Boost your engagement with the B2B executives that matter most

Engaging with the C-Suite is no longer an option for many B2B suppliers, especially as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and pivot to the next normal.

Why? Reasons include shifting from selling transactional products to integrated solutions, the need to open up new buying centres in a customer organisation, the need to develop loyalty and advocates in a more competitive market, and the fact that large purchases – particularly in the digital transformation area – are increasingly board level decisions. And, of course, the need to make sure you and your customers survive Coronavirus and the impact it has on the economy in the medium term.

Moving on from ‘random acts of engagement’

For the companies that provide complex, high-value products and services, moving from ‘random acts of engagement’ to a comprehensive executive engagement strategy is fundamental to building long-term relationships with the senior professionals in your existing customer base and target accounts. That’s what makes this latest book by Bev Burgess so timely. Executive Engagement Strategies, published in March by Kogan Page, explores the strategies that build long-term business success for both parties. Starting with advice on how to build a solid understanding of senior buyers and the issues they face, it goes on to look at who is best placed to engage with them on their issues and the way to start and maintain conversations about those issues.

It examines how buyers want to engage at each step of their B2B buying process, through personalised content and using a combination of communication channels. It dives into more detail on the best ways to engage, whether with a peer group through network events, online communities and research initiatives; with small groups through seminars, study tours, and innovation workshops; or with individuals through briefings and meetings.

And while many of these activities are now being run virtually, the principles remain the same.

Case studies from leading organisations around the world, including Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, Microsoft and The World Economic Forum bring the concepts to life. They show how carefully designed executive engagement strategies can make a real competitive difference. 

People still buy from people

As the book stresses, while most of the world is increasingly moving online for both research and purchasing decisions, this isn’t the case for the larger services and solutions that big businesses and public sector organisations rely on. When it comes to the accounting, payroll, banking and insurance services, or the property, facilities, energy, communications and technology they run on day-to-day, these are high value, complex solutions. As such, things haven’t changed so much here. People buy from people.

But the senior executives making these decisions are incredibly busy – perhaps more so now than ever before as they manage their businesses through these unprecedented times.

Getting their attention takes more than an email marketing campaign or cold sales call. Sparking and keeping their interest once you’ve got their attention means knowing what to say, when and how to say it. This is usually a combination of engagements leveraging marketing, sales, subject matter experts and your own executives.

Start conversations. Build relationships.

It’s about cutting through the noise of the market to attract the attention and engage the interest of those executives you want to serve, to secure their permission to meet and talk about their priorities and challenges, and to shape their understanding of your organisation and the value it can offer. 

Executive engagement, at its simplest, means starting conversations and building relationships with your most senior clients and prospects. At its heart lies a belief that sustainable business success comes from really understanding your customers and collaborating with them to deliver value for you both. Ultimately, it’s about building your future business with the clients you want to work with, through the pandemic and beyond. This book will be an invaluable guide on that journey. 

Executive Engagement Strategies is published by Kogan Page and available from koganpage.com or on Amazon.

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