Big Data CXOs: Connecting the Dots

    October 22, 2013

    This is the third of four articles in our special series on engaging Big Data CXOs.

    In our first article, we talked about the concept of the "surgical strike" and how it can help you close bigger deals, faster. 

    We also offered you a valuable tool to get started: a free list of hundreds of CXOs with known big data initiatives in place (see button below).

    Our second article offered simple tips for finding this type information on your own

    In this post, we cover how to connect the dots between an executive's key initiatives and the solutions you are selling.

    Step 1: Research Your Target Executive

    Say for example, you want to contact every CXO on our list of Big Data CXOs and pitch them on your solution. You could send a generic email to everyone on the list, but the chances are good it would be largely ignored. Ideally, you would like to find a nugget of information on each executive that would allow you to personalize your pitch, making it more relevant and increasing the likelihood that it gets read.

    describe the imageOne of the first names on the list is Addision Barry Rand, the CEO of AARP. Using Boardroom Insiders (quickest way) or the search methods we described in the second article of this series, you would find the following:

    According to June 2013 AdAge article, AARP plans to add "data strategy" to the corporate dashboard in 2014. “…AARP has always relied heavily on data to ensure we're creating, offering, and communicating the right information and services. But this conversation around big data has elevated the importance of data to the executive team. AARP wants to seize the opportunity to leverage data in order to increase relevance and personalization, now more than ever, for the broad spectrum of options that the 50-plus have for engaging with AARP. As such, our executive team has, for the first time, identified AARP's data strategy as a core enabler to our long-term health. It's now among a small list of critically important enablers to our social mission and to our business…” 

    Step 2: Craft a Relevant, Personalized Communication

    If you sell big data solutions, you should see a lot of potential in the paragraph above. Suddenly you have a lot of material you can use to craft a personalized communication that is highly relevant to your target customer. Just check out the before and after emails below.


    Dear Mr. Rand,

    Acme's platform for big data gives organizations a solution that is designed specifically with the needs of your enterprise in mind.

    Unlike point products, our big data platform allows you to address the full spectrum of big data business challenges.

    The real benefit of Acme's platform is flexibility – the ability to start with one capability and easily add others over time. Pre-integration of its components reduces your implementation time and cost. 

    I would like to share with you how companies like The Gap, Medtronics and Safeway have benefitted from Acme Solutions products.

    Would you be willing to have a 15 discussion with me about your big data challenges? Please let me know of a convenient time to schedule a presentation on our solutions.

    Best regards,

    John Johnson, Enterprise Sales Manager

    Acme Solutions


    Dear Mr. Rand,

    I read recently that AARP's executive team has identified data strategy as being critical to the future of your organization and that you are looking to leverage data to increase relevance and personalization for your members.

    My company, Acme Solutions specializes in helping large organizations plan and execute big data strategies. Organizations such as The Red Cross, The Consumer Electronics Association and the Susan G. Komen Foundation are using our solutions to pinpoint new revenue opportunities and increase relevance and engagement with key audiences.

    I would like to share some insight from these customer engagements as well as discuss how we might help the AARP make the most of its data. 

    Are you available next week for a 30-minute call?

    Best regards,

    John Johnson, Enterprise Sales Manager

    Acme Solutions

    Notice the difference between these two emails.

    The first email is vendor- and product-centric and has very little relevance to Rand. The customer references are not relevant to his nonprofit world. There is nothing that shows an understanding of his organization or the challenges it is facing. 

    The second email on the other hand, speaks specifically to an item on Mr. Rand's executive agenda. It tells him that this salesperson understands something about his business. It also tells him that Acme is working with large nonprofits and associations like the AARP, and offers to share some insight about their big data strategy.

    If you were Mr. Rand, which email would get your attention?

    While we have used big data as an example for this series, the methodology remains the same, whether you are selling financial services software, supply chain solutions or television advertising; its all about showing relevance and alignment with your target customer's business initiatives.

    Next up: Our top five tips for reaching and engaging Big Data decision makers.

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    Sharon Gillenwater

    About the Author

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.