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As a CS leader, have you ever tried presenting your thoughts to the C-Suite but failed miserably? If yes, deep dive into this blog without wasting any more time!
Customer Success is a sunrise industry and is growing. This is why CS leaders in business may not have started their careers in customer success. They could have worked in marketing, sales, product, or even design. Some CS leaders also have a sales background, so they have experience in displaying the product and ensuring a win. However, most CS leaders are focused on support and do not have the idea or experience to present their ideas to the C-Suite. The CS leader may be finding it difficult to pitch or present to the C-Suite executives. CS leaders may not know how to present, diffuse a situation, or understand how to showcase the solution.
This may lead to CS leaders not presenting enough to the C-Suite. To ensure the C-Suite does not leave you with a ‘thank you; next’ after your presentation, you need to enhance and improve how you pitch to them. This winning guide will help CS leaders present effectively to the C-Suite and win their thumping approval. The following guide and tips will help you, the CS leader, ace the presentation to the C-Suite.
CS professionals need to present in the right format, tailor a delightful story, and be prepared for any questions that may come their way in the process.
Know about the C-Suite executives. You need to research about them- their background, interests, problems, pain points, and more. Social platforms like LinkedIn can help you know the points and interests of the C-Suite executives. Be attentive to details like their professional background, education, previous experience, and title. Address their issues while charting the presentation.
As a CS leader, you need to know everything about the aspect you are trying to pitch. Research the niche, keep the skills, pain points, features, qualifications, and more in mind. You must know everything regarding the product- has someone used it, what are the reviews? Are the ratings positive? Is it tough to get support and help in case of issues? These questions need to be answered by the CS leader to be sure about the product.
The CS leader knows everything about the C-suite and the idea/product/service. You need to tailor the presentation to cater to the audience. CS leaders need to speak in the language that C-Suite leaders can understand. Have proof of the impact, include data, insert graphs, and have testimonials, and strong statistics in the presentation.
The correct body language is important. Maintain the right posture and balance while presenting. Do not confine yourself to one spot. Move around, keep walking, and maintain the right momentum. Do not look at random objects. Keep eye contact and present to each member individually. Use your hands to express gestures. Be relaxed and comfortable while presenting to the C-Suite. This is where the CS leader can improve to build better credibility.
Practice makes a man perfect. Therefore, you need to practice the pitch, keep the deck in mind, and have an image of the main points and questions. Have an outline ready. If going through the pitch in front of the mirror works, do that. Rehearse as many times as possible. Do not ramble in an unprofessional fashion. Keep your experience and expertise in mind while pitching to the C-Suite executive.
The executive summary is a short note included in all executive presentations. Lead with a summary note that stresses key facts, ideas, and points. This helps them get a clear idea of what the presentation is all about. The executive summary is for C-Suite professionals who want a small presentation summary. You can judge if there are objections or support from the summary slide itself. This will ensure that you start and end the presentation in the right tone.
Keep aspects as clear as possible. Inculcate data and figures in the presentation. Use line graphs, bar graphs, Venn diagrams, pie charts, and others to showcase the data. Reduce clutter and color code aspects to make things clear. Make all data clear and correct. Ensure all the aspects are correct and factually true. The presentation needs to keep in mind three aspects- touch, auditory, and visual.
If your idea has helped improve the prospects and rewards in some company, present that. Have the latest facts and examples shown in front of you to convince the C-Suite executives about the plan. Keep the stories real and true. The impact creates impact; remember that.
Keep the goal of the presentation in mind. Is it the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) you need to convince? Would the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) have any questions? Be direct about the goal and steer the entire presentation around it. Present the pitch with authority. Show the monetary value, brand confidence value, and more.
Your slides for the presentation need to be simple and informative. You must avoid all forms of jargon. The slides need to be short, simple, and focus only on the essentials. A lot of text will make the presentation boring. You can include short gifs or videos if it helps your case. The slide design needs to be good. The elements need to showcase how the CS leader thinks of the idea. Slides need to have a distinct visual identity.
The C-Suite executives may ask you certain questions. Try to predict, identify, and know the areas where questions may be asked and include data. Have more statistics included and research around the topic. Allot some time for the questions and be ready to face the unexpected. In case of that, do not fret. Do not bluff. Instead, you can respond that you will get back later with the answer.
A short and focused presentation can work wonders for the pitch. A long, boring presentation will fill up the entire time slot and lead to a lack of interest. C-Suite executives are busy people, and long pitches can lead to a low value. Keep in mind that a short presentation helps finish within the allocated time. This means the core idea and solution need to be the only criteria to take into account. Interruptions, questions, doubts, etc., must also be accounted for.18
Customer success leaders need to keep the best interests of the customer success team and company in mind while presenting to the C-suite executives. CS leaders must not be intimidated to present. Improving and developing skills by putting the best foot forward is the approach CS leaders should stick to. This will help foster meaningful relationships with the C-Suite and enhance performance. The most important concepts while a CS leader is presenting to the C-Suite are accuracy, knowledge, body language, and time frame of the presentation. Keeping the guide above in mind, if CS leaders chart their presentation- it can lead to reliable results professionally and in personal growth.
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published April 19, 2022, Updated March 02, 2023
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