and HIMSS while serving on the board for CHIME. 

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