How do executives spend their time when they’re not in meetings or on calls? ***spoiler alert*** They’re on email

Having worked with hundreds of C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies down to custom consulting firms, we’ve discovered that, hands down, the best way to engage executives and get B2B sales leads is through email.

If you’re reading this you’re probably a C-suite exec yourself, so think about your own habits. Where would you be most likely to engage with an organization you’ve never heard of? Networking events? Perhaps. How about over the phone? If you’re anything like me, taking cold calls from marketers is nowhere near the top of your priority list. 

You probably spend most of your day reading and responding to emails and that’s not just when you’re looking for organizations to partner with, it’s all the time. Other execs are no different. 

Perhaps it’s against my better judgement to share this article from Harvard Business Review with you, given my company’s focus on email. I’m going to anyway, because I think it makes some interesting points for reflection. It illustrates how addicted we are to emails as execs and argues that’s not always a great thing. 

The authors looked at the schedule of a CEO named Thomas Gentile over the course of 13 weeks. They found he spent 137 hours (or 55% of his unscheduled time) tending to email. Whether or not you agree with them, the authors also say email interrupts work, extends the workday, intrudes on time for family and thinking too.

We feel pressure to respond to emails because ignoring one seems rude. That can lead to a cascading effect throughout the organization. You and employees get dragged into a downward spiral of unnecessary communication, eating up valuable hours that could be used elsewhere. 

Now, I’d certainly argue that a well placed email from another executive with a genuine value proposition doesn’t fall into the category of unnecessary communication. That is what we do at Linked Strategies, afterall, but there’s certainly a few time management tips I’ve taken away from the article. 

The point that email is the most effective way to communicate with execs still stands though. You’ll notice there’s no mention in the article of the CEO spending time reading content marketing or social media, for instance. 

The reality is, 84% of professionals say that email is their preferred method of communicating for business (Hubspot survey). We can’t get through the day without it, even if we could be using it a bit less.

If there’s an engaging email header that pops into your inbox, you’ll probably open it and read the first couple of lines, especially if it’s come from another executive. Maybe, if you find something that applies to you, you’ll even read all the way to the end. 

That’s what makes our exec to exec email approach so effective. It may not be the case for consumers, but for execs in large organisations, it’s better than content, better than ads, better than PPC and we can prove it.