How to Connect with C-Level Executives: An SDR's Guide

How to Connect with C-Level Executives: An SDR's Guide
Updated date:
Apr 18, 2022

Connecting and engaging with C-level executives should be mastered by any self-respecting SDR. As an SDR, you should be prepared with well-researched facts about the C-suite executives and company. 

Have a deep understanding of the industry, the sales process, and the competition to conduct relevant and meaningful interactions with the C-suite executives.

You can determine the number of C-level roles in a company by various factors, including the organization's size, industry, and mission. Read on to learn more about the types and roles of C-suite executives.

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Understanding the C-Suite

The "C" stands for "chief," and C-level management tasks are frequently strategic in nature.  Executives in C-level positions are high-ranking professionals at the head of their particular departments within a business. C-suite executives are frequently required to:

1. Take care of strategic planning.

Delegate activities like conducting research, gathering data, and making reports to others. For key decision-making, get the necessary information from lower-level management and staff.

2. Work with other C-suite executives to achieve and advance company goals.

3. SDRs are responsible for outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification, so getting to know and understand the C-Suite is important.

The C-suite is regarded as the most powerful and influential group of people in a company. To get to this level, executives usually need a lot of experience and well-honed leadership qualities. 

While many C-level bosses used to rely on functional knowledge and technical abilities to advance up the corporate ladder, in today's business arena, they now have the visionary insights required to make excellent upper-management judgments.

With the fast-changing business landscape, globalization's opportunities and pressures increasingly demand an international perspective. It is vital then to understand C-level operations, structure, and communication to penetrate and gain an audience.

ALSO READ - Future Technology - What to Expect by 2050

The C-Level Executives

We've observed growth in "soft” C-suite job titles in recent years. Do they have any meaning, or are they just a wishful thinking exercise?

The C-suite ("chief" suite) is used to describe an organization's highest senior executives. These high-ranking employees are in charge of their department's big-picture thinking. For decades, striving for the C-suite meant working toward a set of professions that could be counted on one hand; nevertheless, new titles have emerged in recent years as tech businesses (along with other types of startups) have blossomed.


The Chief Executive Officer is the one at the topmost of an organization's corporate hierarchy. The CEO is in charge of all company operations and decisions and the organization's overall performance. Other members of the C-suite report to the CEO.


The Chief Operating Officer oversees the execution and alignment of the company's business goals and strategy. After the CEO, the COO is usually the second in command. Designing and implementing company strategy, defining organizational policies, and managing the activities of each business unit are all the COO's responsibilities.


The Chief Financial Officer is in charge of the company's finances. Financial planning and analysis (FP&A), liquidity management, and evaluating investment opportunities are the CFO's responsibilities.


The Chief Marketing Officer oversees brand management, marketing strategy, client communications, and industry research with the marketing department. CMOs are responsible for the company's marketing operations' return on investment (ROI).


The Chief Information Officer is in charge of the information technology department's strategic planning, identifying ways to improve business value and customer service through technology.


The CIO previously handled the Chief Technology officer's tasks, but technological improvements have warranted the creation of a particular job inside the technology department. The Chief technology officer is in charge of information systems and technological development.


The Chief Content Officer is the executive in charge of content generation, including marketing copy, web material, and social media interactions. This person is in charge of the brand's voice, tone, and positioning. A CCO usually works in the marketing or public relations department, and they might work closely with the CMO.


This CCO (Chief Compliance Officer) is usually the firm's compliance department leader, who makes sure the corporation follows all applicable rules and regulations.


The Chief Human Resources officer manages the company's workforce, including recruiting, training, development, and retention. The human resources department employs the C-level executive as well.


The Chief Security officer works in the security department of the firm and develops and oversees the programs and policies that protect the financial and operational security of the company.


The Chief Development Officer is in charge of the organization's data collection, analysis, and usage, ensuring that data is treated as a valuable asset. This executive is frequently employed in the field of information technology.


An innovation chief is responsible for coming up with new concepts and identifying chances for innovation and change to help the firm grow. This job is usually found at the very top of the R&D department.

Numerous other C-level positions might exist within a company, and some of them may just include a handful of the duties listed above. In general, the larger the organization, the more people in the C-suite you'll discover.

How to Email The Executives?

According to Harvard Business Review, B2B purchases now involve an average of 6.8 persons. At least one member of this group will almost certainly end up in the C-suite. So why not contact them directly?

Like every other form of communication, your emails must resonate with your reader's priorities and interests. We looked at our campaign outcomes to show you what this means when writing to the top of the corporate ladder.

Let the statistics below guide you on your email campaign.

Make sure to do your homework.

People become more visible as they go up the corporate ladder. C-suite executives are usually industry thought leaders, so you should be able to locate interviews, publications, and keynote addresses from them.

LinkedIn is a smart place to start, but at this level, trade journals and even national media are more likely to convey their thoughts and beliefs more accurately. This is crucial for figuring out how to get their attention. Have they mentioned a specific difficulty facing the industry? Include a mention of how you may assist in your copy.

