Science vs. Art…or both

I recently spoke to a few members of a Marketing team and although they had great Marketing ideas, they had trouble getting adoption from their Field and Channel Marketing teams. They couldn’t figure out why – great ideas, great team members, great product, great corporate revenue…

As I started asking questions, I quickly realized that they considered Marketing to Field and Channel a science. You do A and B and C will automatically happen. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Marketing to Sales people and Channel partners isn’t a math equation, it’s a lot more than that…I’d say they have half the equation down pat. But, the other half is completely missing and in 2015 it’s a shame to say they are definitely not the only Marketing teams that have this problem.

So what’s the problem? The “art” is missing. Marketing to Sales and Channel partners is also an art. You cannot have a team focused on creating Marketing programs that just push those programs out. You absolutely absolutely absolutely must have a relationship with those folks to whom you are giving the programs. I can’t emphasize this enough!!! You have to understand their goals, what motivates them, get their input and feedback and just know them. Believe it or not, it sounds easier than it really is.

I’ve been at many companies where the Marketing team has no idea who the Sales teams are and couldn’t name four Sales people. Marketing teams where they haven’t spoken to anyone on the Sales or Channel team in months, yet are focused on helping them sell more. Does that make any sense to you? I really hope not!

I don’t care who you are, where you work or what you do for work, if you don’t have a connection with people, your fantastic ideas will fail! It’s that simple! Anyone remember “new Coke“? This example might be a radical one, but you get the point. If you’re goal is help people, talk to them.

Field and Channel Marketing is both a science and an art. Metrics are important but you also have to have a relationship with the stakeholders. Doesn’t matter how fantastic your program is, if you don’t have end user buy in, it’ll flop.

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Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

What I Have Learned from the U.S. Court System

I spent a few days last week  in jury selection and it was a very eye-opening experience for me.  I had never been brought into the courtroom for the selection process before so it was all new to me and I had no idea what to expect.  Below are some things that I learned while sitting in the galley for hours upon hours without talking or reading.  Some of the things the court did very well and others needed a lot of improvement.  I’m not going to tell you which ones they did well and those which needed help.  I’ll let you hypothesize. Overall, they all related to how to treat customers so below I share my thoughts with you.

In no particular order…

– Thank your customers. Who doesn’t like a nice “Thank you!” Just make sure that it’s sincere.

– Be nice to your customers. There are many other places they would like to be or other vendors they’d rather be working with so treat them as you’d like to be treated.

– There’s never an excuse to yell at customers. Don’t yell at anyone for that matter.  That’s it!

– A friendly smile and hello never hurt anyone. It could be the best part of someone’s day.

– Be courteous of time. When you say a meeting will start at 9, have it start at 9.

– Don’t break the pace. If things are going well during a call and you have more allotted time, don’t stop to schedule another call.  Take advantage of the time you’re given and make the most out of it.

– Encourage feedback. It might not all be good but if your customers are talking about you, you should want to know what they’re saying.

– Don’t say one thing and do another.

– If there are rules to be followed, explain them. Don’t cheat your customers by penalizing them for things that aren’t in writing or they are not aware of.

What have you learned from the court system that would translate over to customers?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Is your company a co-op? Are you cooperating with your customers – both internal and external?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Are you focusing on return of relationship?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Transform your thinking from customer reference to customer focus.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

Employees Are Your Most Important Customers

I recently read “The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win” by Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen. The premise of the book is that companies are starting to (and should be) focused on the social aspect of their business rather than just selling more products.  The social aspect includes doing good for your community as well as the environment.  Throughout the book, case studies are given on companies such as Seventh Generation, Threadless.com, Southwest Airlines and Marks & Spencer to name a few. 

I found the book very interesting and it made me realize how important it is for companies (of all sizes) to be good to its employees, customers, community and environment.  So often companies are too worried about their bottom line.  Although it’s absolutely understandable, especially when you’re a public company and Wall Street is breathing down your neck, it’s still our responsibility to be good to all.

My favorite (and most relevant based on my customer reference and loyalty background) part of the book was chapter three which is called “Not a Company, but a Community – a Blueprint for Summoning People’s Potential”.  Former Southwest Airlines chairman Herb Kelleher is quoted saying “When you treat [your employees] right, they will treat your customers right. This has been a powerful competitive weapon for us.”  How powerful and true of a quote is that?!  If you have happy employees, it’ll be passed on to your customers.  Happy customers also lead to repeat business and increased referrals which then leads to increased profits and a reduced amount of spending on gaining new customers. 

Another section of the chapter refers to a 2008 Towers Perrin study which stated “71 percent of the respondents said they were ‘disengaged’ or ‘disenchanted’ at work.  The study reported that employees ‘care a lot about their work’ and they want to ‘learn and grow.'”  Eye opening huh?  What if we actually treated employees like our customers?  Not a bad idea.