Executive engagement programme planning is not all about the target customer executives. You’ll also need to think carefully about the people who should be involved internally. And, the spread of people and roles may be wider than you think. Here are five internal stakeholders to consider:
Executives prefer to meet with peers, so include executives from your side at a similar level to the ones you are targeting. Involving the team immediately below your execs will help spread the load internally. Consider providing advice or training for the team around rapport-building, because the ability to ‘click’ with the customer executive can be critical to getting a second meeting.
2. Subject Matter Experts
These are arguably the most important people in your programme because they deliver your unique perspectives and expertise, but use their time carefully, particularly if they are usually working on chargeable projects. Consider leveraging their time through shareable written content, videos, and webinars.
3. Sales and Account Directors
Although this is an executive engagement programme, you’ll need the support of your account and sales team to brief and debrief your own execs. Keep an eye on this relationship to ensure sales priorities don’t disrupt the more subtle executive engagement messaging.
4. Executive Assistants
As the gatekeepers to your executives’ schedule, as well being a fount of knowledge about their likes, dislikes and whereabouts, this group will be critical to the implementation of your executive engagement plan.
5. Customer Delivery Teams
The day-to-day relationships that your customer experience/success/delivery teams have with your customers mean they could hold unique insight into their pain points. Their pragmatic approach and practical solutions could be music to the ears of your customers – so it’s well worth including them in your programme.
With your team identified, communicating effectively with them throughout the process will be critical to the success of your executive engagement programme, both in terms of setting strategy and for implementation. However, in the end only one person can ‘own’ the customer relationship, so make sure everyone is very clear on who it is in every case.
Read more about creating and delivering effective executive engagement strategies in Executive Engagement Strategies; how to have conversations and develop relationships that build B2B business, by Bev Burgess and available from Kogan Page.