You’re Undervaluing CXOs

In any industry, selling any product, any salesperson can benefit from a meeting with a C-level executive. These CXOs (CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, etc.) have the power to make or break your next opportunity. So why do so many salespeople undervalue them as prospects?

Instead of focusing on CXOs, many companies build their sales strategies around targeting managers, directors, and others without the power to make a final decision on enterprise purchases. Even procurement managers often don’t have a final say, but everyone listens to their CXO.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t ever talk to directors, but the best practice in email marketing and sales is to prioritize reaching out to C-level executives first and then going after others as a backup plan. Almost any sales strategy will benefit from this simple piece of advice: talk to executives.

Inbound Isn’t Outbound


I hear it all the time: our inbound leads are all managers and directors, why wouldn’t we reach out to them on outbound?

If you’re asking the same thing, don’t get me wrong–it’s fantastic you’re getting so many inbound leads. But the profile for an ideal outbound prospect isn’t the same as your most common inbound lead.

For example, sometimes administrative assistants take an initial look at products their bosses are interested in. They pass the information on to the CXO they’re working for, and wait for that person to make the buying decision. In this scenario, your inbound lead is the administrative assistant, but who do you want to get a meeting with?

Let your competitors make their appeals to the assistant. You can skip that step if you effectively email a CEO and set a meeting with them directly.

Use Prospect Tiering

Use Prospect Tiering

Prospect tiering is the simple practice of prioritizing your email or prospect list. If you’re selling software infrastructure, a CTO is a more valuable lead than an IT Operations Manager. The CTO can order the manager to start using a product, but the manager can’t order their CTO to buy what you’re selling.

Proper prospect tiering will also acknowledge that at different stages of your sales cycle, some people will have different roles. An introduction to the CXO is a great way to get started, but they’ll usually set up a demo between you and someone at a lower level. That’s perfectly fine–you’ve gotten in the door, now all you need to do is make your pitch.

CXOs Care

CXOs Care

The biggest misconception I’ve run into when talking about this is that C-level executives don’t care about this kind of thing, or don’t have time to check their emails. Sure, they’re busy people, but they care enough that they make time for emails that matter. All you need to do is make yours matter.

CXOs often have significant ownership shares in their company. They’re the most passionate and interested prospects I talk to. They want what you’re selling, they’ll make time for you if you pitch it right, and they have the power to sign your contract. You should do whatever it takes to figure out how to make email marketing work for you at the CXO level.

Are you ready to start selling to executives? Let me know what strategy works best for you.

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