For B2B marketers and sellers, getting access to the C-suite and developing strong relationships with those leaders can often serve as the starting point of a long-term relationship between the individuals and the companies involved. The three most important reasons for developing an engagement approach that focuses on the most senior executives in your client organizations are:
- Executives cut through the clutter that can often create delays in sales cycles. If you bring them into what you are trying to achieve and show them how it aligns to their overall business strategy, they will very quickly become a key influencer in the sales cycle.
- Executives often have access to other lines of budget. While the reason for engagement is not to be transactional, in your work with an executive leader, you can often find access to budget that otherwise may not be known by those lower down in the organization. Focus on the leaders’ needs and business outcomes and funding will follow.
- Executives are more likely to engage in co-creation. More so than those who report to them, executives will explore a shared strategy model. This may include co-creation of new products; larger ecosystem or partnership development; even shared risk and shared upside or shared value models, depending on the work being done. Most executives can see the forest for the trees, and look to be engaged at a level that will have higher impact than just the engagement they are contracting your company to do.
Gaining access to the C-suite and developing a strategy to engage on an ongoing basis with this audience is not simple. It requires a long term view, with a clear understanding of the executive’s strategy … not your sales approach. In the end, these are relationships and the value must be felt on both sides.