02/18/2020

Getting In Front of the C-Suite Decision Makers is Not Easy

By April Williams

Marketing and sales can finally agree on something – it’s not easy to get the C-Suite’s attention. And for most companies, the C-Suite is their target audience to be able to sell their services or products to – they’re the ultimate decision maker. But, they’re busy, occupied with running the business and their people. And are bombarded with a steady stream of cold calls every day that are simply put – annoying. 

That’s why we’ve developed a quick guide with clear strategies to get the attention of that elusive executive. Here are 3 key steps for getting in front of the C-Suite

CUTTING THROUGH THE CLUTTER

According to B2B Marketing.net, “It is never easy to get a marketing message in front of senior decision makers, they are all busy, protected by gatekeepers and in great demand.” 

Marketing AND sales are always looking for that magic sauce; the recipe that will get their message past the gatekeeper and not only get them in front of the C-Suite executive, but get their attention and set them up for a positive response.

Here are the four most common standalone approaches to reaching out to a potential lead, whether it’s in the C-Suite or otherwise. 

  1. Oversized Mail – 4%
  2. Direct Mail – 5%
  3. Digital Marketing – 0.62%
  4. Telephone – 9%

Individually, each statistic is not impressive and doesn’t tell you which one tactic will actually get valuable results. So the question is – what, if anything, can be effective in getting through the gatekeepers, and resonating with C-Suite decision makers? The answer is a combination that involves both marketing AND sales tactics. 

According to B2B Marketing.net, “Gatekeepers are more likely to pass on materials that they believe to be of high value.” 

We have found that when we integrate an oversized direct mail piece with inside sales we can get in front of C-Suite prospects at an average rate of 40%. The reason for these impressive numbers is that these campaigns are not sales presentations, but rather an empathetic, relationship-building program focused on knowing the C-suite and the challenges they’re facing on a day to day basis.  Take a look at some of our past mailers.  

BEING PERSISTENT

As cool as these oversized mailers are – very few people ever receive the package and immediately pick up the phone. Why? Because like you, they’re busy and overwhelmed with messages. So success comes in persistence on the sales teams’ end. We’ve found partnering with our inside sales team to begin a prospecting drip campaign consisting of thought leadership, emails, and phone calls is what really gets the prospect’s attention. That’s when we see the response rates go as high as 90%+. Here is what some of our clients prospects have shared about this approach after we follow-up:

“Thank you. Well that definitely got my attention and my appreciation compels me to return your email.”

“Let’s plan to touch base on Friday this week. I get about 50 unsolicited sales calls/emails a week and don’t return or respond to 95% of them – so the Bose Speaker at least has gotten you an opportunity to talk with me.”

The magic of why recipients respond so well is not only because of the prospecting drip campaign – it’s because the ice was already broken with a smart, funny, and extremely out-of-the-ordinary mailer. The large mailer that went through the gatekeeper and actually landed on the C-Suite executive’s desk was the barrier to entry to allow the salesperson to not have to cold call a prospect, but to already have something to call in reference to. 

PROVIDE VALUE FOR THE C-SUITE 

Part of the prospecting team’s drip campaign involves the use of thought leadership that has been developed by marketing, that senior executives find of value. We have seen the C-suite engage at higher rates than you’d expect when the thought leadership provides insights they did not already have. 

According to the book “Selling to the C-Suite” based on 527 executive interviews, the authors determined that executives want to be contacted because they thrive on “fresh ideas from outside their companies.” Postal Service advertising expert, Lori Savage of Deliver Magazine shares, “The C-level is hungry for fresh insights to help them formulate strategies and to implement their plans. So, having thought-leading ideas is important to them.” 

The tendency is often to try and sell the C-suite when you cut through the clutter and finally connect with them. But experience proves that this is not the way to begin a relationship with the C-suite. Enlightening them, rather than sending a sales pitch, is more successful. Inform, don’t sell; share a new idea around an area that would impact them, share case studies and examples of companies like them and how you were able to solve a specific business problem. 

Bottom line: don’t waste this valuable opportunity with the C-suite – think of what is important to them and provide some fresh thinking through blogs, white papers, webinars, or videos. 

So, if you want to run a campaign to reach the C-suite that marketing and sales can agree on remember you need to cut through a lot of clutter to get their attention and get past the gatekeeper. And once you make that connection, resist the urge to jump in and immediately sell to them – take the time to think about what is pressing to them and provide some insight they couldn’t get anywhere else.  Yes this will take longer, but the results will be much more positive.  

Want to learn more? Let’s chat.