If senior executives are an important target market for your business, then you know how difficult it can be to get your message heard by this audience. Not only are they extremely busy, but they also receive an abundance of pitches from other vendors. Here are five ways to rise above the noise:
- Listen and learn: Research shows that executive prospects will value more what they ask for than what they’re offered. What they conclude themselves matters more to them than what they’re told. According to Target Marketing Magazine, you should leverage this psychology with your pitches. You can do this by demonstrating respect for their expertise. When approaching them, your goal should be to pique their interest in receiving additional information or in arranging a discussion. And when you do land your first discussion with them, before you start talking, listen to what they have to say. Learn about their challenges. Next, use a consultative approach that addresses the executives’ needs without pushing your products. Indeed, ‘salesy’ messaging will not be viewed favorably and may cause the discussion to end prematurely.
- Communicate on their terms: Top-level executives are laser-focused on successfully implementing their business initiatives. That’s why it’s critical to clearly and quickly convey the business value you bring in support of those initiatives. In other words, executives do not want to learn about your company, the awards you’ve won, or the research reports that explain your product or the market -- at least not initially. When engaging with them, the conversation should start with communicating in the context of their initiative and on their terms. Focus on how you can serve them.
- Think big: Because they have a different perspective than their junior colleagues, when communicating with this audience, you’ll need to adjust your value proposition and messaging accordingly. Steer clear of tactics and instead concentrate on the big picture, from ROI and revenue growth, to enabling them to achieve their business outcomes.
- Use numbers: Executives will not be interested in soft or vague benefits or nth-level product features. They will want hard, quantifiable data that demonstrates how your solution impacts their KPIs and drives financial performance. You can conduct your own outcome calculations – and for optimum impact, combine them with third-party references or studies that validate your claims.
- Show use cases: In this age of crowdsourcing, customer references are often the most effective way to get a prospect’s attention. In the B2B world, being able to provide a recognizable brand name as a customer reference is pure gold. At a minimum, when courting B2B executives, be prepared with several strong use cases demonstrating how your customers handled a similar initiative, and the financial or quantifiable improvements they achieved.
Targeting senior executives takes time, diligence and a measure of creativity. What strategies do you use to stand out in today’s competitive business environment?
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