As a CMO, I am hunted. With over 1,800 marketing technologies vying for my business, I get a barrage of phone calls and emails from eager business development reps trying to get me to consider their offering. So how do I manage?

I delete all emails from anyone I don’t know before reading them and I never answer my phone nor check my VMs.

That’s right, things have gotten so bad that I don’t even listen to VMs anymore. If I want to hear from you, I’ve given you my cell phone number. My desk phone is just a prop to make you feel like you’ve made your best effort to get a hold of me so that after 12 touches you’ll declare me “cold” and move on.

That said, I genuinely am interested in what new technology is out there that can help my business. So how can you get me engaged?

Ways to engage the C-suite

From least likely to most likely to get my attention, here are the 3 options available to you to drive engagement with the CxO.

  1. Social Engagement: For those CxO’s who are active in social media, this is still a viable way to get an executive’s attention, but it must be done thoughtfully. You’ll note that I didn’t call this “social selling”. Here’s an example. In Twitter, search your target’s feed and find a tweet that is relevant to the product or service that you offer. Then engage with them on it in a non-threatening way. Favorite the Tweet or better yet, ask them a question about it. Then give them something that can help them (for free). With social, you need to take the time to start a mutually beneficial relationship before you can approach.
  2. Inbound Marketing: Influence me with thought leadership in the places that I go to look. When I am searching for technology to solve a specific problem I have, I’m not just doing a Google Search. I go to social media, SlideShare, BrightTalk and YouTube to find content that will help me understand what solutions are out there that can help solve my problems. Most marketers get this and are working hard to drive a consistent content marketing engine.
  3. Referrals: The most effective of the options, a referral from a former colleague will get through to me and I will pay attention. My network understands how I think and what will interest me so I know when they approach me that it is something good. Just like how “the good stuff” bubbles up in social media, it is the same with referrals. If it is a good product, my network will be talking about it.

Marketers and sellers reading this may be sighing with frustration because these things seem hard.  But they aren’t! For social engagement, it is just relying a bit more on creating a great social conversation versus trying to check a box for activity. That means that teleprospecting metrics may need to change.  For inbound marketing, do the work to understand the personas you are going after and you can focus your efforts on what content to create and where to publish it accordingly.  And for referrals, there is powerful referral automation software out there to make it easy to leverage your advocates to drive new business.

The C-suite is reachable! I await your engagement!