It’s good to know that companies are seeing performance gains when they bring in the right interim executive with specific goals and expectations. In my experience the testimonials in this video are more the rule than the exception when companies use interim or temporary executives for driving key initiatives.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Management consultants of all stripes should be in the executive’s arsenal of problem-solving weapons. However, before reaching for the phone next time you need objective advice, crisp analysis, extra horsepower, and a fresh dose of best practices I encourage you to consider an alternative to consultants — the interim executive.
Interim executives, temporary executives, fractional executives — whatever term you use — usually offer several advantages to consulting firms if you’re only needing one or two people rather than an entire team.
- Experience. Typically, interim executives have already had stellar careers in industry and have chosen the freelance life style. They have book smarts and street smarts earned over careers spanning 20 or more years.
- Leadership. Temporary executives have led teams, departments, business units and companies. Many have started companies and have taken them through an IPO or M&A process. They literally work shoulder to shoulder with the management team.
- Allegiance. When an interim executive is on board with you they report to you and no one else. They don’t have a senior partner in a tower downtown urging them to increase billable hours.
- Get ‘er done yesterday. Temporary executives are accustomed to stepping into companies, quickly assessing the situation, rolling up their sleeves and making happen whatever needs to happen. By nature they are men and women of action who are self-driven to get results. They specialist in delivering results not reports.
- Cost. As a general rule you’ll get more bang for the buck from an interim executive than you will from a consulting firm. A senior-level consultant working for a firm will easily bill at $2,000 – $4,000 per day. Built into that day rate, of course, is the firm’s overhead and profit. Therefore, you’re not really getting a $2,ooo person, you’re more likely getting an $800 person, who bills at $2,000. When you hire an interim at, say, $2500 per day, you’re bringing on board someone who is really worth $2500 a day to you.
An interim CEO, CMO or CSO charged with transforming a company’s revenue performance is going to assess how well aligned the marketing and sales functions are to each other and to the market. Misalignment between Sales and Marketing is a common cause of under-performance and inefficiency, after all.
Identifying that misalignment exists within the organization is relatively easy and even can be measured via an Alignment Index . However, solving the problem long term has proven very difficult. An interim executive with revenue responsibility is likely on point to “fix it” and fix it quick.
The results of a poll on this topic are enlightening even though the poll is not statistically representative. Responses in the poll suggest that the lack of B2B marketing skills within the Marketing department are the leading obstacle to achieving long-lasting alignment with Sales.
The poll asked the question, “What is the biggest obstacle to successfully aligning Marketing and Sales long term?” The choices given are:
- Culture–lack of commitment and trust
- Technology–lack of CRM, etc.
- Process–lack of a shared action plan
- Funnel–lack of funnel definitions, roles
- Skills–lack of the right skills in Marketing
Lack of the right skills within the Marketing organization has received 50% of the responses thus far. Lack of commitment and trust within Marketing and Sales is second most popular choice having been selected by 35% of the respondents. Lack of agreement to funnel stage definitions and roles is third most common obstacle to alignment with 14% of respondents.
My experience as consultant and interim executive in scores of B2B companies over past nine years validates this finding. The talented, eager, creative people in Marketing lack critical know-how to be strong strategic and tactical partners with Sales. The type of B2B marketing skills necessary for success in today’s companies are not taught in most Universities.
The required skills and best practices don’t always come to Marketers from years on the job if careers are spent in unsophisticated companies without strong marketing leadership.
The poll results suggest that companies wishing to align Marketing and Sales are smart to first invest in black-belt level of B2B marketing training for their Marketing teams.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Leadership On Demand . . .” is a book I co-authored with Paul Travis in 2008 and today it still stands as the preeminent guide for how to effectively use interim executives. The book’s content can be viewed here: http://www.slideshare.net/cbesondy/leadership-on-demand
With all the uncertainty that persists in the U.S. business environment companies remain loath to add full-time employees (FTE), especially in marketing and sales. Unfortunately, staff levels in these two departments are still at all-time lows following the cut-backs of 2008 and 2009.
For CEO’s one answer to generating revenue, capturing market share, keeping overhead in check, and remaining highly nimble is the smart use of interim managers in marketing and sales.
On the other side of the coin, for seasoned marketing or sales veterans with solid credentials who find themselves “in transition”, starting a new career as an interim executive just might be the right move.
Our book, “Leadership On Demand” is a good reference. I invite you to check it out.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Persistent networking online and off. Good tips for interim executives http://ow.ly/1AeCy .
I like how this article in Washington Post encourages one to have a specific networking plan and goals that involve in-person networking and social media. Good advice for interims looking for their next gig, or for folks looking for a full-time job.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Good leadership is leaving “white space” for your team. http://ow.ly/1Adlh . I like the graphic design metaphor used in the article.
In other words, be strong enough to leave room for team members to grow and step into challenges. Good leadership is not about you filling the gaps and sucking all the oxygen out of the room. Being an “action manager” often means sitting back and inviting others to make things happen. This is sound advice for any executive whether on an interim assignment or a full-time gig.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I know many of my readers are interim managers or folks considering interim as the next career move. Therefore I’m bringing to your attention a webinar on April 13 sponsored by the Interim Association.
How to Market Yourself as an Interim Executive
- The concept and role of personal branding
- How to develop your own personal brand
- The role of social media in the management of personal brands
- Marketing tools to distinguish a Brand Called You
You can get info on the webinar and the association at www.interimassociation.org
I can’t attest to the quality of the program or the value of the Interim Association. I can tell you they put a drive for membership ahead of common sense. Case in point: I offered to them the rights to resell (and make money on) my book, “Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue” . They wouldn’t consider carrying the book unless I joined the association.
I’m surprised the association directors aren’t choosing to provide the best resources to their members and seek to generate revenue from as many sources as possible.
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Good discussion of how to define alignment of sales and marketing in this post. http://ow.ly/1sPxN .
Good perspectives are presented in the original post and in subsequent comments from other marketing and sales gurus. Any interim marketing or sales executive charged with generating a revenue breakthrough must focus on the processes and culture with the two organizations.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Aligned companies compensate Marketing and Sales differently than nonaligned companies. http://ow.ly/1qL4S Good post and discussion.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Are you trying to hit a 12-month revenue target with a 9-month plan? Ouch. http://wp.me/pqOyG-1xRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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