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Executive Buyers: They’re Just Not That into You

BillWallaceToday's post is by Bill Wallace, vice president of Revenue Storm, a global sales consulting and revenue acceleration firm.



Why Executive Messaging Fails

Your messaging should capture an executive’s attention within eight seconds. Miss the mark, and you’ve not only wasted the executive’s time but created a negative impression.

Unfortunately, many sales and marketing professionals don’t communicate well at this critical level. Instead of giving executives the information they want, sales and marketing professionals often share what they want executives to know about them.

Executives don’t care about you, your products, or your services. Quit talking about yourself and make the message about them – their wants and needs. Start connecting your messages to the business issues that matter most to executives. Come with insight instead of data.

According to research conducted by SiriusDecisions, executive buyers value business and industry insight four times more than they value traditional product knowledge. Express in clear, measurable terms how you can affect their business or drive revenue, improve margins, gain market share, reduce churn, etc. If you miss this essential component, all of the creative coolness in the world won’t save you. Everything else is just fluff.

How to Fix It

First, you need to determine to whom your messaging should be directed. That sounds easy, but it isn’t. In the world of complex solutions, your messaging should target several people. Multiple decision makers and influencers are involved. An average complex solution could involve six different titles.

Make this your mantra:

  • Right Target: What titles are commonly involved in making decisions, and who are the key influencers? Each of these titles will have different concerns, and your message should be tailored to accommodate them.
  • Right Message: Exactly what are you going to say to them? They don’t have time and won’t bother to figure out your intent unless it’s short, sweet, and plays to their interests. Your message needs to communicate what you can do for them, and it needs to be expressed in business language. Industry jargon and tech talk are the kiss of death. Test your message internally with titles similar to your targets. You have one shot. Don’t miss.
  • Right Media: What form will your message take? While using multiple channels is best, leverage the appropriate media for that buyer profile. Make sure you are being consistent. How many times have you seen messaging sent to the field but undermined by the Website? Your advertising, PR, Website, social media, and sales support materials MUST have the same messaging for the appropriate targets.

Finally, consider the goal of your message. Are you trying to sell something directly to the target? Are you working to open doors? Are you preconditioning? It’s all about mental shelf-space: you need to capture attention and be clear on the intent.

Once you’ve determined the objectives of the messaging, the mantra, “Right Target, Right Message, and Right Media,” is a great way to keep you on the right trajectory and ensure that your messaging hits the mark every time. 

Hear more about Sales & Marketing Convergence from Bill and Revenue Storm at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18, 2014. 


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