Do you suspect that the marketing function at your company is not doing enough to help grow revenue and move the company forward? If these thoughts are in your mind don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. There exists in many B2B companies a “marketing malaise” that is a drag on company performance.
Much can be done in 3-4 months to transform the marketing function into a finely tuned and inspired machine.
I give an overview of my approach in a Flash presentation called, “Transforming the Marketing Function in B2B Companies: The Road to World-Class Performance”. View the presentation. No registration required.
Please share your comments and thoughts on the topics after you’ve seen the presentation.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
In light of the global economic chaos smart CEO’s recognize that this is actually an excellent time to assess and tune every aspect of the company’s revenue engine. “Business as usual” just won’t cut it because we’re not facing an “as usual” market. The time is right for an interim executive, the master mechanic of a sputtering revenue engine.
Fresh ideas, complete honesty, and an absence of bias is required to conduct an insightful audit of the company’s revenue engine—the marketing and sales functions that lead to revenue generation.
This is yet another excellent scenario for using interim managers. Frankly, only an outsider can provide the unbiased perspective necessary for an accurate assessment of the inner workings of the revenue engine. Also, only a well-seasoned executive with strategic and tactical or operational experience in marketing and sales has the in-depth experience that an assessment requires.
Here’s what one typical interim engagement might look like if aimed at assessing the effectiveness of a company’s revenue engine and realigning it for achieving 2009 revenue targets. This engagement could be lead by a VP or C-level interim marketing executive with back up from a VP-level interim sales executive (or switch the lead and backup roles).
- Assess characteristics and capabilities of the sales force and channel partners. Define the ideal set of characteristics needed for success over the next 12-18 months and make recommendations how to align the organization accordingly.
- Assess the compensation strategy and plan. Revise as necessary.
- Assess the opportunity pipeline. Just how real is the forecast? Revisit and adjust the opportunity scoring methodology—remember this isn’t business as usual.
- Revisit and assess if the stages of the pipeline are well defined in light of today’s business climate and how your customers are purchasing. Is a CRM system being used properly?
- Evaluate if marketing and sales strategies and tactics and properly aligned to each other and to the pipeline.
- Assess every component of the marketing plan, specifically the positioning strategy and all lead generation activities. Are the right investments being made? Will the marketing activities be sufficient to generate the required leads?
- What metrics are being used to measure marketing and sales? Are these the right metrics or are there others that better indicate contribution to company objectives?
- Conduct an analysis of the competitive landscape. A formal SWOT analysis is good, but at least conduct an analysis of positioning, messaging, and direction. How does the company compare?
- Review all customer satisfaction surveys, or if none exist conduct a survey that includes key question for Net Promoter Score.
- Assess management. Are the right people in key roles within Marketing and Sales? What skills are missing that should be added via training or outsourcing?
No doubt the list could include 20 steps or more. It wouldn’t be difficult to create another list of 10 steps with completely different activities. However, I’ve seen that if these areas are evaluated and tuned to the realities of the marketplace by un-biased, seasoned executives, the company’s revenues will jump.
In this example scenario the two interim executives assigned to the engagement could conduct the assessment and make the majority of changes in about 3 months.
There are three primary benefits to engaging interim managers for this work:
- Unbiased, objective counsel from senior executives.
- They drive the assessment and the action to make necessary changes.
- They are focused on the engagement’s objectives while the existing management team keeps their eyes on the day-to-day operations.
Imagine: A revenue tune-up in 3 months. No loaner car required.
Want to learn more about the effective use of interim management in marketing and sales? Preview the book, Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Managment To Drive RevenueRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
By Charles Besondy
Every CEO I know can be described with one or more of these labels:
- Orchestra conductor
- Chess master
- Pied piper
- Puppet master
Try it. Think of the CEOs you know (perhaps yourself even). Pin the label on the CEO. It’s fun. While personalities and leadership techniques vary, CEOs all have one thing in common—they manage resources to drive results. More specifically, the CEO blends and directs the talent, infrastructure and finances at his/her fingertips. When he gets the combination right success usually is the outcome.
However, if it was easy to get the right combination every company would be widely successful. More often than not, the limitations of the talent, infrastructure, finances, or time (our number one enemy), muck up the works and restrict success.
Interim management should be the CEO’s best friend and secret weapon (or favorite ingredient if you prefer the chef label more than the general label). By relying on interim managers in the marketing function, the CEO can apply exactly the right marketing skills and experience to an initiative for exactly the right amount of time—all while working with variable budget dollars rather than fixed budget dollars.
This ability to augment the CEOs arsenal with the right talent at the right time can be a major competitive advantage in that it enables business agility.
- The company can jump on market opportunities or react to competitive moves swiftly and adeptly. It takes far less time to locate and retain an interim manager than to recruit a full-time senior manager (even if there is headcount in the budget).
- Existing teams aren’t whip-sawed from one initiative to another. A high degree of focus can be maintained on existing business, while teams enhanced with interim marketing talent chase new opportunities.
- The initiative’s requirements can be matched to an interim’s domain and process expertise; very few compromises necessary. The CEO can select the optimum weapon for the job.
As a CEO do you see yourself selecting weapons, moving chessmen, orchestrating a team, or creating a world-class stew? Whatever metaphor you select, consider that interim management for the marketing function stands ready to help drive business and revenue growth.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )