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Big Data CXOs: Top Five Tips for Engaging C-Level Decision Makers

Sharon Gillenwater

This is the fourth and final article in our special series on selling to CXOs, using CXOs with known Big Data initiatives ("Big Data CXOs") as an example.

In our first article, we talked about the concept of the "surgical strike" and how it can help you close bigger deals, faster. 

We also offered you a valuable tool to get started: a free list of hundreds of CXOs with known big data initiatives in place (see orange button below).

Our second article offered simple tips for finding this type information on your own

In our last post, we covered how to connect the dots between an executive's key initiatives and the solutions you are selling.

Now that you are well on your way to being relevant to these executive decision makers, this post puts forth some ideas for keeping the conversation going. What follows are our top five tips for creating communications and programs to appeal to C-level decision makers. 

1. Demonstrate Thought Leadership by sending a relevant article, piece of industry research or book with a personal note. Snail mail with a hand-written note works best in these days of digital communication overload.

2. Designate Executive Sponsors who have something in common with your target executives. Many companies have formal Executive Sponsorship programs where they designate one of their own executives as the sponsor for a key account. Why not choose one of your executives who has something in common with one of the key decision makers? Whether they are both from Brooklyn, served time in the military or went to the same university, having something in common can help break the ice and build relationships.

3. Help Them Be a Thought Leader by asking them to do a brief interview for your company's publication or blog on a relevant topic. This is not about asking them to talk about your company; it's to talk about their business or something else that they care about. Choose a topic that will make them look smart and advance their own personal brand. In the example of the Big Data CXO, you could ask them for example, "How has data-driven insight changed your company's go-to-market strategy?" or "How has the rising importance of marketing analytics changed the way you work your company's marketing team?"

4. Create a Relevant Executive Event. Create content and select speakers based on insight gleaned from profiling your CXO customers. CXOs say content and networking are the top two reasons they attend events, so make sure your content aligns with their careabouts--and call this out in a personal note when you invite them. Better yet, invite them to speak at your event on a topic about which they are passionate.

5. Invite Them to a VIP Program at an Industry Event. See the note about content and relevance above. Create a by-invitation-only event-within-an-event at a key industry tradeshow where you know CXOs gather--and make sure the topic aligns with what they care about.

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Big Data will be to the next decade what the Internet was to the 1990s and early 2000s. Over the next ten years it will change businesses and education in ways that we can't imagine right now."

William Gerard (Gerry) McCartney, VP, IT, CIO of Purdue University


We hope this series on Big Data CXOs has given you some ideas that you can immediately put to use for your company. If you have feedback or another topic you would like us to cover, please drop us a line.

Boardroom Insiders wishes you success in your next executive engagement!

CEOs of the Fortune 500


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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.
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