Engagement with the C-suite is the holy grail of enterprise marketing, but if everyone is trying to do it surely only very few can succeed.
That is the view of Janis Fratamico, Global VP of Field Marketing at Citrix, who argued in her keynote session at Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2021 that a thorough re-think of engagement strategy is required if organisations want to build the relationships that can build and maintain sustainable growth.
“Executive engagement is held up as the gold standard for us, but in my view executive engagement is not as important as decision-maker engagement,” she says.
“Everyone wants to engage the C-suite, to have a relationship with the CEO, CFO, or CIO, but in my experience the folks in these roles often delegate their decision-making to people in their teams – and these are the people you need to build a relationship with.
“You can waste time and budget going after the top dogs, and the truth is that everyone is sending them material and inviting them to bespoke events – what makes yours any different?
“It is better to focus on the people who will make the decisions that will best impact on your company, and these are often line of business heads who are not in the C-suite.”
The key here is insight, with those organisations that have a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s buying team more likely to succeed.
Knowing who does what, who has budget authority, who is building the business case for change internally, and who has the final say are the beginning. What follows is building a relationship with those people to discover how they like to be engaged with.
“That’s absolutely it,” Fratamico says. “The most critical aspects are to identify the level of trust you need to get a decision, identify how that person works and don’t rely on your product.
“What works, more often than not, is understanding what your prospect needs to get promoted and defining what’s of value to your prospect’s customers or end users.
Janis Fratamico, Global VP of Field Marketing at Citrix
What works, more often than not, is understanding what your prospect needs to get promoted and defining what’s of value to your prospect’s customers or end users.
“They are the things that are going to matter to my prospect. If you hone in on those messages, then the next trick is to get that in front of those people.
“For that you need to focus on what moves people as humans. What are their interests in their regular life, and need to replicate those interests in your business comms.”
There is a chance here to be bold with your content. There is no reward for doing the same as everybody else.
“The expectation of audiences is always going up,” she says. “That makes it complicated.
“There is always a fear and acceptance of mediocrity as success in our industry, so people fall back on doing what they know. But if you take a risk you have more chance of being noticed – and of being able to make that breakthrough.
“For example, we say there are short attention spans in B2B these days, but I don’t buy that. People are prepared to binge watch hours and hours of TV series, so I think attention spans are the same. Could it be that we just haven’t created content that is engaging enough?
“If you make something good, something really good, people will engage with it. So don’t settle for mediocrity.”
This content was drawn from the Experts Explain: Executive Engagement session at the Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2021 conference. The full recording of this and all sessions are available on demand at no cost for Momentum ITSMA members on the Growth Hub.
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