This article is about the conversations we have as CEO's, business owners and leaders with the people we employ in sales, marketing, technology, talent acquisition, and strategic alignment for better business performance.
Did you know that the words you use affect how you think and behave? That's the bold and brave science of Linguistic Relativity. If you don't know the work of Nora Lidisky*, you need to check out her TED Talk. First, read the rest of this article because then you will have proper context for what you're talking about most in your business.
Having a conversation is a two-way street. When you endure the stress of making your marketing and sales work, the stress compels you to have crucial conversations without letting emotion take over and ruin you.
When it comes to making your marketing work with less cost and stress, what conversations are you having? I ask because I find most CEO's and business owners are not having essential, crucial conversations with their marketing and salespeople.
In the worst cases, small business owners completely wing it when it comes to investing in sales, marketing, people, or technology to grow their business, which is typically the best investment they will ever make. Then they wonder why their investment returns are low and their frustration levels are high.
"We spent another $100,000 and a year trying to launch my product. This is the third agency I hired. They all said they could get this done. I ended up losing three years and $300,000 for nothing." - Anonymous New York Times bestselling author.
I hear hundreds of stories like this because people find me and need help fixing their pain which is not being able to attract, engage, convert, and retain enough customers. That's because they don't have a sound strategy, plan of action, or the people they need to get the job done right the first time.
What happens when you wing it in business, sales, marketing, or hiring people? Utter chaos. Nobody enjoys coming to work without feeling aligned with the leader, owner, manager, and team. That's why it's essential to talk about what's working, what's not working, what's missing in marketing or sales or customer service, and figure out what's next to fix it and get better results. This is crucial conversation stuff for marketing, sales, and tech.
Turnover is a massive cost and hit to your bottom line. There's no reason not to get to the root cause of this and fix it as best you can.
The reason marketing pros change jobs so often is the same reason Marcus Buckingham with Gallup discovered over a decade ago - marketing people don't leave jobs, they leave their marketing supervisors. Check out this article about what great managers do in this HBR article. The bottom line is people leave supervisors, not jobs or companies.
When we talk about marketing, it's usually not fun. That's because marketing is a game of frustration and failure. Think about the thin margins for conversion rates on your marketing investments. For example, what was the ROI on that big trade show you and your team hits every year?
Sometimes you don't know the questions to ask because you're too busy working in your business. I can be guilty of this too. But since I sell a powerful strategic action planning process that aligns and fires up marketing and sales teams, I must walk the walk. That means I follow my process, hire the best people my money can buy, delegate what is not my role or responsibility, empower everyone in my strategy, purpose, vision, mission, goals, and plan of action, and we get better results together. Yes, I have an active, written strategic plan. Most days it works.
We've all hired toxic people and let them work for us too long. That's because it's hard to fire people. Yet one of the biggest costs we incur as business owners is failing to hire with process and discipline. If you fail to hire the best people you afford, and you delegate well to empower them, then get out of their way, you've got a shot at scale and sanity presuming you lead and manage well. If not, oh well. Maybe you'll learn when you fail enough. When it comes to making the tough call to let someone go, you have to have a process to fire anyone who's not willing or able to perform their role on their team. This is what a "culture of accountability" is all about.
A high-performance sales and marketing culture MUST be created, committed to and lead by someone who IS that person. If it's not the owner of the business, he or she needs to hire someone to lead the team. A true leader will practice tough love and empower your marketing and salespeople. You have to be what you say you plan to do with your action plan. This is the Clarity strategic planning process teaches you to "hire to the company values you are willing to write, learn, practice and keep as commitments."
If you own the business and you manage marketing, sales, delivery, and fulfillment, how effective do you believe you are? When was the last time you conducted a 360 degree feedback survey or took a hard look in your mirror? It's not easy to own or lead any business. It's even tougher to manage marketing and sales. It's impossible to do it all for long. All we need to do is look at how few of us succeed over the long-haul. The people who succeed have a strategic plan of action that gets implemented with success. This is what happens when everyone aligns and does their part of the plan. Everyone performs like a championship team.
The way to make your marketing work better, and to fire up your sales process is to empower your PEOPLE to be part of the creative, strategic and tactical PROCESS to define and achieve the GOALS. Clarity is a bullet-proof action planning solution that works when you work it. That's why I focus on teaching, training, and coaching the Clarity workshops online and in the real world.
Make the time to work "on" your business. Why would you ever stop working "on" your business? Because you get stuck working "in" your business just like Michael Gerber taught us in his bestselling book, EMyth. Clarity helps you work "on" your business with your team. Diversity and inclusion make the Clarity process even more powerful. The extreme alternative is you think and plan alone in a box. Clarity is about thinking OUT of the box. And getting results.
Check out my video that walks you through a FREE Clarity Training preview. Take a look at the simple, step-by-step process I use myself and have taught and coached for over a decade to hundreds of other business owners. Clarity is a strategic action planning process you can use to write your own strategic plan. I teach it in customized onsite workshops, virtually, and soon the online classes and community for coaching.
P.S. *A big shout out and thank you to Paul Gowin, one of the best human performance coaches I've ever met.