15 Aug Preparation: The Key to Running a Great Executive Meeting
Fail to prepare for an executive meeting, and the conversation will end within five minutes if you’re lucky. Time is of the essence when speaking with C-suite executives. If you want to make the most of it, you’ll need a well-structured agenda and a well-prepared pitch.
What to know about C-suite executives
C-Suite executives are notoriously busy. Here’s what they want:
- Efficiency. Since they’re so busy with other meetings and priorities, your meeting with them needs to be quick and to the point.
- Creativity. C-suite executives see so many people pitching all sorts of companies. You need to be creative if you want to be remembered.
- Research. Your C-suite lead will likely already have done preliminary research about you, so you better make sure you do the same. Don’t waste their time with something they already know.
- Value. C-suite executives are looking for something that can address a company’s pain point. Show them how your service/product is the right solution for them.
- Results. C-suite executives look at analytics and data. Make sure you have results that can show them how your service/product performs.
How to prepare for an executive meeting
The success of your meeting is based on the amount you’ve prepared. The more time you spend on preparation, the better. It should be at least three times the length of your meeting.
The executive meeting is booked. Here’s what you need to do next.
Setting up a B2B lead generation agenda
Setting up an agenda has more to do with the topics you want to discuss within a certain amount of time. Here’s what you should include in an agenda to meet with C-suite executives:
Your meeting should start with dedicated rapport-building time. C-suite executives are more likely to remember you and your offer if you’ve built a connection with them. Be human and gauge how they’re coming into the meeting. Find out what drives them and take advantage of that while discussing your service/product.
Goal or Outcome
Follow with what your goal or outcome` is for the meeting. This doesn’t have to be anything specific but it has to be something you can complete during that meeting so that it’s productive, and so that you and the executive team can stay on task.
Next, have an outline of the main points you want to cover. This is also a good tactic to stay on track, but, more importantly, it’s something you can provide to the C-suite executive in advance so they have a say in what should be prioritized and what they’d like to spend more time on.
Timeline (during and after)
Not only should your agenda outline how much time you want to spend on each topic during the meeting (because your C-suite executive likely has another one to get to after) but it should also outline your proposed timeline following the meeting. Include when it is best for you to meet next, what you would like to cover or have answered, when your promotion ends, etc.
Pauses and question periods
Make time in your agenda for pauses if the executive team is taking notes or if they need time to understand something. Also, build in time to answer questions. But, overall, account for question time in general. Don’t take up all of your time with your pitch and then leave your C-suite executive with no time to interact.
Give your lead something to do afterward. This can be reading an article, providing feedback, or filling out a short survey. A call-to-action (CTA) will keep them engaged, and will encourage them to interact with you. If you don’t provide them with something actionable, was there a purpose to your meeting?
At the end of the meeting, it should be clear what the next steps are based on your CTA. However, an executive meeting isn’t over once the boardroom door has closed. Make it a priority to follow-up with your lead so you remain top-of-mind.
Do your research
C-suite executives value research since they’ve already done theirs about you and your company. In return, make sure you have a solid grasp on the following:
- The company and the C-suite executive
- Their values, pain points, goals, and recent milestones
- Your unique proposition and competitive advantage
- Market trends
- What’s necessary to a company and how they might be shifting to adapt
Outline your focus
Now that your agenda is sound and your research is complete, next make sure your pitch is focused.
- providing value;
- key stakeholders;
- benefiting employees;
- conversation, not presentation;
- insights, research, data, and results.
Now, you are well on your way to a successful executive meeting. Reach out for more guidance and resources when it comes to B2B lead generation.