Influence people

Friday, September 29, 2017

How Do You Reach C-Level Buyers?

A C-level buyer, Trisha Winter plays hard to get.

"Speaking as a B2B buyer, I don’t answer my phone anymore," she writes in Business to Community. "I don’t read cold emails—in fact, thanks to overcoming 'inbox zero' tendencies, I don’t even take the time to open/delete them anymore. I used to, but with the insane influx of new technologies geared toward marketing, too many people were trying to reach me pushing their 'life-changing' solutions. It was too much noise, and it wasn’t sustainable if I wanted to get my job done."

Winter wonders if any marketing tactic works with C-level buyers—executives who are so brutally busy, they're "forced to completely ignore the noise."

She rules out the top two contenders.

Content. Content marketing doesn't work, Winter says. Although it could be effective, most content is "fluff" no one ever sees. "Even if you create the perfect piece of content, you are still just crossing your fingers that it reaches me," she says. "For content marketing to work, it has to be combined with influencer marketing to have a hope of getting in front of the intended audience."

Trade shows. Exhibit marketing doesn't work, either, Winter says. "I do attend some trade shows, but I won’t stop by your booth unless I’ve heard of you and have identified that you meet a need or solve a problem I have," she says. "Which means trade shows don’t work for top-of-the-funnel lead generation. And let’s face it, TOFU leads are way better than BOFU leads because you can shape the deal without competitors."

So what works?

Account-Based Marketing. "If a seller is researching me, engaging with me in social media, learning about my business and personalizing their approach, there is a much greater chance they’ll get my attention," Winter says. "But remember, I don’t read emails nor answer my phone, so direct mail and social media are the only options here."

Referral Marketing. "As a buyer, there is no question that this is the most effective way to get my attention," Winter says. "If I’m approached by a former colleague or a trusted adviser (like a salesperson from a vendor I have a good relationship with), I pay attention. If they tell me there is a solution out there that could solve my problems, I’m clearing my calendar to take a meeting."

Winter recommends combing both tactics.

But what if you could combine all four?

That's the philosophy behind PLAYBOOK, a lead-gen system my business partner and I have created.

PLAYBOOKusing a combination of direct mail, email, telemarketing, and an appallows marketers to target trade show attendees with offers compelling enough to attract them to an exhibit. It also helps them motivate salespeople to chase and close deals immediately after the event—the Achilles Heel of exhibit marketing.

We're ready to assist any marketer eager to reach those hard-to-get buyers like Trisha Winter.

Just give us a call.

1 comment:

  1. Bob,
    For what it is worth I disagree with much of what Trisha has to say here. And agree some as well.

    What I agree with: She said, "and have identified that you meet a need or solve a problem (of mine)."

    I learned decades ago that prospects will ignore anything and everything you advertise, promote, exhibit, blast, call about, and pitch, IF they have no pain, or need for it. And IF you put the right word(s), or promise in front of them at the right moment, they will be all over it.

    Trade shows work, damn it! Heck, all of these channels work IF you get them in front of a person, C-level or otherwise at the right moment in time. However, I will take a trade show, or expo almost any day over the others. Because, I know they came to the show for a reason and their attention is there and not on everything else on their plate. Plus, I know if I talk to someone at a show, I can glean what their needs and circumstances are better. AND, they are 10x more likely to take my call, open and reply to my follow-up email after the show too. Which actually reinforces some of Trisha's Account-Based Marketing points.

    Yes, a referral is good, and sometimes great! But those execs are busy too. And often they are reluctant to refer a salesperson, because they don't want to imposed on their friends and contacts either.

    All channels work. Keep in mind that Sales-101 teaches us, it takes an average of "7 touches" to close a sale. But I will take trade shows, and the leads they generate any day over pushing through the other channels. Because those leads actually accelerate the sales process.


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