Holding Sales Accountable for CXO Engagement

    September 14, 2014

    In last week's post, we talked about how sales accountability is a critical piece of any CXO engagement initiative. 

    We heard back from a few of you asking for examples of how our customers measure CXO engagement--and how to hold sales accountable for doing it.

    There are no silver bullets here, but we are seeing some best practices that we are happy to share.

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    STEP 1: Define Some Measurable Goals

    To hold sales accountable, you need to set some very specific goals around CXO engagement.

    An example of a measurable goal might be the following:

    "Incorporate CXO Insight and Alignment framework into account plans and quarterly business reviews (QBRs)"

    STEP 2: Commit to Measuring Success Against These Goals

    Next, you need to put a process in place to monitor and measure the company's success (or failures) against these goals. For the goal above, this might entail sales leaders checking with account teams to ensure compliance. Upon reviewing the account plan and QBRs they would check to see if the account plan contains:

    • specific information on the customer's current business initiatives

    • information on target executives

    • executive alignment with key company initiatives

    • executive engagement plan including touchpoints such as corporate events

    Note: Here is an example of a very simple framework you can use for the account plans or QBRs.

    STEP 3: Communicate to Sales What is Expected, How They Will be Measured and What is At Stake

    Simply telling sales that executive engagement is a priority is unlikely to drive change. It's a flimsy directive that has no accountability attached to it and can't be measured.

    However, creating frameworks that are a mandatory part of account plans and QBRs sends a message to sales that this is important--and holds them accountable for doing the work. Perhaps more importantly, providing sales with these frameworks--and tools like Boardroom Insiders that helps them fill them out--educates and enables sales teams so they can be more successful.

    In terms of what is at stake, whether you use a carrot or a stick to drive the right behavior is up to you. We have seen the best results when salespeople are recognized and bonused on their success in helping drive CXO engagement. 

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    Here are a few other best practices we have seen:

    CXO attendance at company CXO events. Are target CXO customers being invited by sales--and showing up--to key company CXO events? Audience acquisition for high-end, expensive CXO events should be a strategic collaboration between sales and marketing, focused on top or "must-win" accounts. Attendee quotas should be set for corporate CXO events to ensure that your top customer CXOs are being invited and encouraged to attend--by enticing them with something you know they care about.

    Here is an example of a measurable goal that could be set around CXO events:

    "We want 25% of the CIO attendees at this event to come from our top 250 accounts." 

    Customer meetings at third-party CXO events: Companies often participate in events that attract a large percentage of CXOs. If your company is serious about CXO engagement, it should be targeting specific CXOs to attend/meet with you by offering to talk about something you know they care about (that's where our research comes in). 

    Here is an example of a measurable goal that could be set around CXO events:

    "We want to hold 30 meetings at this event--and half of them should be from our top 250 accounts." 

    CXO uptake of a specific offer or program. Some of our customers will set goals like the following:

    "This year we want 20 CIOs from our top 200 accounts to attend an EBC."


    "This year we want to secure 20 new enterprise CIO reference customers."


    "We want to feature 10 transformational customer CXOs on stage at our next CIO Summit."

    These are goals that can be quantified and measured. By setting such goals, actively driving them and rewarding the right behavior, you can evolve the culture of the sales organization so that all of the above becomes standard practice for all high performers.

    Do you have stories or best practices to share around sales accountability or how to measure CXO engagement success? If so, we want to talk to you.

    Later this year we will be publish an ebook, Sales Accountability For CXO Engagement, and we would love to feature your success story. Email sharon@boardroominsiders.com for more information.


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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.