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June 5, 2013

The State of Mind of Corporate Decision Makers

by Tom De Baere
corporate decision makers

So are you ? (image source: Tumblr)

Reaching corporate decision makers can be tough.

B2B marketers have a whole arsenal of strategies and tactics to our disposal: buyer persona’s, content, SEA, SEO, event marketing, advertising and social. You name it.

You give yourself 100%, developing the most fantastic message you ever made.

This is it. Now you nailed it. This got to work. It’s perfect. You press the start button of your campaign. And nothing happens. Or hardly anything happens. 2% conversion. 4% conversion. Anybody want more?

And that’s what happens over and over again.

Corporate decision makers are…

… stressed-out, overwhelmed with everything they need to do. They have ever-increasing objectives, which seem increasingly difficult to achieve, which can cost their job if not reached.

They don’t wanna expose their position by taking big risks. They don’t want to make mistakes. They are drowning in information. They get on average 150 e-mails per day. Decision makers, on average, have 59 hours of work on their desk at any time.

And above all, they are immune to marketing.

Corporate decisions makers don’t want…

They’ve seen it all. Slick sales people passing by the gatekeepers. Slick stories from strangers. At the end of the telephone conversation, all these strangers want, is the money in your pockets.

You only have 1 chance to get through to them. Moments of interaction with corporate decisions makers are short and rare. If your content and your timing is off, they won’t even give you that moment.

Please don’t:

  • Waste their time
  • Expect them to tell you about their business
  • Give them a product bump
  • Expect them to infer the value

What Corporate decisions makers want

They are risk averse. They have too much information.

But what they definitely want is:

  • Help me achieve my goals
  • Give me ideas on how to make a quantifiable difference
  • Show me how others are achieving results
  • Show me the big picture

“Decision makers believe they know the destination, but they have a problem getting there”

Making Stuff Up

Usually what happens when marketers are developing content for buyers is the following: marketers and sales get together. They start thinking about how to link business issues of customers with your product offering. Then they try to imagine what customers think.

Oh, yes, then there is the mandatory review round with the VP or CEO. They don’t agree, or feels something is missing. They know less than the product manager or business development manager. But they have a stronger opinion. Or they are higher up the food chain.

The whole thing is changed, and endlessly reviewed. As a result, the whole thing is watered down to generalities. Which waste the time of corporate decision makers.

(If you recognize this situation, let me know in the comment box below, so you can comfort me a bit that I’m not alone with this thought ;-))

Giving what they want

So they want you to help them to achieve their goals. Then help them.

They want ideas how to make a quantifiable difference. Then give them ideas.

They want to know how others have achieved results. Then show them.

They want to understand the bigger picture. Then explain them.


Our job as B2B marketer is isn’t difficult. Would you agree?


Warm regards,

Tom De Baere