How To Win Executives And Influence Strategy

Recently, I was researching how market insights professionals can enhance their internal position and have a greater influence on their companies’ strategies (for an upcoming Forrester Leadership Board exclusive research report). As part of the research, I spoke with leaders at the market insights and CMO levels to get their views on how market insights professionals can succeed, build internal awareness and reputations and be able to more effectively influence the company’s direction and strategies.

As I spoke to these leaders, I kept hearing things I had read years ago from a beat-up 10-cent book I found at the local flea market. That book was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It was published back in 1937, which was right about the time George Gallup (of Gallup Poll fame) founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, part of the growing tide of companies doing this new thing called market research.

For those who are not acquainted with Dale Carnegie’s book, it provides advice on how to make people like you, win them to your way of thinking and change them (without giving offense or arousing resentment). It even provides rules for making your home life happier! Salespeople swear by this book and I have to say that it’s been a great guide for me (and provided an amazing ROI on my 10-cent investment).

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Targeting - Guiding Principle Number One For Tech Marketers From 100,000 Customer Interviews

One of the reasons I enjoy working at Forrester is the unique opportunity to turn data into actionable insights that tech marketers can use to drive more revenue for their companies by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing.  

Based on this data and our work with clients, five simple but powerful guiding principles have emerged around targeting, marketing vehicles, content strategy, and messaging that all tech marketers can apply. Over the next five weeks, I’ll be sharing them with you via this blog, one per week on Tuesday mornings, starting today.

Guiding Principle Number One: Targeting

 

We all know that high-consideration technology purchases at medium and large enterprises involve multiple stakeholders. However, all too often, marketers and/or sales associate a disproportionate amount of influence to one or two particular influencers; for example, the CIO or line of business (LOB) professional. The reality is that no one influencer has more than 30% of the total power through the purchase process. You must ensure that you are allocating your marketing programs proportionally across all of the appropriate influencers and that you don’t get fixated on simply engaging one or two influencers, thinking that they control all of the necessary power.

So, the next time you are deciding whom to target, remember the 30% rule — it will serve you well.

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