Buyer behaviour has undergone a major change. As a marketer yourself, you’re likely acutely aware of this shift. Customers, competitors – all now online. But what about your own company? While some of your company’s higher-ups will embrace the vast opportunities that digital provides, tradition still reigns in certain industries.
This means that when it comes to talking your C-Suite (meaning your company’s chief execs) into raising the marketing budget, getting sign-off can be tricky. And, of course, before your marketing efforts stand a chance of reaching potential customers, you’ve first got to win over the big bosses.
So, be it new software and services like CRM and SEO, a pivot from organic to paid social, a revamp of the website – you name it – we’ll be discussing the top ways of getting your marketing off the ground.
Here are 3 steps to selling marketing to your C-Suite.
1. Specify the Challenge
Your first step should be to identify a specific problem that your company is facing – this could either be an active issue that you need to resolve or an opportunity your company is missing out on.
By attaching your proposal to a problem, you can better draw attention to its necessity. What’s more, if the issue is a somewhat urgent one – or something that you can prove is costing your company a lot of money – you stand a better chance of getting sign-off faster.
Example: You work for a hair salon that is short-staffed and closed two weekdays a week to allow for weekend business. Both of these factors mean that there’s not always someone around to answer the calls and take bookings.
You know that if you invest in a web developer to create an online booking form, you could reduce the burden of answering calls. This also gives customers more ways to get in touch. Added to your pitch, ensuring your Google My Business Profile is up to date with your opening hours could also reduce the loss of business. Both lead to a better run and busier salon, which could result in the hiring of more staff.
By showing that your business’s best interests are front and centre during your pitch, you can demonstrate why there’s a need for budget sign-off. This is matchmaking a solution with a problem in action. And, ultimately, as the C-Suite will know too well: all problems need solutions, and not all solutions are free.
2. Choose the Right C-Suite Executive
When you’re trying to get support for your marketing proposal from the big bosses, it’s important to read the room and pick the right person to talk to. But, how do you decide who’s the best fit?
Understanding the C-Suite
The C-Suite is made up of your company’s higher-ups, with the ‘C’ simply standing for ‘Chief’ – think the chief executive officer or chief financial officer, for example. Each executive cares about a different area of the business.
To get their support during your pitch, you need to choose the person whose interests best match what your proposal sets out to achieve.
Connecting Roles with Ideas
Look at your marketing plan. Is it mostly about increasing revenue? If so, the person in charge of money (CFO) might be the one to talk to. Is it about investing in better SEO tools to maximise your in-house marketing potential? The CIO. Boosting brand awareness and company profile? Perhaps the chief marketing officer will be the best to lobby.
Beyond roles and responsibilities, personal champions play a significant role in the C-Suite’s decision-making process. Look for executives who have historically shown interest in marketing-related efforts or who have a knack for embracing new ideas. Leveraging their support can create a ripple effect, rallying other high-ranking execs to get behind your cause.
By choosing the executive whose sphere of influence mirrors your proposal’s impact, you’re taking a step towards not just selling marketing but nurturing a collaboration that could lead to similar initiatives being more quickly greenlit in the future.
3. Speak the Language of Business
Now that you’ve identified the best audience for your pitch, prioritise speaking the language that most resonates with them: in most cases, this will be your financials. Finance is ultimately the crux of what marketing sets out to impact anyway – even if through more indirect means like a partnership that leads to boosted brand awareness or broadening the SEO budget and creating content that converts – so forecasting how you anticipate your new proposal impacting the bottom line will speak volumes.
As you size up the potential value of your proposal, use a blend of predictive analytical data to show what it could mean for the company itself AND wider industry data to back up how you’ve reached your conclusion.
Example: If you work for a restaurant or chain that has yet to open a takeaway menu, you will want to highlight the missed revenue from not tapping into soaring demand. In 2021, the average annual spend per person on takeaway food in the UK alone was £641, and this correlates with the growth of online orders. That’s huge money to be made if your restaurant went digital.
By aligning your proposal with tangible financial outcomes, it’ll become easier for your bosses to see its value. Frame your ideas as strategic investments rather than expenses, emphasising how your initiatives could directly contribute to the company’s financial goals and overarching business strategy.
With More Customers Online Than Ever, It’s Time to Go Digital
Ultimately, selling marketing to your C-Suite is necessary to gain the backing and resources you need. While, as marketers, it’s easy to get excited about the potential of a new strategy, effectively conveying its value to the board requires a strategic and calculated approach.
With the rise of ecommerce, it’s only natural that the number of internet customers has risen with it. As it stands in 2023, digital buyers have soared to a sizeable 2.64 billion – that’s 33.3% of the worldwide population or, in other words, 1 in 3 people. That’s a tremendous market out there.
If you’ve yet to modernise your business and take the leap online, now is the time to go digital. Speak to the Embryo team today.