Based on a small experiment where we cold emailed 100's of technical (e.g. CTO) and non-technical executives (e.g. CFO) in our target market, we saw much higher email Open Rate and Response Rate from the non-technical executives.
As a way to test value props, messaging and targeting, we have been cold emailing Executives at target companies. Given our solution space (Machine Learning, Data system etc) the conventional wisdom would be to target technical decision makers in target companies, which we had been doing. A bit ago someone mentioned how critical their CFO was to their decision making process, and so, as a test, we ran a campaign targeting nontechnical executives (CEO, COO, CFO). Our hypothesis was that the typical CTO or IT leads would already be bombarded with emails regarding various Machine Learning and AI solutions, and less likely open and respond then other executives- auto delete. If our hypothesis was correct, we expected the Open Rate and Response Rate to be higher with nontechnical executives.
We were right - with the caveat of the smaller sample size 100's, and potential bias in the email address source list.
Here's some numbers that stuck out from our experiment
- Open rate 20 percentage points higher for nontechnical executives.
- Response rate (negative or positive) is 6x higher for non technical executives.
Based on this experiment, we saw no reason to not include non-technical decision makers into our Sales and Marketing motions. And for cases where efficiency is important, prioritizing non-technical decision makers rather then technical decision makers could even be a better choice.
Remember that it would be really dangerous to generalize our findings into "non-technical decision makers have higher open rate and response rate versus technical decision makers. period". Would it hold true for your business? You'll only know after you give it a try.