It's important to realize that most busy executives don't handle their mailbox. This means that making a joke about a sports team you both like or a school you both attended isn't the ideal method to pique your interest right away.

Personalization should be focused on their professional lives rather than their personal lives. Understand their specific conditions by looking beyond the overall industry in which they operate. 

1. Be articulate. 

Every day, the average C-level executive receives 100 emails. While this is lower than the national average for office workers, it is still a vast pool in which you must stand out. Direct subject lines are the most efficient method to do this.

At the very least, overtly "sales-y" language is counterproductive, and it won't fly with the C-suite. According to research conducted by the LinkedIn Talent team, CEOs' most common initial occupations were sales and business development, indicating that they know every trick in the book!

2. Know the metrics that matter.

The most significant distinction between a CMO and a marketing manager is which statistics they value. A marketing manager will examine every campaign and its level of success on a granular level.

A CMO is concerned with the larger picture. They care about the return on investment of marketing operations but not the outcomes of a single split test. It's essential to consider the entire cost of acquiring a new customer rather than a month's worth of advertising's average open rate.

It can be challenging to know which aspect of your business to focus on if you're just getting started reaching out to the C-suite. Consider that the C-suite is the place where departmental relationships are most visible. Marketing has the terrible reputation of being the department that spends the most money while providing little tangible benefit to the company's bottom line. 

The metrics that help debunk this notion will be the most valuable and fascinating to your CMO reader.

3. Be human.

With fancy titles and private offices, the inhabitants of the C-suite often have a mystique about them. But that doesn't rule out the possibility that they are human! Using emotions like curiosity and enthusiasm to capture their attention is still a viable strategy.

When used correctly, humor can aid in the delivery of a message. A fun subject line or sign-off can help your material stand out while also eliciting good feelings.

Make sure, though, that you're also providing useful information or material. Humor should be the hook and not the main reason for the email.

4. Complete the picture.

Writing good emails to a C-suite member is no different from writing good emails to anyone else. It's only a matter of choosing the proper tone and important topics to get people's attention.

How to Effectively Interact with the C-Suite?

It's not easy to acquire quality face time with senior executives, so you want to make the most of it when you do. Those conversations can be daunting, but they are crucial to your marketing goals.

Despite the sweaty palms and anxious jitters, here are five methods for engaging with the C-suite executives:

1. Keep an eye out for something unique.

Every one of us prefers a certain means of communication, but for a time-and-attention-strapped CEO, knowing the appropriate way to connect—and at the right time–is critical. How do top executives communicate with one another? Do they have long discussions, or do they keep it brief and to the point? 

Do they talk about a lot of data in their emails and conversations? This knowledge should guide your interactions with executives in positions of power.

2. Think like an executive.

Understanding what is and isn't relevant to C-Level officers is the most critical thing you can do when engaging with them. When you frame your message with this in mind, it will be more effective.

Consider what this executive requires rather than what you want them to know. Whatever the issue, the key to proving your point is to discuss the impact on the company, whether that impact is potentially negative (a loss of reputation or earnings) or good (a boost in sales) (increased efficiency, revenue, or customer satisfaction).

3. Communicate like an executive.

Knowing how to communicate with someone in a senior leadership position requires a thorough awareness of the company's goals and the measures used to track progress.

Present a compelling picture of the return on investment by demonstrating the productivity or efficiency advantages associated with your proposal, as well as the hazards of doing nothing.

4. Be ready to speak at any time.

Do not confuse impromptu with casual. You should expect a serious business talk if you happen to be in a hallway or a restaurant with someone in a top leadership position. Executives enjoy challenging those around them, so if you can talk explicitly and authoritatively on matters of mutual concern, you'll take advantage of the situation.

It's also crucial to ensure that your message or idea is delivered correctly and not out of context. Please note that at every meeting, you do not have to share all the specifics.

For example, if you'll be seeing a C-level executive at the company's holiday party, it's probably not the best moment to discuss a new product you want to promote. It's good, however, to give a broad overview of your thoughts.

5. Focus on the facts.

Keep in mind that an executive values facts and evidence over your personal views and ideas. Utilize as much in-depth data as possible to back it up. Make sure you have the evidence to back up your assertions and support your proposals. An executive's judgment is only as good as the data you provided. 

The Final Note

When you communicate in business, you are promoting a particular image. Your writing style and how you behave and act with a customer are reflections of your company.

The tips and guides we have provided above can provide you with a good head start. You can surely gain an audience and impress the executives in C-level positions when you follow our tips.

Always remember, when communicating, you must have excellent knowledge of your prospects' background to get into the proper mood, appropriate tone, and the right actions that can produce for you a highly qualified lead.AI-bees is among The Manifest’s Awardee for 2021 for digital marketing. We can help you with your email outreach to executives in C-level positions. Please don't hesitate to contact us.

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