Post 8/30: 7 Lucky Tips For Presenting To The C-Level

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing.


I spent all day Thursday onsite with a client diving into performance the last 4 months and creating a plan for the next 3. I always learn a ton, especially when asked to present to the executives of a huge corporation. Here are my 7 lucky tips for giving great executive presentations.


1. Start with the most important metric

The C-Level wants to get to activity but they really want to know how they are doing in relation to their most important metric. This could be leads, spend, impressions, revenue or even down funnel activity like student starts.


And when I say start with the most important metric I mean with no fluff, no spin, no extra data. Just put it up on a slide next to the goal and let the other side of the table pick it apart or pat you on the back.


2. Get right to any bad news

After you get to the most important metric jump straight into anything you’d rather not talk about. There is usually a good chance that the C-Level is going to have the most questions about this so you need to make sure you have the time. It’s also proof that you understand where you’re missing the mark, something that is reassuring to those signing the checks.


3. Answer questions directly

The shorter, more specific and concrete the answers the better. If you don’t know, say, “I don’t know.” It’s not pleasant but it is honest. People don’t get to the C-Level without being able to see through BS.


4. When they say, “I need to better understand”…

There are a lot of little hints you can pick up on when presenting to clients. Phrases like “I need to better understand” are signs that the client isn’t getting all the information they want and that they need to manage their business. Pay attention and get them those answers as quickly after the meeting as possible.


5. Show their performance in relation to competitors

One of the things executives really want to understand is how they can steal market share from their competitors. Use impression share, CTR, and third party data sources to show them where they are winning and losing.


6. Be as high level as you can without losing important specifics

When delivering metrics it’s easy to roll everything up into one bucket (i.e. total leads) but all leads are not created equal. If the client has a handful of products or services it is important to deliver performance metrics by bucket so nothing gets lost in the roll up (such as really great or really poor performing buckets).


7. Technical is boring

The executives typically don’t need or want to understand the specifics of how things like Search Remarketing work. They want to know what the results are from it, how many incremental sales it is worth and if it is working, can we do more of it. If they ask, tell them, but otherwise focus on results.


If you are interested in reading all posts in this series you can start with post 1 about what I am focusing on as president of a PPC agency. The next post, post 9, is on how to stay productive while traveling.