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C-Suite Outlook 2021November - 2020

C-Suite Outlook 2021

After a challenging year, what is the c-suite outlook for 2021? Welcome to the 2nd Annual C-Suite Outlook Survey from AE Marketing Group.

Last year we explored the types of media executives consumed. Now, we’ve asked 100 leaders to share their 2021 outlook on revenue forecasts, product growth, sales, and marketing.

And, as we are living through a global pandemic, we asked a few questions specific to remote work and changing buyer behaviors.


Face-to-Face Interaction is Taking its Toll on Sales

With many businesses working remotely, and others prohibiting office visitors, sales have gone virtual.  This raises new challenges and opportunities for today’s salespeople.  How does the C-suite think this has impacted sales productivity?



Meeting the Needs of the Buyer

The COVID-19 economy has radically shifted typical buying behavior.  People are more selective than ever about how, when, and where they will buy.  This has forced organizations to adapt or die.  How confident is the C-Suite that his/her company has shifted to meet these changing buyer behaviors?



New Products, Services, and Business Models

Entirely new industries, business models, and products/services are needed to meet changing buyer behaviors and market conditions.  This will require leaders to break the status quo.  How likely are businesses to design or launch new products, services, or business models in 2021?



2021 Marketing Investments  

With more than seven in ten companies likely to launch new products, services, and/or business models to address changing buyer needs in 2021, new marketing investments will be required.  So, what is the C-Suite’s appetite for marketing budgets in the year ahead?



Marketing + Sales = Improved Lead Conversion, but

Many executives have long known that integrating marketing and sales teams provides organizational benefits, perhaps, most importantly, converting the right leads to grow revenue.  That said, how effective are their companies at actually achieving true integration?


2021 Revenue Outlook 

One of the most important metrics to those sitting in the C-Suite is always revenue.  Revenue is essential to the longevity of any business as it navigates an uncertain economy.  When looking at 2021, what is the C-Suite’s forecast for company revenue compared to 2020?



Working Remote is Here to Stay

In 2020, coronavirus lockdowns required companies to shift their workforce remotely.  Today, Stanford reports 42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time. However, is working from home likely to continue throughout all of 2021?



Selling Without Being Face-to-Face

As noted above, the C-Suite has seen an impact on sales effectiveness with limited face time.  With many companies planning to operate virtually in 2021, this adds pressure to sales. Nevertheless, it begs the question, would the C-Suite buy from a new vendor without ever meeting the team in-person?



Servicing Without Being Face-to-Face

Meeting the needs of a buyer during the sales process is just one part of the overall buyer journey and customer experience.  In many cases, what happens post-sale is just as important.  While executives cite a willingness to buy from a new vendor virtually, what is their confidence in being serviced entirely remotely?



Knowledge Source for the C-Suite

Long before COVID-19, Harvard Business Review research showed that the majority of CEOs experience feelings of loneliness in their role, and 61% believe it hinders their performance. Thus, where does the c-suite turn for help in doing his/her job?



When to Catch the C-Suite on Social Media

Of those executives who use social media regularly, you are likely to find them on LinkedIn.  Surprisingly, Instagram (where 60% of users are under the age of 35) was also a go-to C-Suite platform.  Knowing where to find an executive on social media is one thing, but when are they most likely to check social media?



Email Etiquette

Much has been written about the volume of email the C-Suite receives and how executives manage their inbox.  If you are lucky enough to have an executive opt-in to your newsletter, email etiquette is critical.  What is the appropriate frequency to email the C-Suite?



Our Viewpoint

Coronavirus has been a change accelerant and consumers are shifting their behaviors at a record pace. Leading executives understand this and are adapting their organizations to this new (and often virtual) reality.

Now more than ever, looking at your brand through an enterprise lens (pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase) is critical to understanding how to help buyers/consumers.  This will lead to increased value and loyalty post-coronavirus.

We hope you enjoyed the 2021 C-Suite Outlook – thank you for reading.


Download a PDF print version: 2021 C-Suite Outlook by AE Marketing Group

Contact us with any questions.

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Methodology and Data

The 2021 C-Suite Outlook respondents to this survey are c-level executives (CEOs, CMOs, CXOs, COOs, CSOs) with whom we have connected over the years, including customers, podcast guests, and more.

The data set is heavily populated with B2B executives working in the United States.

Responses were gathered in September – October 2020.

This is a survey of individuals, not companies. No individual was incentivized for his/her participation.

Data was captured using a 15-question survey created with Survey Monkey.

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