18 Jul How to Nurture C-Suite Executives by Delivering Value Upfront
We all know that getting in front of senior decision makers is a fairly difficult task. These executives only spend 2% of their time on vendors; and by vendors, what we really mean is “people trying to sell them stuff”.
Until you’ve established enough trust and credibility with these C-Suite executives it can be a tough challenge to build relationships in the first place. So how can you cut through the noise? How can you get in front of these “whale” clients with absolute precision that they simply can’t ignore you?
To answer this tough question, we’ve put together three strategies that you can implement into your marketing mix today. Before we give you the meat, however, you need to understand this very simple fundamental piece of the puzzle.
Without this, all of your precision marketing efforts will lose effectiveness and the strategies I’m about to teach you simply won’t work.
Target with laser precision
Many marketers attempt to attract their dream clients by using the same inbound and outbound marketing strategies that targets “everyone else”. In other words, they don’t treat these senior decision makers as separate personas.
Therefore, it’s important to think outside the box when it comes to generating these high-value leads and turning them into sales pipeline.
Think about this inbound marketing strategy; you publish a high-quality article to a publication such as Inc. and it drives traffic to a custom landing page. The CEO of a large company may read this article and, while finding it incredibly valuable, may not take the action you want them to take.
This also goes for any outbound strategies, especially ones that fail to deliver some form of value upfront. But by focusing only on specific high-value senior people within your target companies and markets is the most effective way of guiding them down the sales cycle.
So, as promised, here are three strategies you can adopt that will help you to generate these high value leads and keep your sales team very happy bunnies.
1. Tailored content that solves a problem
When creating something like a whitepaper or blog post, you’re likely creating it for a specific buyer persona. The goal would then be to guide them down your marketing funnel and turn them into a lead.
This is great, and it works, but when it comes to high-value prospects you have to really get their attention. You’ve got to do something that will impress them, deliver value and give them some “aha!” moments, too.
Creating content that outlines specific problems within their business is an incredibly effective way of getting past gatekeepers and grabbing a senior decision maker’s attention. Making it directly related to your value proposition, and offering them a solution on how to fix it, boosts your positioning power and builds trust.
You can create this content in the form of a report or even a video. Video can be incredibly effective as it establishes a more personal connection and builds authority at the same time. A 7 to 10 minute video might be more appealing to a CEO than a 20 page report, for example. Like all marketing strategies it’s worth testing to see what works best.
At the end of your report or video you should then invite them into an appointment. The call-to-action should be specific and the appointment should be positioned in a way that will deliver even more value to the decision maker you’re targeting.
As this is an outbound strategy, don’t be surprised if only a handful of prospects take action. It’s important to have a good follow-up system in place to help guide them through the sales cycle and book the appointment.
2. Social media & the law of reciprocity
If you’ve never heard of the law of reciprocity it’s quite simple to understand. Basically, when you do something for others they feel more obliged to do things for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, you’ll find that the majority of the strategies I share in this article take advantage of this law. I’m bringing it up here because it involves social media and the way most marketers use it.
As you may know, social media is usually most effective when used as an extension of your networking efforts and customer service team. We’re going to be focusing on the former here.
Some people believe believe that you won’t find senior decision makers on social media, and that it’s a waste of time. However, LinkedIn and Twitter are tools that many CXO’s use for networking and connecting with others.
You probably want to avoid adding them as a Facebook friend. It’s unlikely they want to see updates about your dog’s trip to the vet and photos of you on holiday.
When connecting with a CXO through LinkedIn, always include a custom invite message and use it to state your intention. The best way to do this is to make a connection between them and published content that is being seen by your audience.
Create a blog post or other piece of content that mentions the CXO in question as well as their company, including a link back to their website. Make sure it fits in with the context of the content. Bonus points are earned if it explains how they can fix a specific problem.
Once published, make the LinkedIn connection and include a link to the article in the invite. Don’t ask for anything in return yet! Just tell them that you’ve included them in your latest blog post, whitepaper or whatever form of content you’ve created and leave it there.
When they accept your request to connect you’ll have your foot in their door. You can use LinkedIn’s “Export LinkedIn Connections” feature to download a CSV and acquire their email address. It’s up to you to progress the conversation further from here.
You can also do this over Twitter by mentioning the CXO’s username as well as the company’s, which can also help build some extra top-of-funnel traffic from their followers.
3. Build an exclusive environment that you control
Creating an event, such as a dinner or discussion, can bring several of your target senior prospects into an environment that you can control. This is probably the quickest way of guiding them from the withdrawal stage of the relationship-building process all the way to the trust stage.
To avoid diluting the value of what you’re offering it’s best to avoid using the word “event” where possible. Instead, invite them into a club where they will connect with other influencers and CXO’s in their industry, as well as any of your current clients or advocates. This acts as a huge boost to your social proof.
The discussion should be around a particular topic that affects them and their business directly. It should deliver value, spark discussion between others around the table and, above all, position you and your company as an absolute authority in what you do.
This is by far the quickest way of generating high-value pipeline worth millions of pounds. We’ve helped several companies build their clubs, invite the top C-Suite executives within their target companies and create a huge amount of sales pipeline, and every time we’ve done it within 6 to 8 weeks.
That’s right; where usually it would take 6 to 12 months to build a 7 figure pipeline, you can drastically reduce the time to as little as 6 weeks.
Your club doesn’t have to just end at the physical event; valuable content can still be delivered via a club website and LinkedIn group well after the day of the dinner. I highly recommend you consider this as it can keep the conversation going and put you at the top of their minds for longer.
As you can see, these marketing strategies all utilise different tactics and channels in order to target C-Suite executives, but they revolve around a simple principle.
In a nutshell, it’s all about providing them with value upfront. Value specific to them, their goals and their challenges.
We’ve used words like “laser focused” and “tailor made content”, but we can summarise everything we’ve talked about here quite simply. Making them feel like they’re the only person you’re talking to.