How B2B Sales Rep can market to C-Suite Executives
They are high powered, busy & are constantly bombarded all day long. So how do you market to the exclusive C-Suite audience? And how can you make sure your B2B brand gets the cut through it deserves?
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Nothing strikes more fear into B2B sales reps than C-level pitches.
But who can blame them? C-level pitches are nerve-rattling and require an overall different approach, preparation, and mindset. After all, they’re also crucial for long-run sales success and for bigger, more lucrative deals.
Around 64% of C-level executives act as the final decision maker in B2B purchases.
If you’re a B2B marketer who aspires to introduce your product or service to C-level executives, believe us you’re not alone. Considering they have the authority to make sweeping decisions and hold the purse strings. Thus, many B2B marketers aim to reach them through their marketing strategies and programs.
Yet here’s the problem: The competition for C-level executives’ attention is stiff. Your audience is engrossed, stressed, and bombarded with sales and marketing emails and messages.
Remember that an overscheduled C-suite is a unique audience, tough to engage yet eager for content that helps leaders make well-timed, effective decisions. B2B marketers who comprehend these simple pain points can really turn them into a big advantage.
This article covers 6 constructive strategies which B2B sales reps can adapt to successfully market to the C-suite execs:
1. Offering insights that others don’t
Begin with checking your competitors’ newsletters, blogs, and social feeds. There’s a good possibility that most of the topics and trends these B2B companies write about reiterate each other, with little in the way of new insights for prospective c-suite execs to discover.
Profitable assets that offer hard-to-find information the senior level needs, can have a much bigger impact in niche B2B marketing than general content.
Even if the latter pulls in more online search traffic, unique and fresh perspectives are more likely to appeal to the subject matter experts on your prospect’s buying committee —up to and including the decision-makers.
White papers, surveys, and original research that goes way deeper than the first page of search results set your business apart. And associates your solution with the business challenges that the executive level is currently discussing.
Suppose if you sell SaaS, explore ways that your aggregated client data might be used to reveal the latest trends in your industry. You can proceed by studying existing voice-of-the-client initiatives or start conversations with old and existing client contacts and ask, specifically, what information would make them more effective in their jobs.
Utilize this research to inspire the subject matter of short- and long-form content your prospects won’t find anywhere else.
“Useful” is your watchword.
Handing over authentic and innovative research that illuminates valuable issues or explanations that simplify complex topics are both great ways to get noticed and recommended to decision-makers.
This strategy makes your expertise both tangible and relevant to the exclusive C-suite officials, thus keeping them engaged.
2. Establishing relationship rules
Relationships have always been and still are the rulers of B2B sales and marketing success.
Despite all the digital advancements, one thing still remains stubbornly unaffected — in B2B, people do business with other people. Thus, companies need to build a human connection with their audience.
There’s no reason for the age-old cornerstones of marketing and sales to fade into the background. New, compelling, and shiny techniques can support them, but they will never supplant them.
You may still want to know why can’t you use marketing automation to track buyer behavior, personalize communications, and build relationships online, rather than human-to-human interactions?
The answer is, yes you can. But, nothing beats a live conversation for learning about and helping to solve the problems individual buyers face, specifically, the senior execs.
So, the idea is to schedule more events and conferences. And when you do, try reaching out to executives through emails and telemarketing, to schedule appointments with them while you’re there. Follow up immediately after the event with a phone call to see how you can further help.
To supplement or replace events, you can call the appropriate executives of companies that might have an interest in your product or solution, after proper research. Ask them about their goals and obstacles and help them to formulate and integrate solutions. Implement tactical plans to develop and deepen your relationship with c-suite clients by understanding their predominant behavioral types.
But when should these phone conversations exactly begin?
In spite of the oft-quoted research that buyers are about 60% through the buying cycle before they reach out to a salesperson, there’s no harm (and quite a bit of opportunity) in being proactive.
Get ahead of the curve and make the first move, but don’t call to sell. Instead, call to consult.
C-suite execs will appreciate your help in untangling their issues even though they may not yet have determined a product category to investigate further. And you’ll have the opportunity to frame the problem in a way that casts your product as the best potential solution.
So keep in mind, relationships rule. Always have. And always will.
3. Cold Calling which oozes confidence & credibility
Cold calling has always been a tough task, but if done in the right way it’s more efficient, simple & one of the best ways to interpret, define, command the situation in hand and get in front of the higher-level executives that you’d like to do business with.
It can enable B2B sales reps to:
- Take ownership of their business
- Pre-empt the existing competition
- Establish a relationship with senior-level executives
- Build up their personal reputation
- Create additional fresh business opportunities
A vast majority of C-suite decision-makers started their careers as average execs who made a hell lot of calls throughout their career, hence they’re likely to appreciate a well-crafted professional cold call which oozes confidence and credibility.
