How times have changed for all of us.
A business colleague of mine called me after a recent Zoom call, he apologised for having to leave the meeting early as there was chaos going on at home with the kids. The working from home dynamic has developed in different ways within each home. I have some colleagues who have a firm rule ‘when I’m in that room with the door closed I am not to be disturbed’ others are finding it more difficult to adjust and become absorbed into domestic / family activity.
What is my point? Even in this simple example, the world that has turned on its head and even now our mindsets are still in adjustment mode. Every morning I meet the same group of people out walking our dogs, at that start of all this they were generally buoyant about lockdown home working, now they are all feeling the pinch.
We are neck deep in this environment of change but, has everything changed as much as it should?
Think back to when we used to create our annual Sales and Marketing plans, were they really that different from year to year? Many just changed the year on the top of the PowerPoint slides, upped the numbers by 20% and adjusted some of the text – Sales and Marketing plan theatre.
We came back after the holidays in early January and carried on with the same techniques, methods and tools we used the previous year (and 30 years before that) – Perhaps we added a CRM or hired a new Sales person to cover a new Sector or Geography but, we didn’t really evolve that much.
Why? Because we really didn’t need to…
We kept the Sales cycles going, the quick wins, the longer burns, the quick proposals and the big meaty tenders. That big deal that saved the number, the smaller wins that added the jam on top.
We attended the right marketing events that got everyone rallied around and we hoovered up new leads and opportunities…..it felt good.
The numbers achieved or beaten, the board were happy, bonuses paid – Houses paid for, holidays booked, new car ordered.
Now just like my colleague’s life above, things have been turned on its head.
The recent upheaval has likely impacted your cash flow, your ability to generate leads and close deals and, your ability to map out the future.
As business leaders, we have to look at the cost of sales closer than ever before. Take it a level deeper and look at the overall cost and return of sales and marketing. The 18/19 plan is no longer viable. If you stick to it, ‘hoping things come back’ we are all in trouble.
Recently on my podcast, I asked Steve Beedie, Army veteran and MD of Unspoken Wounds, how the Armed Forces deal with things not going to plan. His answer “you go back to you training, everything reverts back to your training”.
In times like these, people will stick to what they know, they will ‘go back to their training’. They will revert to doing what they always did because ‘now is not the right time to be doing or suggesting anything that might be seen as risky’ – wrong.
Leaders must create an environment, where risk taking is not only ok but ‘how we work around here’. If we kill that environment, we kill creativity and that might be the very thing we need more of right now.
Why? Because the pre-covid plan won’t work, you need to change and that means you need to take calculated risks. I’m not talking about taking Health and Safety or unauthorized financial risks, I’m talking about divergent business thinking, what some might call ‘out of the box’.
Check every line in that Marketing budget and see where and what the return is. If we do it ‘just because we’ve always done it’ but it does not bring in leads or revenue, cut it. Simply cutting is not the end of it, if we cut that because it adds no value, what are we going to do that adds value??
GDPR has killed off email campaigns – so why run them? We ask our students how many people read the “circulars” - none. Like ads, technology has caught up with the unsolicited email senders and they go straight to junk. Do you read your suppliers monthly newsletter? If not, do you really think your clients are waiting with anticipation to read yours..?
Cold calling, the last tactic of a dying Sales and Marketing plan. Again, interrupt and broadcast. As a business person, do you take cold calls from Sales people? See above…
We ignore “corporate marketing” We are told that its essential to build brands, but as all corporate marketing says the same thing, how can it? We are the best! We are number one! It all blends into the Marketing wallpaper we all swipe or walk past every day.
Websites, when did you last open a company website that said “we are the 4th best at what we do in our sector, we are a bit expensive and we are quite slow”. Exactly, websites are all about how great, how solutions focussed, how world class…bla. Run the analytics, are you really getting what you need from that website or do you need a rethink?
We hear from clients who tell us they dont pay attention to adverts, they have cold call screening, they block email campaigns etc....and then they sit at their desk and commission the same stuff they have just confirmed they think is useless (...wait...what?...)
We have had Heads of Marketing and Communications who have come to us and said “marketing isn’t working anymore”. We all know why but organisation keep wasting time and money. We need more people to own up that Marketing is broken and stop being complicit in the problem.
It takes a brave person, but through history people have stood up and said “STOP – this is serious and things must change”.
There are somethings that in times like this you need to bin. Branding for example, its pointless having a brand, if you run out of cash. Marketing have to understand the priority, what will generate leads and meetings that leads to POs?
Your salesforce needs leads and meetings, as it’s only sales that are going to generate you cash in the short and medium term. You need your Sales teams consistently making and building relationships on Social Media.
A number of you will be saying that you already do this – It’s time to put the ego and pride to one side and be honest – this is about saving and securing the business. Go and look at your LinkedIn profile, look at your marketing people’s LinkedIn profile and look at your sales people’s LinkedIn profiles….are you truly a Socially Mature organisation that leverages all of the business value available to you from Social Media…?
- Does you organisational Social presence and activity create inbound?
- Are you connecting with the right people?
- Is your content working for you or do you post for the sake of it?
- Are you using LinkedIn and other platforms to prospect?
- Are you joining conversations with your prospects and doing this at scale?
- Are you using content to move deals through the pipeline and close sales?
As a leader, have you created a culture where all of your people know how to do this as second nature and work together as one?
We know what when we run our Social Selling and Influencer programs the results are repeatable and predictable. The answer to how to get out of this mess exists in your organisation today, lets put it to good use.
Lets have a conversation about how to get you up and running.
I'm Eric Doyle, you can contact here: www.linkedin.com/in/ericdoylecrux
Crux / DLA Ignite
Seth Godin: A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.