Stop Gabbing and Start Communicating

The ability to communicate requires more than a gift for gab. As one CIO artfully put it, “Sales reps will talk to anyone, about anything. They’ll even talk to rocks.”

Communicating is another matter entirely. Bill Babcock, chairman of Babcock & Jenkins, a marketing agency in Oregon with IT-industry clients including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Siemens, says communicating successfully with a busy CIO requires self-discipline, focus, and planning.

CIOs, Babcock says, are “easy to target, tricky to reach and hard to hold.” In an excellent white paper titled “Marketing to the CIO, Technical Decision Makers, and Technical Influencers,” Babcock writes about a hypothetical CIO named George who has difficulty delegating, but knows that he needs outside expertise to help him make good business decisions.

The keys to getting through to him are sliding past the gate-keeper with something she doesn’t dare toss, grabbing his attention, and then keeping every communication as relevant and brief as possible. He doesn’t want to be sold, he wants to be smart. He won’t talk to a salesperson until he’s on a level playing field. Give him condensed nuggets of highly relevant expertise and he’ll stay engaged. Get ahead of the selling cycle and the doors close.

“Immediate ROI” are the magic words for gaining entry to this CIO’s inner circle. Any supplier who shows “an immediate ROI for a new technology will get consideration,” Babcock writes. The CIO “needs ...

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