One topic we touched on was how to become a trusted advisor. We tried to answer the big questions of “What does it take to build trust with the C-suite?” and “How do you turn that aspiration of trusted advisor into practical action?” This is important for B2B marketers who are trying to sell large, complex solutions.
Tamsen and Adam offered six tips, based on their experience:
- Give it time. I loved when Tamsen reminded us that “you don’t date and get married on the same day,” because she’s right – it takes time and patience to build a relationship, especially with senior executives. You do that by demonstrating consistency in what and how you deliver solutions, by offering insights that align to their vision, and by giving them something new.
- Know what’s at stake. You need to understand what’s at stake for the client, the implications associated with making the wrong choice (or not quite the right choice), and how that can expose the CXO to risk. Acknowledge the intrinsic anxiety around making these big strategic decisions and remember that asking a client to take a leap of faith could cost them everything if you don’t deliver.
- Walk in the client’s shoes. In addition to knowing the client’s stakes, look at the situation from their point of view. What’s on the table for them to win or lose? How will your service or solution help them achieve their goals? Is the potential risk of partnering with you greater than the potential reward?
- Leverage the ecosystem. Another point is to gain trust within the client’s trusted ecosystem, whether that’s internal or with partners they already work with. Leveraging the ecosystem not only shortens your cycles, but it also focuses on what’s important to the client.
- Drive applicable innovation. Remember that CXOs have big expectations on innovation and they’re making enormous investments. They’re grappling with profound changes to the ways in which they deliver solutions, workforce transformation, expectations around mobility and productivity, and new tools and digitalization of the workspace for themselves and for their customers. To be a trusted advisor, you have to find ways to drive innovation that’s pragmatic, evolutionary, applicable, and impactful in the right ways.
- Don’t sell; solve the client’s problem. Look at what you bring to the table as part of their overall solution. Remind yourself that you are not the solution. Your product or service is not the solution. The solution is what you can do for them. And don’t try to be all things to all people. Be honest about what your strengths are, where you can help, and how you can partner with their ecosystem on the things you don’t specialize in to ensure their success.
These are some of the simple but difficult things that B2B marketers can do to differentiate themselves and add value to their C-suite clients on their way to gaining that coveted role as a trusted advisor.
This is just one of many topics that Adam, Tamsen, and I batted about. Listen to the full episode to hear more on:
- The pace of change in the C-suite
- The rise of ESG and corporate purpose
- The intersection of ABM and executive engagement
- And more!