1. Target 5-10 companies that fit your ideal customer profile. On a macro level this means things like industry, size, geography. Other considerations may include current system in place, corporate culture, industry trends and industry position.
2. Spend a minimum of 2-3 hours conducting research on each company. This includes a thorough website review, reading of annual report, goals/objectives, key initiatives, any news from past 12 months, markets, primary offerings, info on the executives, competitors and financial trends.
3. After reading it all, search for the alignment between your business and the targeted companies. Determine the value proposition your company can bring to the prospect. Ask yourself what business results will this targeted firm get from using your offering. Executives could care less about your products or services. All they want to know is how it contributes to their desired business outcomes.
4. Prepare a loose script for making an executive-level call. Be prepared for voicemail, actually reaching a live body or talking to the executive's administrative assistant. In your script make sure you state that you've conducted significant research on their company and would like to share an idea about how they can (insert customer goal/objective). Then ask for a brief meeting to share the concept.
5. When calling an executive - make sure you get the administrative assistant's name. After you've tried several times to reach him/her - enlist the assistant's help in setting a meeting.
6. When you meet with the "C"-level executive, be prepared to share your idea. Do NOT talk about your products or service or this whole exercise is a waste of time. Talk about how you can help their business be more profitable, get a jump on competitors, reduce costs, maximize use of existing technologies, drive sales through the channel - or whatever other business result you can deliver.
Results. Outcomes. Stated in business terms and tied to their organization's needs. That's the way to capture a "C"-level executive's attention and get your foot in the door.
But you'll never get there unless you target appropriate accounts, invest time researching them, and develop a strong value proposition. Then you need to package this into a concise and compelling message that aligns their business needs with your company's capabilities.
In truth, it's not hard to get in to see senior executives if you do your homework!