Many tech companies see relationships with CIOs as the Holy Grail of their sales and marketing efforts. But should you really spend the money and effort it takes for effective CIO egagement?
Pro’s of targeting CIO’s:
- CIO’s have the power to approve or veto technology purchases, so relationships with them can be critical to getting their all-important nod towards your product.
- CIO’s plan and allocate IT budgets, so convincing them to reserve spend for your category can eliminate roadblocks late in the sales cycle
- CIO’s make technology strategy decisions, so vendors who are leading the charge in some new technology direction need to convince this key audience that the new approach will benefit their business
- CIO’s have a C in their title, which makes them great sources of endorsement quotes
Cons of targeting CIO’s:
- CIOs don’t actually get involved in every technology purchase. The best CIO’s empower their teams to make as many decisions as possible.
- CIOs don’t personally evaluate products. Their focus is on technology strategy and what direction to take that to support business objectives.
- CIO’s pay attention only to things that are relevant to their specific business and technology needs. Creating personalized and relevant content gets expensive.
- CIO relationships are about the long term, not an individual sale. Nurturing those relationships will be time consuming.
- CIO’s don’t have TIME. That makes reaching them difficult, expensive, and time consuming.
Still want to get CIO’s to pay attention to you? Here are a few hints:
- Don’t sell to them
- Don’t market to them
- Give CIO’s insights, or at least information, that help them stay abreast of how to leverage technology to meet business goals
- Make it relevant to their industry, company, and technology stack (That means do your research).
- Keep it SHORT – Anything targeted at CIOs (or any other exec for that matter) should be scannable in 30 seconds or less.
- Keep it SHORT #2 – Always include an executive summary – the 10-page white paper will at best be forwarded to a staff member.
- Don’t do all the talking yourself. Find and curate content from other CIOs and 3rd party subject matter experts
Bottom line: The less time your audience has, the more time you have to invest in keeping them engaged.