Why you need an Executive Advisory Board (looking at you, cyber security vendors)

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Technology CMOs have all kinds of outreach programs for executives. From executive dinners to charity and sporting events, to “gift” programs, every year CMOs spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their marketing messages to the executives who sign their purchase orders. Most of these programs are not very effective (as measured by response rate, cost per lead, cost per click and so on) but technology companies, and cyber security vendors in particular, have doubled down on frequency.

As a result, technology executives receive multiple invitations to these kinds of events every week. The reality is that most tech executives, and CISOs specifically, are burnt out on these types of events.

Making the real ROI for these events even worse is the fact that the CXOs from really big accounts, such as F500, rarely attend. Instead, these events draw Directors and Senior managers. That’s all well and good, but a steak dinner with these managers won’t get your company any closer to  the decision making executives you are trying to reach.

This problem is particularly acute for cybersecurity vendors. In 2022 there were 3,900 cyber security vendors, a number that continues to grow every year. And from a CISOs perspective, every single one of them would like them to go to some type of CXO event.

To make matters worse, the average customer has about 45 cybersecurity products deployed in their environment.

CISOs, who have a very stressful 24X7 job, obviously can’t take sales meetings with every security vendor that asks for one. They can’t even attend one sales-related event a year for every vendor whose product is deployed in their environment.

And really, as anyone who’s ever run one of these programs can tell you, just getting in front of CISOs for really large companies (you know the ones that can make or break revenue for small to mid-sized companies) to present an invitation can be extremely challenging.

For most major account CISOs, no steak dinner or ticket to a sporting event or gift is enough to coax them to spend some of their already limited free time on an industry “networking” event.

Executive Advisory Boards take a completely different approach to building partnerships with the executives you’re trying to reach at key accounts.

Instead of paying for events that may or may not have attendees from the accounts you care about, Executive Advisory Boards are composed exclusively of executives from the accounts that matter most to your business. And because the event is focused on business strategy, we recruit executives who are interested in your technology and your business. In other words, they are invested in your success. This guarantees a high level of engagement and participation throughout the event.

Another important difference between Executive Advisory Boards and CXO dinners is that Advisory Boards are multi-day, small group events that offer many different opportunities for your executive team to talk with and learn about the priorities and challenges of the CXOs from your key accounts. Since the event uses Chatham House rules, executives who attend are willing to be more direct and candid. They are willing to provide critical feedback on product and go-to-market strategy, a counterpoint to analyst reports and competitive insights that are unavailable anywhere else.

Executive Advisory Boards gather 10 – 15 executives from your largest accounts at a high-touch, white glove event. You get two to two and half days with them about your product and business strategy and the opportunity to listen to them talk with each other about how they are approaching a variety of technology or security challenges. Imagine the quality of conversations that happen in this setting and ask yourself, what would that kind of event be worth to your business?