Still not getting the marketing results you want from your CEO list? Perhaps, all you need is a fresh take on how you should be knocking on their doors. As you may very well know, CEOs and other C-level executives are always on the hunt for better ways to get their companies ahead and keep things in that order. If you really believe you have the solutions they’re looking for, what you need to do is convey your message more effectively to that audience.
Cisco’s Petra Neiger and Marketing Associates’ Mark Petroff recently shared some very interesting insights on selling to CEOs. In a post titled “3 Secrets to Opening the CEO Door” (see link below) published in BtoB Online, both marketing experts say it takes “education, experience, and reference clients” for effective marketing with a CEO audience. While their ideas center on selling technology to the C-suite, we think these insights are still worth looking into for marketers working with any business contact list.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Petra Neiger and Mark Petroff you should be considering:
1. Know the CEO & the company.
Obviously, not all CEOs are created equal. Some CEOs are directly involved in the buying decision-making process that concerns your product or service while some only play a supporting or consulting role. Knowing whether a CEO is a decision-maker or an influencer in the solution purchasing process is an important fact to take note of. Firmographic information such as company size can also indicate a CEOs level of involvement in day-to-day operations.
2. Educate & be a thought leader.
Because B2B marketing typically involves promoting complex products and services that require longer times to decide on, prospect education is a B2B marketer’s best ally in converting leads into opportunities. It’s certainly no secret that CEOs are addicted to information, but this has to be supplied in a form that they can easily acquire and consume. This is especially important in non-linear buying cycles where knowledge is the main commodity.
3. Be in an event for executives.
Engaging with CEOs in a live event is clearly a given choice in lead generation. But there are a few subtleties you have to be aware of. CEOs more likely to interact with other CEOs than with those outside the C-suite. Make sure to have your company CEO attend or participate in such events as an expert speaker or as part of your exhibition team.
4. Count on other experts.
CEOs don’t want to hear or see things solely from a vendor’s perspective. That’s why you have to rely on other experts to shed some light into how your solution fits the bill. Consider leveraging industry experts or specialists as well as any other mover as part of an influence marketing strategy.
5. Use real customer success stories.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing vehicle to carry CEOs to your fold. Nothing comes close to genuine testimonials of satisfied clients in getting decision-makers’ attention. Real-life customer success stories linked to your solution form the icing to your referral cake. So be sure to let satisfied customers share how your product or service contributed to their business performance.
6. Facilitate a peer conversation.
Again, CEOs are more likely to listen to other CEOs than to non-executive types. Work toward facilitating conversations among CEOs built around the issues your solutions address. Apart from live events and conferences, you can also use other marketing channels to make this happen, provided that those are where your audiences interact with each other as well.