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    Using research in your C-level outreach is not just a good idea- it's critical

    August 30, 2021

    Sales professionals are accustomed to prepping for a meeting or presentation, but executive research adds value to the rest of your client outreach, too. This high-touch strategy is a crucial part of selling to the C-suite and a key differentiator in a crowded field. 

    Below is a quick overview of how research comes handy in C-level outreach all the time.


    Be specific about your value proposition

    If you’re reaching out to C-level executives and you don’t know anything about them, you’re leaning on hope. That’s it. While it’s important for sales professionals to stay optimistic, hope is not a strategy. 

    Executives are analytical by default. They’re always thinking about their current obstacles and trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. To get through to them, you need to be the answer they’re looking for. No one’s a mind reader, but research allows you to make an educated guess.

    Stay plugged in

    Sometimes it takes a while for a prospect to become a customer. Part of business development is keeping a line open when executives don’t choose you right away. But the outreach needs to be more than “Hey, remember me?”

    Through executive and company research, you can have plenty of substance to talk about. Concentrate on a client’s recent developments for they are likely to remain top of mind in the future. For instance, if a prospect hints in an earnings call that it is expanding its footprint in another region, it could be an opportune time to remind C-suite executives of your offerings in that area. 

    Over time, this strategy provides you with multiple opportunities to get your foot in the door, and showing a sustained level of interest leaves a positive impression with clients. It shows you’re paying attention and you’re looking for ways to add value, even when you haven’t yet earned the business.

    Leverage personal connections

    It’s all about who you know. Executive research helps you cultivate depth within your network by allowing you to connect the dots and tap into the varying degrees of separation between you and C-level executives. 

    Executives are humans like the rest of us, and we all find comfort in the familiarity of friends and acquaintances. Even a simple introduction carries more weight when you can name-drop a mutual friend or past colleague. And as C-level sales pros know better than most, getting your foot in the door is often the hardest part. 


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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.