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Why CXO Agendas Matter

Lee Demby
by Lee Demby on Aug 10, 2011 8:12:00 PM
When talking with customers about the value of Boardroom Insiders C-Level executive profiles, we sometimes hear, "But we do not sell to the C-level."

It's true that in your day-to-day role as a sales or marketing pro, you may never cross paths with an enterprise CXO customer. Most of us spend our time focused on their many lieutenants--the myriad executives and middle managers empowered to make decisions on the company's behalf.

This is all well and good--but if you are like most salespeople and marketers, you want to accelerate the sales cycle, get ahead of RFPs (before they land in your competitors' inboxes) and crack those hard-to-penetrate accounts. Success on these fronts requires proactivity and insight--and familiarity with what we call the CXO agenda.

Every year, C-Level executives issue a handful of business objectives or initiatives that guide all other activities inside their company or department. These can be found in C-Suite interviews, speeches, annual reports and SEC filings. Under the C-Suite's direction, all activity and investment must support these initiatives.

This is a huge opportunity for a sales or marketing pro--if you can show a direct connection between your company's offering and some part of the C-Level agenda, there's no way you can be ignored.

Those well versed in a customer's in the agenda of the C-Suite can answer some of the following types of questions:
  • What are their business goals for the year?
  • What products/solutions are they most focused on?
  • Are they looking to expand internationally or grow domestically?
  • Grow organically or through acquisition?
  • Cut costs or ratchet up R&D/marketing spend/hiring?
  • Are they pro- or anti-cloud computing/bring-your-own-computing?

    Sure, you can wait for the RFP to come out, which will outline what the company thinks it wants. But knowing beforehand what is going to be in that RFP--because you are already engaged with that customer--gives you a definite edge, and an opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted advisor.

    Remember--many companies don't know what they don't know and are looking to their suppliers to understand their business and show them a better way. The vendors that are proactive about doing so come out on top.

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Lee Demby
Written by Lee Demby
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