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Talking to the right people: how to reach C-suite decision makers

When it comes to sales and marketing, making sure you’re talking to the right people is key. After all, discussing the benefits of your product or service with someone who’s not in a position to make or influence a decision is a waste of precious time for both of you. Instead, you should focus your efforts on attracting the attention of those people who will swing the vote. In other words, you should head straight for the top.

Do your research

Start by knowing exactly who it is you need to contact. Make sure you’ve done your research on the business and the decision-making unit in order to find out your first port of call. This is where professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, are incredibly useful. Have a look at the profiles of people who work at the target organisation, on LinkedIn as well as on the company website. From here you should be able to gather their seniority, relevance and the all-important contact details.

Get friendly with the gatekeepers

Nine times out of ten, you’ll find your path to the main decision-maker blocked by a gatekeeper, such as a PA or front desk receptionist. This is only natural; C-suite executives are busy people! Aim to make the gatekeeper in question your best friend and don’t be too pushy or aggressive in your approach. Instead, acknowledge their job, as well as your prospect’s busy schedule, and help to make their lives easier. You might find yourself walking through the gate sooner than you thought!

Stay on top of organisational changes

Within any organisation, change is bound to happen. Restructuring, retirement and new hires can all cause a shuffle in roles and responsibilities. Make sure you’re on top of who’s who in the business and always know who your point of contact is. B2B data is particularly prone to decay, especially in fast-moving sectors such as technology. With new GDPR legislation coming into effect, there is an even greater obligation for businesses to keep their data accurate and up-to-date. A regular data cleanse provides a robust starting point for identifying and reaching the right individuals.

Understand the buying process

Again, this involves some forensics. You’ll need to find out how the buying process works within your chosen organisation. Try and work out where your product lies in the price and value brackets. For example, a piece of crucial software will fall into the high cost, high strategic value category. In cases like this, it’s safe to assume that a C-suite decision-making unit (DMU) will be your best bet. However, for lower value items, like stationery, it’s unlikely that you’re going to need to get in touch with the big bosses, unless of course you are pitching a central purchase to a large global organisation.

In your initial stages of building the relationship, with the gatekeepers or the decision-makers themselves, take the time to understand their purchase cycle and the process they need to go through in order to have a decision signed off. This will help you to communicate better with them, at the right times, and not be too pushy at the wrong times.

Consider the motivations of each individual

The only way to build strong connections with senior people is to understand how you can provide value. Each individual will have different requirements and motivations and it is important to understand these in order to create a value proposition.

Consider each viewpoint including:

  • Fears and challenges

  • Drivers and motivators

  • Organisational goals and priorities

  • Problems and issues

Tailor your proposition and personalise your messaging according to the insights you glean.

It’s all about mobile

Gone are the days when C-suite professionals stayed behind their desks. Mobile technology allows chief business professionals to stay online anywhere and anytime. As such, you should make sure all of your digital content is optimised and ready for consumption across a range of devices. It’s also a good idea to test out timings – C-suite professionals often take an “always-on” approach to business so serving them content out of the usual nine to five won’t hurt!

Don’t burn bridges

As you extend your reach and engage more senior decision makers, don’t neglect other relationships. An end-user of your product or service may not be part of a formal decision-making unit but they can always influence decisions and represent your interests internally. If they are a fan of your products already, they are likely to champion your cause and help you build your case.

Remember, C-suite decision makers are human too!

Just like all of us, top execs have families, hobbies and personalities to take into account. Building up a rapport with senior level prospects is based on all the same principles as with any other contact; listen to their needs and offer a helping hand with a friendly and professional manner. Such a personal approach requires a highly personal channel. Telemarketing not only brings that human touch to your marketing strategy, it can help you access hard-to-reach individuals who are not often receptive to digital communication.

If you lack skilled callers to get past gatekeepers, need to identify senior contacts within key accounts and understand their motivations, or are struggling to find a clean, profiled database of key contacts, we can help. For more information on our telemarketing, telephone research and data services, get in touch today!

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