Executive Engagement: Tips on How to Retain and Grow Executive Relationships

Executives matter. They control budgets that drive significant investment, they set and lead strategy, they impact how employees, customers and other stakeholders think about investments, and they execute quickly. If B2B marketers and sellers collaborate with executives effectively, and deliver value consistently, they partner for the long term.

Most B2B businesses that sell to executive buyers understand the value of this audience, but can fail to understand how to effectively engage executives. Below are some tips to help your executive engagement:

  1. Speak the language of business.
    Enterprises get enamored with their products, solutions and ideas and in sharing the details of their solutions can fail to effectively communicate the outcomes and value delivered. Executives speak in business language and to earn their trust and appreciation for your offerings you must frame things in that language as well.
  2. Incumbency is not a free ticket.
    Executives – like most people – value relationships that matter. Sometimes we assume incumbency will win the day, but today’s environment has made it impossible for anyone to rest on their laurels. It is imperative to demonstrate the value of your incumbency every step of the way.
  3. Depth of experience and expertise is critical.
    Time is something that executives have very little of and as a result, they are looking to vendors who have a depth of understanding of industry, domain and business requirements and can quickly demonstrate excellence, and deliver outcomes quickly.
  4. Invest in executive relationships.
    B2B companies should have robust executive engagement programs that bring value at every touch point to your executive client. Each interaction should be measured to ensure value is delivered for each minute invested.
  5. Listening matters.
    Too often when we get time with an executive, we focus on what we are going to sell, what we need and our goals. While it is important to know your goals, when meeting with an executive it is most important to be clear about their goals – and that must be learned not assumed. Spend time to develop the questions that will bring you clarity and create the discussion that you want to have in order to understand their priorities and continue to position your company in a positive light.

If you are looking to become a trusted advisor to an executive and develop a longer-term relationship, try some of these tips – our experience is they are extremely effective.

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