Long gone are the days when the managers used to coach sales reps to ask CEOs questions like “What are the 5 things that keep you awake at night?”. Nowadays, the case is the exact opposite. A sales professional comes across as a more credible source and will for sure fetch an audience if you are able to tell the CEO, the 5 things that he needs to know and will keep him awake at night.
Therefore, sales reps should be more proactive with the information they provide and tell the CEO things that he might not know but should have known.
In essence, cold calling c-suite is the ability of sales reps to approach executives professionally, openly, and meaningfully—providing a valuable solution to their problems.
Just make sure you’re equipped with your tool kit & are mentally ready to accept all possible scenarios.
Do prior research, spend time on their websites & social media channels, read recent press coverage, and focus more on why c-level executives need your product/service than just trying to sell.
This will definitely aid you in landing meetings with C-level executives.
READ MORE: Future of Cold Calling
4. Drafting personalized emails
More than 6 in 10 executives and enterprise companies say they receive personalized sales outreach from B2B marketers frequently, according to a LiveHive survey conducted by Harris Poll. The outcomes suggest that execs are more likely to respond favorably to outreach personalized to be relevant to their industry, and specific problem than to their role within the company.
Even though, reaching C-Level decision-makers is a Herculean task. Yet, one of the best ways to reach them is via email. As it doesn’t hinder their daily routine and business schedules, you can quietly get in front of busy executives by reaching their inbox.
A comprehensive database of higher-level execs list will undeniably help you approach the c-suite through the email marketing medium which is universally accepted by the marketers to be a high ROI earner from the marketing campaigns.
However, the effectiveness of this channel depends upon the quality of the email addresses as well as the content in the emails pitched to them. Customizing emails with methods like one-to-one email personalization has proven to increase transaction rates, revenues, and ROI. Make use of business client personas, so you don’t send irrelevant information.
Indeed, almost 9 in 10 respondents said that outreach personalized to their company’s industry (e.g. knowing their business, changing industry needs or technologies) is either absolutely essential (42%) or very important (47%) when B2B professionals initially reach out to them.
C-level decision-makers are likely to respond to personalized emails that are very specific and relevant to their industry or business.
5. Craft a winning C-suite social media strategy
LinkedIn has recently released its Top Voices List, which showcased professionals in a variety of industries who made an impact on the social media platform through their posts, blogs, and comments.
It’s crucial to note that most of the professionals recognized were senior-level or C-suite executives.
So this clearly signifies that social media marketing shouldn’t just be limited to your organization and should include a strategy for C-level execs as well.
Today, digital dominates the buyer’s journey. In a recent study of B2B professional services buyers, we found that about 70% of pre-purchase research and business evaluation was done on digital platforms through an online search, blogs, webinars, podcasts, and social media.
Articles, research reports, and executive guides are freely shared among buyers’ teams. They comb through potential B2B marketers’ websites and google their key players.
If you want “to be where your prospects are looking” then digital must be a big part of your strategy to get in front of today’s time-starved executive suite.
Choose which networks to utilize. Depending on your industry, one channel may be more beneficial than others.
- LinkedIn: This channel is ideal for B2B networking and an excellent tool for showcasing your thought leadership pieces and partnerships.
- Twitter: This channel is great for quickly sending concise updates and connecting with the media.
- Facebook: This channel is a great way to show a more personal side of you and your business to which the audience can relate to.
These channels can be a powerful way to boost your digital initiatives, as a result of increasing c-suite engagements.
6. Target the team, not only the decision-makers
Today’s executives operate in an ecosystem where important new insights and options can come from many directions.
How much of the typical workday does your CIO spend conducting vendor research? Reading about emerging tools in your field? Watching product demos? Probably a lot less than the people one or two levels down in their management team.
In B2B sales, these managers are known as influencers. The products their organizations adopt have a daily impact on the effectiveness of the B2B sales teams they oversee. And they’re eager to promote their preferred solutions to the professionals writing the checks.
Execs rely heavily on their subordinates to research and vet technology investments. Especially during the discovery stage of the sales cycle, members of the broader buying committee outside the C-suite can be some of the most important people to target with content and campaigns.
Kickoff by revisiting your personas. Do they include influencers like lower-level VPs, procurement managers, or relevant department leaders? Their exact titles will vary by industry. So it can be valuable to chat with sales to help identify the professionals who typically have a say in buying your solution.
You can also draw on sales intelligence tools like ZoomInfo, to analyze the organizational charts of companies that match your ideal client profile.
With updated personas, you can fine-tune your editorial calendar, digital campaigns, and wider strategy to encompass the full range of people who are most likely to talk with their leadership about your product.
Therefore, the most direct route to the C-suite is often through their subordinates.
No doubt, marketing to C-level executives is a challenge, but not as daunting as it might seem.
Corporate leadership is an audience like any other. And effective B2B marketers can create messaging and tailor strategies that bring C-suite decision-makers into their funnel.