Selling to the C-suite is a one-to-one proposition. Executives who run enterprise companies have very big goals and very little time. Using a persona to shape your conversation is not enough; you have to do your homework on each executive to demonstrate credibility and worthiness.
That said, there are certain things that your prospects may have in common — with each other and even with your own executive leaders. That could include personal interests like golf and tennis; or the “leadership factories” where they cut their teeth early in their careers, like GE, Procter & Gamble, or IBM; or the nonprofit organizations they care about and serve. You can improve engagement by uncovering those common threads and using them to create more compelling communications, C-level events and content.
The challenge is that it takes a ton of research to identify these common threads. We knew we had all of this information in our database, so we built a tool that extracts it and presents it in a simple deliverable that you can share with your team. The result is the Common Threads dashboard on our new BI PRO platform.
The Common Threads dashboard allows you pinpoint what your target executives have in common, across four key areas:
- Companies — the most common companies across the work histories of your target executives
- Boards — including for-profit, nonprofit, educational and industry-centric boards
- Education — the undergraduate and graduate institutions most popular among your target executives
- Interests — from sports and hobbies to reading and mentorship
What does that look like?
Say you’re interested in targeting the CIOs of Fortune 500. You load your list of executives into BI PRO, or build your list from the profiles available in our database. Then, you click on the Common Threads dashboard, which will take you to a screen that looks like this:
The buttons on the left allow you toggle between the different categories on the Common Threads dashboard. (You will also notice a button that allows you to include your own executives in the analysis.) First up is “Companies,” which highlights the most common companies with which your target executives have been affiliated over the course of their careers.
Next is “Boards.”
Some of these boards are tied to educational institutions or for-profit companies. Others are focused on the profession or industry in which executives work, which could offer you insight into what’s grabbing their attention and what could add value to your next conversation.
The next tab is “Education,” as shown below.
Northwestern University is a popular institution among this group. You could leverage this information to host an intimate executive event that coincides with the first football game of the season. If you choose to include your own executives, you may find a few internal alums, which could seed some valuable connections moving forward.
Lastly, you’ll see the “Interests” common among your target executives.
This one is our favorite because it highlights opportunities for connection and relationship-building that go deeper than the average sales conversation. We’ve seen our customers leverage this information to create custom events, capitalizing on common hobbies such as skiing or cricket to provide opportunities for more authentic and enthusiastic engagement. It’s the kind of insight you might be able to surface after dozens of hours of research and cross-referencing — only we deliver it to you in seconds.
The more insight you can gather on your target accounts, the more value you can add. And that’s key when you’re marketing and selling to the C-suite. You’ve got to get creative. You’ve got to do your homework. And you’ve got to do it fast — before the competition beats you to the punch.
That’s the beauty of BI PRO: It’s your competitive advantage for executive engagement, helping you close bigger deals, faster.