Wow the C-Suite: Video Series

Preparing for an executive meeting? This video series covers everything you need to know—from research to conversation to deliverables. Take your C-suite meeting game to the next level for higher-value deals.

Why Start at the Top?

2 Minutes

If booking exec meetings is difficult, why start at that level? Here, we look at why opening the C-suite door first can pay off in bigger, better, and faster deals.

While executives are decision-makers, they're not easy to get in a room. So, is it really worth the extra effort to get a C-suite meeting? Absolutely. Going the exact route, while difficult at first, actually pays off more efficiently and effectively than other low-level meeting approaches. Here's why:

The primary factors driving investment decisions, particularly for large unstructured investments (which is what you're going for), are priority alignment and value creation, and executives are the stakeholders that are ultimately responsible for both of those things. So, engaging executives around priorities and value at the beginning of a sales cycle will:

  1. Frame the opportunity from the start around the factors and people most likely to drive the final purchase decision.
  2. Potentially save both you and the customer an immense amount of time executing a decision process in situations where the business justification ultimately isn't there.

Think about it: How many times have you seen deals you've worked on for weeks or months fall apart in the final stages, despite having strong support from the mid and low levels of the organization, because the economic buyer—namely the executive—says no or not now? That's why executives are usually the fastest, if not the only, way to get the buy-in you need.

Of course, if you get in good with the C-suite, you not only get the opportunity to pitch one deal, you're now on the fast track for a long-term strategic relationship that promises higher customer lifetime value.

Bottom line: When you start off in C-suite meetings, you ultimately need far fewer opportunities to close way higher deals and achieve greater customer lifetime value. It's quality over quantity.

Understanding Executive Expectations

4 Minutes

To truly impress executives, you need to know what they're looking for. Learn how up-leveling your business acumen is key to meeting C-suite expectations.

To really impress executives in c-suite meetings, it's important to understand their expectations and deliver beyond them. Executives expect you to know their business, and they're impressed when you can consistently show that you do. This means knowing specific granular business-focused details about the company, including how they make money, who their primary competitors are, what markets they serve, their strategic priorities, areas where they have pain and urgency, and who the key buyers are for your specific solutions and use cases.

This knowledge should be readily apparent in every piece of content you have, including emails, sales decks, and briefs, as well as in every interaction you have, whether it's phone calls, meetings, or dinners. Good research leads to great meetings, and you can find in-depth detail in analyst call transcripts and investor documents like the 10K and annual report. While this level of expertise can take time to gather and review, it's all publicly available data.

In addition to knowing the business details, executives also expect you to be conversant in financial processes, terms, and metrics. Bonus points go to those who can fluently apply their acumen to the specific business needs of the executive. Simply knowing the answers to preset questions isn't enough; great meetings are built on the critical and foundational financial knowledge you bring to the table.

Executives don't have time to waste, and they'll only consider a deal if you indicate that you have a firm understanding of their company's business and financials. It's important to be able to speak intelligently about your use cases and the calculations that led you to your results. Remember, wowing the c-suite doesn't take an MBA; it simply involves understanding what executives expect from you and delivering on those expectations with detailed attention.

Preparing Deliverables that Wow

3 Minutes

Booked an executive meeting? Be ready to floor the C-suite with these must-have deliverables.

If there's one thing we want to make absolutely clear in this video, it's that executives only care about content if it's based on current data, demonstrates a clear understanding of the company's pain and urgency, and depicts measurable value potential. So, let's talk about what that kind of content is and is not.

Execs are not wowed by product content. They don't care about your product's features and functions; they mean nothing to them. Execs care about how you can solve real business problems. So, what does that look like?

Here are two high-impact content deliverables you should create during account planning to use in outreach as you work to book a meeting:

  1. An executive point of view. This is a simple document or slide deck that's short and to the point. Its objective is to clearly state a financial case for change. How exactly will your use cases address a company's specific challenges and pain points to drive quantifiable business outcomes that align with their priorities? Graphs or charts go a long way toward visually demonstrating dramatic changes. Databook customers can download an exec POV with a single click, but anyone can prep this if they have the right data.
  2. An investment strategy is essentially a roadmap for the investments you want the company to make over time. Preparing this document will help you understand how your use cases map to the customer's strategic priorities, what investments they will require over time, and the outcomes that customers can expect.

Once you've booked a meeting, you can then use that content from your account plan to prepare these three key deliverables, all of which you should bring with you to present or have ready as a proof point:

  1. A case study: This demonstrates what the company can achieve. It should center on a customer that's a peer company to your account, and it should reference a quantified business outcome and similar use cases driven by your solutions.
  2. A financial model for how that business outcome was realized: This is why the executive should care. Craft a summary document that shows, with detailed metrics and calculations, the path that enabled your customer to achieve those results. Be ready to change some of the underlying assumptions and data on the fly in your meeting so you can show execs that you're able to take them down a similar road.
  3. A recommended process and work breakdown structure for due diligence: Finally, this is how you plan to make it happen. This pulls from the work done in your investment strategy roadmap and translates it into a decision execution plan so execs can clearly see how you will work together to arrive at a go-no-go decision.

Remember, executive meetings need to be business conversations first. Are the outcomes you can drive compelling enough to justify a deeper conversation? And are you prepared to guide execs concretely toward a decision? Show it with your content, and you'll get the "wow" reaction you're hoping to see.

Talk the (Financial) Talk

How well do you understand the basics of your customers' financial performance? These 29 financial terms cover the go-to vocabulary every seller's strategy and outreach should reference.