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Lead Generation to C-level Executives: How to be top mind and in front of executives

Many organizations are hesitant to telemarket to C-level executives. The perception is that they are difficult to reach and not interested in the message. Although this can be true, there are effective ways to communicate with this audience. Below are tips on how to craft appropriate messaging, create relevant email, work with gatekeepers, understand roles, and address key influencers in order to successfully target C-level executives.

Unique Messaging: Put yourself in the shoes of the C-level Executive.

C-level contacts are concerned with the overall business picture and how their pains impact the organization bottom line.

In order to truly be heard by this level, the messaging of the call needs to resonate effectively with them. The messaging that will connect with C-levels is entirely different from the messaging that will speak to manager or director level contacts. For instance, if your product is storage, the messaging to an IT Director might be focused on how your product can help to manage storage growth efficiently without interruption. The C-level messaging would instead emphasize the overall impact on the organization, and you need to demonstrate the link between business processes and your storage solution.

On a telemarketing call with a CXO, you have to ask the right questions, be relevant, and show that you understand their company/industry and challenges.
The following are key to C-level executives

  • Showing rock-solid proof of ROI
  • Aligning IT & business goals
  • Maximizing IT investments
  • Optimizing Infrastructure for growth

Additionally, we find calling early in the morning (prior to 8:00 am) is an effective time to reach the Executive.

Well-defined Email: Align business needs with your company’s solution.

It is essential to integrate email strategies with the telemarketing as many times it is necessary to provide information before gaining access to the Executive. Remember that gatekeepers screen their bosses from anything the least bit salesy.
It is important that the email speaks openly to C-level interests:

  • Profitability
  • Competition
  • Costs
  • Sales
  • Results

It is also important to keep email communication as relevant and brief as possible. The email should be written in terms of business benefits, rather than technology or product benefits. C-level executives are not concerned with how your product or solution works or how it will make their IT director lives easier. What they are concerned with is how your solution will allow them to achieve their business objectives. Gatekeepers read most C-level email first, so make sure that the email speaks to them as well.

Gatekeepers: Keep them Close

There is a strong need to work with the gatekeeper in order to gain access to the CXO. It is likely that the initial telemarketing call will be focused on the C-Level administrator. It should be your policy to treat the gatekeeper like a major player in order to gain their respect, which in turn will help you to achieve access to the actual decision-maker. Instead of trying to avoid the gatekeeper, engage them in conversation whenever possible in order to more effectively reach the decision-maker.

Understand the Role: Not all C-level contacts are created equally

Understand the role a C-level executive has in the decision-making process. Are they the Financial Owner, Problem Owner, or Info Owner.

  • The Financial Owner has control of the money, and their key question for you will be- What’s the ROI?
  • The Problem Owner owns the problem that your product/solution addresses. A Problem owner may be the CIO, and they are measured on the business value provided to the organization. Ensure that your message addresses this. The CIO can be key in linking the business needs and your solution.
  • Although typically not at the c-level, the Info Owner is the contact to give you inside information. The Info Owner is more likely to talk with you, but is not typically the final decision maker.

Talk to Influencers: Utilize the manager/director level influencers and recommenders

If you are having trouble speaking directly to C-level contacts, you can work with influencers (VP, director, manager level) in developing the value proposition. This person may be better prepared to speak with you and give you inside information. They are aware of the day-to-day issues faced throughout the IT environment, and any current initiatives to address these issues. This group will be able to talk more about the details of the issues faced and how they are tasked to improve the situation.

Working with Influencers will also help you to learn more about how the decision process works within their organization. The key is to ask these contacts to bring you into a conversation with the CXO. If they believe you have a solution that will be successful in their organization, they will get the credit for bringing you in. But for them to take you higher, they must trust you and your solution.

Lead generation to C-level contacts can be successful with proper planning and clear purpose. Following these tips can give you a foundation to creating a successful plan.