As digital experiences, technology, data, and audience solutions become more complex, we increasingly need access to the C-Suite. Only there can we move past the limited, parochial needs and buying concerns of individual budget holders and channels and bring things together. But there are two problems:
First, most of us show up for our hard-to-book C-Suite interactions with an agenda that’s far too junior and tactical, and we get swiftly delegated or – worse – ignored. It’s the second problem that’s causing the first: we don’t fully realize what the C in C-Suite stands for.
Nominally, yes, the folks in the C-Suite may all have Chief titles. But if you’re hoping to make an impact and a difference with these people, then consider what the C really represents:
Commerce. If your solution has a connection to selling the customer’s product or service, you better get there quickly and specifically. And don’t gussy things up with technical jargon: speak in the client’s own language, whether that’s shopping cart expansion, driving qualified customers into their retail funnel, key customer retention or something else. Don’t fall back on the lazy shorthand of branding or response rates, and make it elegantly simple.
Competition. In the C-Suite they get paid to compete. If you don’t know the specific competitive product or model for this customer, learn fast. They won’t necessarily understand your technology or diagrams, but a thoughtful, specific story about besting a competitor (especially one who may be outspending them) will land every time.
Calendar. Brands and services live and die with the calendar. Product shipping dates, promotions, holidays, launches, cash-back offers, menu-item launches and more. Understanding the flow and patterns of the customer’s business calendar not only gives us credibility, but also helps us tie our ideas to time sensitive dates.
Coordination. C-Suite customers don’t manage silos, they bring them together. Your digital or audio or CTV solution by itself is not interesting to them. But once you start to address how your solutions magnify, connect or support what other media and marketing disciplines are doing… now you got something.
Collaboration. I can’t overstate this. C-Suite customers don’t want to watch you present your deck. Any deck. If you’re not planning your meeting with a detailed plan for engaged collaboration, you’re making a serious mistake. Be the host, not the entertainment. Give the customer an active role in the meeting and the solution. Imagine your customer leaning into the discussion, making changes, taking ownership: Now work backward from there.
Decide why those in the C-Suite truly need to hear about your solutions. Upgrade your approach to the business accordingly. Don’t just say different things; be a bigger resource to their business. Then you’ll deserve your meetings and the great results they’ll produce.
Bring these ideas to life in our new Upstream Scenario workshop, "Leveling Up for Bigger Titles." Reach out today for a discussion about engaging your team.
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