The most common scenario in marketing a product to C-level executives is the constant struggle with their executive assistants to let you in on their boss’ calendars. Its just a natural instinct of every executive assistant to say NO to every one. Its understandable considering a lot of people calling in are just trying to hawk their products and services and trying to get a recommendation from top down. However, this poses a real challenge to marketers who are trying to reach executives with real valuable proposals. MarketingSherpa recently had an interetsing case study of how Lori Widzo, VP of Marketing at Knoa Software innovated by turning this situation upside down. Lori’s team focused on politely requesting executive assistants to see if they can pass on a message to their boss and if its valuable schedule a meeting Knoa’s top sales executive. I think it was brilliant and there is a lot to learn from it. At DirectContact, we have yet to build a list of executive assistants for top executives at large firms, but I won’t be surprised to see our customers or prospects coming up with such a list building need. Its just an incredibly efficient thing to do especially for niche B2B software where search marketing or inbound marketing is not always productive. Here’s a small except from the MarketingSherpa case study:

SUMMARY: Marketers trying to reach top execs often view executive assistants as gatekeepers that block access to these prospects. With the right approach, those gatekeepers can open the door.

Find out how a software company with a little-known product landed 15-minute phone briefings with high-level prospects. Hint: They added a twist to their telemarketing campaign by enlisting executive assistants as their messengers and facilitators.


Lori Wizdo, VP Marketing, Knoa Software, wasn’t having much success with common lead generation tactics, such as white papers and search engine optimization. Her company’s software, which monitors end-user performance of applications, such as CRM systems, was so new that few people were searching for it.

“It requires a conversation with a prospect to actually position what we do as a solution,” says Wizdo, “because the positioning is based upon a conversation that takes into account the context of customer, their industry, a specific pain, or a goal they are trying to achieve.”

Online lead-gen tactics weren’t giving her sales team enough chances to have those conversations. Wizdo needed a way to directly reach out to target executives, who often use executive assistants as gatekeepers.

The company that carried out this campaign was Corner Office Leads, which is a terrific B2B appointment setting firm with a twist. I will write about them in a separate post in the coming week. 

Similar Posts