Role of C-Level Data for Effective Business Growth

For effective growth of a business, it is very useful to have constructive interaction with the senior-most executives of those companies which are prospective clients. This blog explains how useful data on those C-level executives can help.

Marketers in all industry are usually more than willing to do the necessary legwork in order to get their sales pipelines larger and more productive. They might meet 10 people every day, or write hundreds of emails, some standardized and some tailor-made. The problem happens when marketers begin to feel that they are not getting the right returns for all their efforts. A better return on investment would encourage a lot more marketers to track their ROI more and probably put more efforts into marketing.

A major reason for marketers not getting good returns for their reports is that they are, figuratively speaking, barking up the wrong tree. Let us take the example of email marketing. Many email recipient lists contain details of mid-level executives who might be sympathetic to the marketer and his/her products or services but not at a high enough level in the hierarchy to be able to take decisions to help them.

The use of emails to market products or services cannot be reduced, though, because email usage is only set to increase, from about 3 million today to more than 4 million by 2023. This means that the emails should be sent to the C-level executives who can actually make decisions. By C-suite positions, we are referring to the CEO or CIO or CMO or COO – those few positions which are at the very top of the hierarchy in any company.

The Advantages of Writing to C-level Executives

The chances of a C-level executive actually opening your email and going through the contents might not be very high. But then, this doesn’t mean that all mid-level executives actually open 100% of the marketing emails they receive. The point that is sought to be made is that if a mid-level and a C-level executive both open the same level, then the chances of the senior executive being able to actually do something if he wants to is greater.

Another factor is that if a marketer starts off by working on a middle or lower level executive, who in turn convinces the executive above him or her, and so on, till you reach the C-level executive, then each succeeding level is more difficult to convince. The marketer would need to depend on the convincing ability of the people reporting to the C-level executives. But if he or she is able to reach out to the C-level executive directly, and get buy-in, then the executive himself would convince the rest of the team, and the marketer wouldn’t need to do much else.

There is another benefit of corresponding with C-level executives, especially in traditional companies. When you speak to mid-level executives, they might be experts in their own areas, but might not have a higher level view of their business and what might be good for it. A C-level executive, on the other hand, would have a more holistic view of the business and would be able to appreciate the overall benefits (or disadvantages) of a particular product or service.

C-Level Database

When you are trying to communicate with C-level executives, either face to face or through emails, it is not enough to know just the name and email id. Smart marketers collect a gamut of information about such executives before they even begin to correspond with them. Let us look at three data points that a marketer would usually find useful, although there are many more that are available and are used:

  • Demographics – The age, sex, location, etc. might seem to be very basic data, but they can be useful starting points for deciding upon the content of the messaging for a C-level executive.
  • Education – The educational background, along with the present academic interests, would be useful in deciding which approach of marketing a product would work. This data can be made available from LinkedIn profiles or media articles.
  • Other Interests – this is a factor that is often underestimated in its capacity to influence decision making of C-level executives. The social media posts of such executives give a fair idea of their interests and thinking outside their line of work, which can help in deciding the best form of messaging.

How to Get Best Benefits from C-Level Data

Most effective marketers spend a lot of time and effort in collecting useful data C-level data. But it is more important how best the data can be used. Let us look at four things a marketer can do to get the best benefits from C-level data.

Start With Simple Requests

A mail to a CEO or COO that gets read can be considered to be a small achievement itself. But if the mail contains something that needs a huge commitment of time or the company’s money or manpower might make it difficult to get a response. A small request for the right person to contact, or a message of thanks for attending one of the events would be good enough, anything heavier than that might meet with likely failure.

Be Responsive To get Responses

Much less busier people than C-level executives read almost all of their email on their smartphones, so for this category of very busy people, that likelihood is even greater. In order to ensure that the email communication sent by you is responsive (easily readable on a smartphone), the best solution is to write the mail from your smartphone. This shows you exactly how it will look like to the reader.

Cultivate the Gatekeeper

When it comes to C-level data, most marketers focus on the data about the executives themselves. But you should be aware that for a large majority of these executives, their emails, travel schedules, and appointments are still handled completely on their behalf by their executive assistants. They often act as a gatekeeper and keep out unwanted intruders, and they could be a reason some or most of your communication is failing to get responses. That is why getting useful data about executive assistants and using the data smartly is very important.

Work the Network

You might have got a wealth of useful data which would help in your marketing efforts. But you cannot afford to ignore another rich source of useful data – the professional and personal network of the executives. College friends, ex-colleagues, or sometimes even housing societies of places where the executives stay, all of these can provide useful entries to the mind space of the executives.

Closing Thoughts

Marketers, digital or otherwise, spend a lot of time and effort on collecting different data about their prospects. Data about C-level Executives is probably the one that is most likely to yield results.

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