You’re a B2B marketing manager and you’ve spotted a great opportunity to improve your results. It’s a combination of marketing automation and social media, and it’s a sure-fire way to generate more leads than ever before. However, before you can call the supplier and sign up your company, you first need to get approval from the board. Whether it’s the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), or a combination of all the top brass, these individuals can put an end to your latest idea before it's even begun. So how can you ensure you achieve buy-in from the C-Suite and get your plans off the ground? Here’s how…
Know your audience
Similar to creating targeted marketing messages, write and present your ideas in a way that you know your audience will engage with. This means you’ll have to do your research and almost create a persona document for the member(s) of the board you are targeting. ‘Is it worth the effort?’ we hear you cry. Well, consider this. Your CFO is exclusively focused on profit and loss, so you’ll need to show how your new tool will cover its costs and generate ROI. Your CIO will be most concerned with how your idea will integrate with the existing technology infrastructure without becoming a security risk. The CMO will want to see how the solution will generate leads, sales, and ultimately revenue. Now, try creating a presentation that is suitable for all these decision-makers at once. It’s almost impossible, right? And that’s why it’s so important to approach each pitch differently, depending on which member of the board you’re seeing.
Strike while the iron is hot
Just because this new idea is the biggest thing in your professional life at the moment, doesn’t mean everyone will care just as much as you do. In fact, if you approach the board for funding at the ‘wrong’ time, you could be shot down before you even get started. So, take your time and be patient. Firstly, make sure you have a robust plan, and that you can answer any questions they may raise. Now, keep your ear to the ground and wait for things to go ‘quiet’ – or at least as quiet as they can be at board level. When you know they are not tied up with a major issue or are not planning another large-scale investment, make your move. This approach will mean you are less likely to be side-lined, or more disappointingly, fobbed off.
Benefits not features
If your business has set out clear goals and objectives for the year, then approaching them with an unrelated and frankly ‘left field’ idea could once again see you left out in the cold. However, if you package up your idea and present it as an accompaniment or complimentary solution to their objectives, then you have a better chance of being heard. Like the marketer you are, separate the benefits from the features of your solution, and relate these benefits to the business objectives. For example, if your company is looking for widespread business growth, then going in talking about a tool that ties social media activity with marketing automation is unlikely to gain much attention. However, if you go in and focus on the fact that you can increase leads, sales, and revenue by 40%, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the C-Suite will sit up and take notice.
Conclusion: play your part
This may seem like a great deal of hard work, time, and effort. However, the marketers that fully commit to the process are the ones that are currently basking in the latest marketing technology, processes, and channels. They are also the ones most likely to be generating the best results for the business… and ultimately receiving the biggest accolades. So, is it really worth it? Of course is it.
If you’re looking for support in your multi-channel marketing activity and would like help putting together a business case for your C-Suite, simply speak to us today on 02392 314498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.