Why Executive Messaging Fails
Your messaging has 8 seconds to capture an executive’s attention. Miss the mark and you’ve not only wasted their time but also created a negative impression.
Unfortunately, many Sales and Marketing professionals today don’t communicate well at this critical level. Instead of giving executives the information they want, they share what they want executives to know about them.
Executives don’t care about you, your products, or your services. Quit talking about yourself and make it about them—their wants and their needs. Start connecting your messages to the business issues that matter most to executives. Come with insight instead of data. According to research from SiriusDecisions, executive buyers value business and industry insight four times more than traditional product knowledge. Anything you talk about needs to be expressed in terms of how you can affect their business in clear, measureable terms or in relation to how you can drive revenue, improve margins, gain market share, reduce churn, etc. If you miss this essential component, all of the creative coolness in the world won’t save you. Everything else is just fluff.
How to Fix It
So let’s break down some of the essentials on how to do this correctly. First, you need to determine who your messaging should speak to. That sounds easy, but it isn’t. In the world of complex solutions, there are several people your messaging needs to speak to. Multiple decision makers and influencers are involved. An average complex solution could involve six different titles.
Make this your mantra:
- Right Target: What titles are commonly involved in making decisions and who are the key influencers? Each of these titles will have different concerns and your message will need to be tailored to accommodate these.
- Right Message: Exactly what are you going to say to them? They don’t have time and won’t bother to figure out your intent unless it’s short, sweet, and plays to their interests. It needs to communicate what you can do for them, and it needs to be expressed in business language. Industry jargon and tech talk are the kiss of death. Test your message internally with titles similar to your targets. You have one shot—don’t miss.
- Right Media: What form will your message take? While using multiple channels is best, leverage the appropriate media for that buyer profile. Make sure you are being consistent. How many times have you seen messaging sent to the field but undermined by the website? Your advertising, PR, website, social media, and sales support materials MUST have the same messaging for the appropriate targets.
Finally, the goal of your message needs to be considered. Are you trying to sell something directly to the target? Are you working to open doors? Are you pre-conditioning? It’s all about mental shelf-space. You need to capture attention and be clear on the intent.
Once you’ve determined the objectives of the messaging, the mantra of “Right Target, Right Message, and Right Media” is a great gut-check to keep you on the right trajectory and ensure your messaging hits the mark every time.