Despite their ability to multi-task and see the big picture, these busy CXOs can be a challenge to connect with. However, getting an executive to become an advocate for your brand is well worth the effort.
In the fifth post in our multi-part series on how to engage professionals in different industries, we’re sharing how to build a relationship with the elusive executive.
Who is the executive?
The well-regarded Myers-Briggs personality type indicator pegs executives as a clear-cut part of the “ENTJ” group, which means they tend to rank high in extraversion, intuition, thinking, and judging. They are the natural-born leaders, and typically possess traits like independence, dominance, and confidence.
Despite the pressure of their position, executives are often less stressed than other managerial types because of their ability to be in control, and effectively manage the demands of their job.
Their underlying goal is to push their career forward, and that means focusing on both growing their company, and nurturing the teams that will help make that a reality.
5 things you should never do when engaging an executive
As a marketer, it can be hard to reach executives. If you do get a moment of their time, avoid these common pitfalls and you should be able to win them over.
1. Waste time on fancy jargon, long emails, etc.
Executives are in demand, which means their time is carefully planned. However, they are excellent multitaskers, and can handle more than the average Joe. This means they will listen to you—but you have to show them value fast.
“Never overestimate the amount of time they will devote to listening to you,” says Davin Wilfrid, Marketing Manger at QuickBase. “They won’t read anything longer than 200 words with no bullets, and they won’t wade through the fluff to find the point of your content. You have to give it to them quickly.”
Cut to the chase, be clear and concise, and respect the value of their time.
2. Focus on yourself
Executives are focused on growth – their own, their company’s, and that of their team. As long as you can clearly show how becoming an advocate for your brand will assist on this front, you’ll be successful.
“It’s all about the bottom line for them—revenue growth, cost savings/avoidance, and return on investment,” says Liz Pedro, Director, Customer Success Marketing at Mitel. “You have only a few seconds to get your point across, so make a strong story using metrics.”
3. Forget to stroke their ego
Show executives you care about their opinions. For example, they love providing feedback on your products and services. If you decide to let them vote on product features, or give them access to beta releases, make sure they know how you’re going to incorporate their ideas.
Executives want to be seen as a leader in their field. Point them to industry-specific posts and reports that they can comment on, and they’ll appreciate it.
4. Give them predictable rewards
Other personas may get giddy at the idea of winning a gift card or hot new tech toy. But if an executive wants a coffee, they’ll buy a coffee. You need to give them something money can’t buy.
Executives are looking for opportunities to enhance their professional toolkits, so consider experience-driven rewards, like lunch with a known industry expert.
5. Don’t connect them with your CXOs
“[Executives] like to speak with other executives, generally,” says Spencer Duncan, North America Reference Coordinator at Ceridian HCM. “They want to speak broadly at a high-level, so never match executives with an administrator who’s in the weeds. They dislike hearing about day-to-day operations and minute details.”
Think of it this way: Why would customer executives engage with your brand if your own executives aren’t? Getting your higher ups to join the conversation will motivate other execs to interact.
Just like executives have their balancing act down pat, you, too, need to have a balance between providing worthwhile experiences and creative rewards. Your biggest challenge is understanding what is most important to an executive, and how you can deliver it to them efficiently.
This new eBook series explores the art and science behind engaging advocate marketing programs, including:
- Insight into the advocate persona (e.g., IT, HR, sales, etc.)
- Key challenges and how to address them
- How to position your asks effectively
- Sample challenges from real advocate marketing programs
- Tips from marketers who have experience working with this persona
Sign up now to gain access to all of the eBooks, including Engaging Executive Advocates.