The higher your price point, the higher in the org chart you’ll need to reach to sell your product. For companies selling to enterprise customers, marketing is about more than reach. It’s about reaching the limited number of people in your industry who are in a position to buy your solution.
An overscheduled C-suite is a unique audience, difficult to engage yet eager for content that helps leaders make timely, effective decisions. Marketers who understand these pain points can turn them into an advantage.
Reach their team
How much of the typical workday does your CIO spend conducting vendor research? Reading about emerging tools in your field? Watching product demos? Probably a lot less than the people one or two levels down in their management team.
In B2B sales, these managers are known as influencers. The products their organizations adopt have a daily impact on the effectiveness of the teams they oversee, and they’re eager to promote their preferred solutions to the people writing the checks. Execs rely heavily on their subordinates to research and vet technology investments. Especially during the discovery stage of the sales cycle, members of the broader buying committee outside the C-suite can be some of the most important people to target with content and campaigns.
Start by revisiting your personas. Do they include influencers like lower-level VPs, procurement managers, or relevant department leaders? Their exact titles will vary by industry, so it can be valuable to chat with sales to help identify the professionals who typically have a say in buying your solution. You can also draw on sales intelligence tools like ZoomInfo (formerly DiscoverOrg) to analyze the organizational charts of companies that match your ideal customer profile. With updated personas, you can fine-tune your editorial calendar, digital campaigns, and wider strategy to encompass the full range of people who are most likely to talk with their leadership about your product.
Offer insights that others don’t
Check your competitors’ newsletters, blogs, and social feeds. There’s a good chance that many of the topics and trends these companies write about repeat each other, with little in the way of new insight for prospective customers to discover.
High-value assets that offer hard-to-find information your audience needs can have a much bigger impact in niche B2B sales than more general content. Even if the latter pulls in more search traffic, unique perspectives are more likely to appeal to the subject matter experts on your prospect’s buying committee—up to and including the decision makers. White papers, surveys, and original research that goes deeper than the first page of search results set your business apart and associates your solution with the business challenges your customers are discussing.
How do you develop unique content? Look for interview opportunities with recognized experts inside your organization or among your customers. If you sell SaaS, explore ways that your aggregated customer data might be used to reveal trends in your industry. You can also study existing voice-of-the-customer initiatives or start conversations with longtime customer contacts and ask, specifically, what information would make them more effective in their jobs. Use that research to inspire the topics of short- and long-form content your prospects won’t find anywhere else.
Invest in executives’ attention
The standard toolset for demand generation doesn’t always cut it for enterprise customers. As effective as they can be, emails, ads, and SEO often fall short when trying to reach high-level employees bombarded with pitches for B2B solutions each day.
If your organization has trouble generating qualified leads within target companies’ leadership, account-based marketing (ABM) can be a more effective approach. This strategy is popular for companies that sell into a limited number of very large organizations. As opposed to spreading marketing resources evenly across all potential prospects, ABM makes a sizable investment in a very select number of highly targeted accounts that hold the most profit potential. (You can download our complete guide to ABM for more details.)
This works because it affords the marketing team the chance to create messaging and campaigns tailored entirely around specific personas, and in some cases, specific companies. Tactics can include personalized, high-value gifts that dovetail with a campaign’s creative messaging, invitations to exclusive networking events for industry leaders, and original content customized for high-priority accounts.
Paid campaigns also can play a role in supporting ABM. Geotargeting can direct ads to users located at or near a specific corporate headquarters or industry conference, for example. Retargeting on Google and social ad platforms also offers the potential to deliver your messaging to decision makers once they’ve engaged with your website.
Any marketing initiative to reach executives also will require thorough support for Sales. Repackage high-value, persona-specific assets in a variety of formats that are easy for sales reps to send during their outreach. Be sure to invest in the bottom of your funnel, as well. Fact sheets, product spec documents, and pitch presentations circulated late in the sale process are sometimes the only marketing assets seen by senior executives granting final approval. Be sure they meet the same high standards for copy and design that you apply to content for demand generation.
If you’ve created content to position people in your organization as industry thought leaders, explore their willingness to conduct executive-to-executive sales outreach. Often, a CIO/CMO/CEO will be more interested in starting a conversation with someone at their level in your organization than with a sales rep. Marketing can help facilitate this approach by supporting their leaders’ social profiles and creating messaging for direct outreach to prospective decision makers.
Marketing to C-level executives is a challenge, but not as daunting as it might seem. Corporate leadership is an audience like any other. And effective marketers can create messaging and tailor strategies that bring top-level decision makers into their funnel.
Want to reach B2B executives with SME-level content creation, digital strategy, and end-to-end account-based marketing? Contact PMG to learn how we can help.